What We Are Reading Today: Normal Family

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Updated 31 July 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Normal Family

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  • The first-time memoirist recounts a dramatically different family revelation from DNA testing

Author: Chrysta Bilton

This is a memoir about chaos, addiction and two little girls brought up in an unconventional household.
Normal Family is a beautifully written memoir by Chrysta Bilton, who has finally come to terms with the unconventional and sometimes chaotic upbringing that she experienced.
It is an extraordinary account of growing up in a dysfunctional family, and the far-reaching effects of prejudice and trauma.
The first-time memoirist recounts a dramatically different family revelation from DNA testing.
“Bringing us into the fold of a deeply dysfunctional yet fiercely loving clan that is anything but ‘normal,’ this emotional roller coaster of a memoir will make you cry, laugh, and rethink the meaning of family,” said a review on goodreads.com.
It’s her astonishing childhood which really grips readers from the beginning.
Bilton “impeccably takes us on her journey of self-discovery, writing in such a way that you feel like you are living her life along with her,” said the review.
The memoir underscore the need for people to learn the truths about their biological families.

 


What We Are Reading Today: Microbial Life History

What We Are Reading Today: Microbial Life History
Updated 18 August 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Microbial Life History

What We Are Reading Today: Microbial Life History

Author: Steven A. Frank

Design and diversity are the two great challenges in the study of life. Microbial Life History draws on the latest advances in microbiology to describe the fundamental forces of biological design and apply these evolutionary processes to a broad diversity of traits in microbial metabolism and biochemistry.

Emphasizing how to formulate and test hypotheses of adaptation, Steven Frank provides a new foundation for exploring the evolutionary forces of design.

He discusses the economic principles of marginal valuations, trade-offs, and payoffs in risky and random environments; the social aspects of conflict and cooperation; the demographic aspects of age and spatial heterogeneity; and the engineering control theory principles by which systems adjust to environments.

Frank then applies these evolutionary principles to the biochemistry of microbial metabolism, providing the first comprehensive link between the forces that shape biological design and cellular energetics.


What We Are Reading Today: Work Matters by Maureen Perry-Jenkins

What We Are Reading Today: Work Matters by Maureen Perry-Jenkins
Updated 17 August 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Work Matters by Maureen Perry-Jenkins

What We Are Reading Today: Work Matters by Maureen Perry-Jenkins

Low-wage workers make up the largest group of employed parents in the US, yet scant attention has been given to their experiences as new mothers and fathers. Work Matters brings the unique stories of these diverse individuals to light. Drawing on years of research and more than 1,500 family interviews, Maureen Perry-Jenkins describes how new parents cope with the demands of infant care while holding down low-wage, full-time jobs, and she considers how managing all of these responsibilities has long-term implications for child development. She examines why some parents and children thrive while others struggle, demonstrates how specific job conditions impact parental engagement and child well-being, and discusses common-sense and affordable ways that employers can provide support.

In the US, federal parental leave policy is unfunded. As a result, many new parents, particularly hourly workers, return to their jobs just weeks after the birth because they cannot afford not to.


What We Are Reading Today: Slaying the Dragon

What We Are Reading Today: Slaying the Dragon
Updated 16 August 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Slaying the Dragon

What We Are Reading Today: Slaying the Dragon

Author: Ben Riggs 

Ben Riggs’s Slaying the Dragon reveals the true story of the rise and fall of TSR— the company that unleashed imaginations with Dungeons & Dragons.

Go behind the scenes of their Lake Geneva headquarters where innovative artists and writers redefined the sword and sorcery genre, managers and executives sabotaged their own success by alienating their top talent, accruing a mountain of debt, and agreeing to deals which that made them into a publishing company unable to publish so much as a postcard.

As epic and fantastic as the titles TSR published, Slaying the Dragon is the legendary tale of the rise and fall of the company that created the role-playing game world.


What We Are Reading Today: Sapiens

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Updated 16 August 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Sapiens

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  • The book explains how these revolutions impacted the relationship between human beings and other species of flora and fauna

“Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” is a non-fiction history and social philosophy book written by Prof. Yuval Noah Harari and published in 2011.

Harari based this book on a history class he was giving to undergraduate students. The contents of the 20 chapters reflect what is being taught in each of the 20 lectures during the semester.

Sapiens discusses world history from the inception of Earth 4.5 billion years ago to modern-day human footprint. Harari divides the timeline of history into four sections: the cognitive revolution, the agricultural revolution, the unification of humankind, and the scientific revolution.

The book explains how these revolutions impacted the relationship between human beings and other species of flora and fauna.

In section one, titled “The Cognitive Revolution,” there are four subcategories, with the first being “An Animal of No Significance,” that presents the reader with concise definitions of physics, chemistry, biology and history.

Section two, titled “The Agricultural Revolution,” discusses human beings’ domestication of plants and animals and explains that this revolution of interfering with naturally growing plants and wild animals started from western Iran, south-eastern Turkey and the Levant.

Section three, titled “The Unification of Humankind,” mentions that as agriculture required uniformity and cooperation between humans, the concept of collective rules and norms created the first structure of culture.

“The Scientific Revolution,” the final section, brings to light how human inventions and breakthroughs in the last 500 years catapulted humanity into a larger, more complex sphere of existence.

To put it into context, Harari highlights the first detonation of the atomic bomb — Oppenheimer’s weapon of mass destruction — in Alamogordo, New Mexico on July 16 1945.

Harari holds a Ph.D in history from the University of Oxford and is now a world history professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

He was awarded the Polonsky Prize for Creativity and Originality in 2009 and 2012. His bestseller and most remarkable publication Sapiens sold more than 12 million copies worldwide.

 


What We Are Reading Today: Left to Tell

What We Are Reading Today: Left to Tell
Updated 15 August 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Left to Tell

What We Are Reading Today: Left to Tell

Authors: Immaculee Ilibagiza and Steve Erwin

Immaculee Ilibagiza grew up in a country she loved, surrounded by a family she cherished. But in 1994 her idyllic world was ripped apart as Rwanda descended into a bloody genocide. Immaculee’s family was brutally murdered during a killing spree that lasted three months and claimed the lives of nearly a million Rwandans.

Incredibly, Immaculee survived the slaughter. For 91 days, she and seven other women huddled silently together in the cramped bathroom of a local pastor while hundreds of machete-wielding killers hunted for them.

It was during those endless hours of unspeakable terror that Immaculee discovered the power of prayer, eventually shedding her fear of death.

She emerged from her bathroom hideout having discovered the meaning of truly unconditional love — a love so strong she was able seek out and forgive her family’s killers.

The triumphant story of this remarkable young woman’s journey through the darkness of genocide will inspire anyone whose life has been touched by fear, suffering, and loss.