Sunday, February 19, 2023

The Sunday Post #326

This post contains affiliate links. I earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

The Sunday Post is a chance to recap the past week, talk about next week, tell you what I’m reading, and share news. It’s hosted by The Caffeinated Book ReviewerReaderbuzz, and Book Date.

The Sunday Post #326

On The Blog Recently

In My Reading Life

Last week, I finished Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver. It's a historical horror novel about an awful dude and his slightly less awful daughter. One day, the awful dude is walking in a churchyard when he stumbles across a painting of a froglike demon. The painting is called a doom, and it was made during the Middle Ages. After seeing the painting, disturbing things start happening in the dude's mansion. Is he being stalked by the frog demon, or is his tween daughter trying to punish him for killing her pet magpie? His paranoia eventually leads to murder.

The atmosphere is where this story shines. It's set in a remote mansion in the English fens. The house is surrounded by odd creatures and even odder humans. The heat and humidity are inescapable. It's easy to believe that the characters would descend into anger and paranoia in this environment.

The characters are pretty awesome too. They're all kind of awful. They're arrogant and scheming. They also spend a lot of time stuck in the house, so they're sick of each other. The author sets up a situation where a lot can go wrong. The reader is just waiting to find out who cracks first.

The waiting is my complaint about the book. It's gothic horror, so the pacing is really slow. I was occasionally tempted to skim ahead to the action. There's not much action until the end.

I got a bit bored with this book, but I like the characters and writing style enough to see what else the author has written.

Then I read The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Everybody should read this book. It's fascinating, and it brings up topics that society really needs to discuss.

This is a nonfiction book about a Black woman named Henrietta Lacks who lived in Baltimore in the early 1900s. She died from cancer in 1951, but that's not where her story ends because Henrietta is somewhat still alive. She had a rare combination of genes and diseases that made her cells hard to kill. Scientists were able to grow them in labs and ship them all over the world. The cells were nicknamed HeLa, and they're still being grown for research purposes today.

Experiments on Henrietta's cells taught scientists about cancer and viruses, helped create vaccines, and showed the effects of atom bombs. They were vital in creating cloning, in vitro fertilization, and gene mapping. The cells have even been to space. Research labs buy and sell HeLa every day.

The cells are interesting, but who was Henrietta Lacks? That's what the book is about. Henrietta's cells were taken after her death and used without her permission. Her children and grandchildren are living in poverty and have not gotten any money from the use of her body. Henrietta's grave doesn't even have a headstone. This all feels very wrong.

For me, the most interesting part of the book is the ethical questions it brings up. Who should profit from biological specimens? If you give a doctor permission to cut out your tumor, do you forfeit your rights to that tumor?

I couldn't put this book down. I loved learning about Henrietta and the people whose biological samples have made life better for all of us.

In The Rest Of My Life

Five things that made me happy last week:

  1. I hope everybody had a good Valentine's Day. I had a boxing lesson in the morning and then spent the rest of the day watching YOU on Netflix and eating buffalo wings. I highly recommend YOU and buffalo wings.
  2. It was Baby Brooklyn's birthday and my mom's birthday. Brooklyn turned 4. My mom would murder me if I told you how old she turned. I can't believe Brooklyn is 4. Wasn't she just born?
  3. I rewrote the About Me page on the blog. The old one was Game Of Thrones themed, and we don't speak of that show in 2023. The final season traumatized us so badly that we've blocked the show from our minds. Speaking of trauma, I couldn't delete the photo of my dogs from the About Me page, even though they're both dead. So . . . enjoy the random photo of dogs.
  4. I went to my first book club meeting! Everyone was nice. We're reading Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind And Defy The Odds by David Goggins. It's not a book I'd pick up on my own because the serious man on the cover frightens me, but maybe I'll learn something from it.
  5. I found out that I get to keep my job. The park wants me back for another season. I have mixed feelings. Being a park ranger is cool, but it's also the most exhausting job I've ever done. I felt wrecked at the end of last season. I wanted to sleep for a month.

Sometimes I Have Stuff To Tell You

Take care of yourselves and be kind to each other. See you around the blogosphere!


  1. Love the new About Me. Entertaining as always. Four, wow! Where did the time go. Next year, Brooklyn will be off to school. Congratulations on being invited back for the season (even if you may not want to return). It's nice they asked, and you need to do something until nacho enthusiast takes off, right?

  2. I have had Henrietta Lacks on my tbr for years! I really need to read that one I hope that both your Mom and Brooklyn had fantastic birthdays! Your Valentines day sounds perfect to me. Have a great week!

  3. I wonder if being a park ranger will feel easier the second year. Just a thought. The first year I taught school---whew. Second year---not so much.

    The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks is an amazing story, beautifully researched, well-told, and true. I've never had someone read that book and say it was disappointing.

  4. Yay for a book club and yay you have a job! I am with Deb, maybe it will be easier the second year...

  5. Hooray for book club and for another year in your job! I hope you get to watch the Henrietta Lacks movie! Have a wonderful week ahead!

  6. Well I'd say it's a good thing that you kept your job if none other reason than that I adore reading anecdotes about it!

  7. That's sad abour Henrietta and her family not being recognized or compensated for her contribution to science and medicine. Hopefully, the book will shed more light on her history.

  8. See, told you you will bring a smile to my face! I had training via Zoom for over a week. Gosh - it almost killed me.

    I want to read the book about the bad dude and his slightly less bad daughter. Sounds intriguing.

    Can't believe I haven't read Henrietta Lock yet - I have it and all!! Just need to read it.

    I think it's cool that you get to keep your job! You are obviously doing something good and we love to read all your stories. So go for it!

    Have a good week ahead AJ.

    Elza Reads

  9. I agree that everyone should read Henrietta Lacks! It is a good story, scientifically interesting, and full of ethical questions.

    And congratulations on being asked back to the Ranger's job; that's a good thing, mostly I would think. At least this next season you know what's coming (in theory).

  10. Congrats on being called back! Even if it is exhausting (and it totally sounds like it would be). I love buffalo wings. I hardly ever have them, but there's something about that buffalo sauce...

  11. No she's not 4, she's BABY Brooklyn right? Yay for getting called back. It gives you the option if you decide it's what you want.

    Anne - Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post

  12. congrats on going to a book club meeting! I started a book club for my block 12 years ago. We meet once a month, and at each meeting, eahc member presnets a book that he/she has read since last meeting. We so love our format, though it's so bad for our TBRs!

  13. Happy Birthday to Brooklyn and your mom! Congrats on the job, I guess. I hope all goes well. Have a great week!

  14. I agree that The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks is a must read, for both its scientific significance and for the questionable ethics involved.

  15. I read Henrietta Lacks a few years ago with one of my book clubs....yep, that one packs a punch! I still think about it. Have a great week!- Melinda @ A Web of Stories

  16. Congrats on the invitation to return. I’m curious, are there off seasons or is the park open all year round? And what do you do in the off season?
    Happy birthday to Brooklyn! It’s a cliche but they really just grow up so fast, I just dropped kid #3 off at uni on the weekend.

    Wishing you a great week of reading.

  17. Congratulations on getting your job back. I hope that this time it goes quite a bit smoother.

  18. Happy birthday to Brooklyn and your mom! I can't believe Brooklyn is already four, either!

  19. Sounds like you had a good week. Happy birthday to Brooklyn and your mom. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

  20. Well, I'm glad you get to keep your job for now! Maybe something else will come around that's better in the coming months. Happy birthday to Baby Brooklyn!

  21. Congrats on keeping your job for another season! Even if I hope it'll get a little less exhausting for you this time.

  22. Happy birthday to Brooklyn and your mom! I can't imagine how exhausting the park ranger job must be as it seems like every day would be completely different from the last but hopefully with your second season will be a little less exhausting! I hope you are having a wonderful week!