Dr. Andy

Reflections on medicine and biology among other things

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Book Reviews

Here are brief reviews of the books I read while on vacation

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets- I deliberately held off reading these until my son Colin was old enough to read them so we could talk about them. Suddenly he is finishing up the fifth one and eagerly awaiting #6! How time flies. Anyway these are both really good. JK Rowling uses language well and the books are exciting, and rich, but without much extraneous detail (so much so you worry about every new character, since something bad will probably happen to them). While obviously fantastic, the stories are not so outrageous as to be beyond belief once you accept the premise of a secret society of "magic" people. I got #3 from the library yesterday. Highly recommended.

Swimming to Antarctica
. This book tells of multiple long-distance, cold-water swims undertaken by the author, Lynne Cox. The book is okay, but a bit repetitive: in each swim she worries she won’t make it but calms her mind and picks up her pace to finish. These kind of achievements require a lot of dedication and focus, and it shows. It is all about the author and her swims. Other swimmers and those around her are noted only as they pertain to her swims. This book isn’t horrible, but I didn’t get much out of it either. I suspect those not particularly interested in endurance would get even less

Shadow Divers: The story of divers who found a German U-boat (WWII vintage German submarine)off the coast of New Jersey and their quest to identify it. The two main divers told their story to a writer who wrote the book, which works well. I learned a lot about both SCUBA diving (very dangerous in deep water and around shipwrecks) and U-boats. I don’t have particular interest in either, but enjoyed the book tremendously. Highly recommended.


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