Thursday, May 26, 2011


Homeland by R.A. Salvatore is the first book in the Dark Elf Trilogy. A prequel of sorts to the Icewind Dale Trilogy, Salvatore treats us to an intimate look at Drizzt's beginnings. Starting with events just before Drizzt's birth, we are shown who the drow are and where they come from. As Drizzt grows up, he and his family know that he is different. To his family, however, that is not a good thing. In a society ruled by chaos and the cruel Spider Queen the drow worship as their patron goddess, there is no room for such things as compassion or friendship.

We get to follow along in this in-depth introduction to the evil drow - the dark elves, as Salvatore's most beloved character finds himself and realizes the horrible truth about his people. And, as I have come to expect from Salvatore after reading the Icewind Dale Trilogy, the central characters are not necessarily the only ones who are well developed - I have yet to come across anyone flat and uninteresting.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Skin: A Natural History

Skin. The organ you probably take the most for granted. It seems extremely simple, but as Nina G. Jablonski shows us in this book, Skin: A Natural History, it is extremely complex. I chose this book for my alternate reading assignment in my Biological Anthropology class this past semester, and it's fascinating. She goes over, of course, the "basics" that most (if not all) of us know from our introductory biology courses in high school or college, but she takes it a little more in depth as well.

Most are familiar with the basic biology of skin, and the levels of melanin production affecting human diversity. Jablonski also discusses, however, such topics as sweat and the adaptation of human hairlessness. There is anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and anthropology exemplified in this book. Not only does she go over (in detail, mind you) the technical ins and outs of skin, but also the sociocultural aspects, such as body modification - decoration through painting, piercing, scarring, tattooing...she touches also on new developments in the research of producing artificial skin.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Catherine, Called Birdy

Okay, so I know I thought before that I would have more time for new posts, but that did not turn out to be the truth. School seems to get more hectic every semester! But the good news is that finals for this Spring are next week, and I won't have classes again until July; so I will have more time for leisure reading and to post more frequently (for real this time)!

Anyway, tonight I want to talk about Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman. This book came out back when I was in maybe the fourth or fifth grade - I thoroughly enjoyed it then, and it was a fun book to revisit. The format of the story is as if you are reading Catherine's diary, which I always like, because I am a nosy person. Obviously, if you are someone who likes having a certain depth in multiple characters, this book is not for you, but I think it is fun to read books set up this way, too.