See what we've been reading...
This is a place to find short reviews of books read and recommended by members of the UWEC Biology faculty. Stay tuned for more titles of "good reads" in the life sciences.
A World Without Bees describes in detail the alarming disappearance of honeybees around the world and addresses the consequences to agriculture. No simple explanation has been found for ‘colony collapse disorder’. Everything from viruses, fungi, mites, and pesticides have been implicated in this phenomenon. The data-rich history of the disappearing honeybee is truly fascinating.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks tells two stories, that of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman who lost her life to cancer in the early 1950’s, and of her cells, which have been immortalized as a stem cell line. These were the first stem cells successfully grown in culture. Rebecca Skloot writes about the lives of Henrietta and her children and how they were affected by the decision to propagate her cells. In the process, Skloot gives insight into how the medical community has sometimes neglected individuals and families in the pursuit of medical research. The book brings up issues of informed consent, appropriate compensation, health care inequities, and the viewing patients as people.
-Lynn Young Janik
Steinbeck's Log of the Sea of Cortez is a great, non-fiction read for anyone interested in marine zoology. In 1941, Steinbeck and his friend Ed Ricketts chartered a 75-foot purse seiner to sail from Monterey, CA to the Gulf of California to collect intertidal organisms for Ricketts' biological supply business. Steinbeck's account describes their journey and adventures on shore, and the remarkable animals they encounter. This is a good book for anyone interested in invertebrate zoology or marine biology in general. It will also be of interest to readers of Steinbeck's Cannery Row or Tortilla Flat because Ricketts was the real-life model for "Doc" in these novels.