244 Following

SusannaG - Confessions of a Crazy Cat Lady

Just another GR refugee.  Other than that, I had a stroke in 2004, and read almost anything I can get my hands on, though I have a particular weakness for history, mystery, and historical fiction.

Currently reading

Ice Ghosts: The Epic Hunt for the Lost Franklin Expedition
Paul Watson
Progress: 6 %
I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life
Ed Yong
Progress: 40 %
Wizard's First Rule
Terry Goodkind
Progress: 49 %
Thomas Cromwell: The Untold Story of Henry VIII's Most Faithful Servant
Tracy Borman
Progress: 14 %
Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life
Helen Czerski
Progress: 20 %
The Hanover Square Affair
Ashley Gardner
Progress: 10 %
Medieval Tastes: Food, Cooking, and the Table (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History)
Beth Archer Brombert, Massimo Montanari
Progress: 10 %
Scars of Independence: America's Violent Birth
Holger Hoock
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Yuval Noah Harari
Progress: 9 %
Elizabeth: The Forgotten Years
John Guy
Progress: 20/512 pages

The Violinist's Thumb

The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code - Sam Kean

Sam Kean's The Violinist's Thumb is an exploration of the world of genetics, and all the strange places it takes you, from why humans, unlike other primates, have 46 and not 48 chromosomes, to why you shouldn't eat polar bear liver, and, yes, why a mutation in the thumb made Paganini the greatest violinist ever.


This book is a fun scientific tour of President Kennedy's "tan," why it's hard to retroactively diagnose historical figures with diseases, a Soviet biologist's attempt to breed humanzees, polar exploration, how to write an eulogy that's a scientific condemnation (Baron Cuvier didn't like Lamarck much), the saga of Einstein's brain, the unluckiest man of the 20th century, and as they said in the TV commercials I grew up with "much, much more!"


I gave this one a shot because I enjoyed Kean's The Disappearing Spoon, and I'm glad I did.