Fiction Read in Sept/Oct:
Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Silence of the Grave by Arnaldur Idrioason
A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny
It jumped out at me that 3 of the 6 fiction books I read in the first two months of this school year were books I assigned my 8th grader: Sense and Sensibility, The Curious Incident and Lord of the Flies. The first two were chosen because we had the opportunity to go to amazing performances through programs for students at the Folger Shakespeare Theater (S&S) and Kennedy Center (Curious Incident). We thoroughly enjoyed both books and both productions. As an aside, I have to admit that I joked about assigning Austen to an almost 13 year old 8th grade boy. I wasn’t sure what he would think. He still prefers fantasy and action but he got a lot of the humor and wit of Austen and said he liked it.
Non-Fiction Read in Sept/Oct:
The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddharta Mukherjee
Patient H. M. : A Story of Memory, Madness and Family Secrets by Luke Dittrich
Both of these non-fiction reads were fantastic, I reviewed The Gene earlier and again give it a wholehearted recommendation to anyone interested in genetics of biology.
Patient H. M., a fascinating story about one of the most studied clinical cases in medical history, is probably of interest to a wider audience. H. M. was a man who underwent a lobotomy as a cure for epilepsy and ended up losing all ability to form new memories. The story itself is completely compelling but the author, Luke Dittrich, is the grandson of the neurosurgeon who performed the lobotomy. This family relationship has Dittrich investigate his own family secrets and possible motivations of his grandfather. Dittrich delves into the history of psychosurgery, mental illness, and takes a hard look at the ethics of medical research. I would rank this book with other great medical non-fiction such as When the Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down or The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.