Dec ’12 was…

December 2012 was a decidedly difficult month. I don’t mind admitting it was stressful and full of ups and downs. How else can I describe a period of time that contained mad love and the quiet urge to request freedom all at once? A month of feeling like the best thing on Earth and the last person anyone would want to be with? I buried myself in books to compensate for what I wasn’t sure I was feeling. And I won’t even mention the Sandy twins. But wait. I just did.

  • The Wholeness of a Broken Heart by Katie Singer ~ in honor of all things Hanukkah. This was by far my favorite book of the month.
  • Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner ~ in honor of Iowa becoming a state in December. This was a close second.
  • The Tattered Cloak and Other Novels by Nina Berberlova ~ in honor of the coldest day in Russia being in December. I read a story every night.
  • Big Mouth & Ugly Girl by Carol Joyce Oates ~ in honor of Oates being born in December. I was able to read this in one sitting.
  • The Women of the Raj by Margaret MacMillan ~ in honor of December being one of the best times to visit India
  • Rosalind Franklin: Dark Lady of DNA by Brenda Maddox ~ in honor of Franking being born in December
  • Billy by Albert French ~ in honor of Mississippi becoming a state in December
  • Apples are From Kazakhstan by Christopher Robbins ~ in honor of Kazakhstan gaining its independence in December.

In an attempt to finish some “series” I read:

  • Lives of the Painters, Sculptors and Architects, Vol 3  by Giorgio Vasari (only one more to go after this, yay!)
  • Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers

For audio here’s what I listened to:

  • The Galton Case by Ross MacDonald ~ this was laugh-out-loud funny
  • Bellwether by Connie Willis ~ in honor of December being Willis’s birth month

For the Early Review Program with LibraryThing here’s what I read:

  • Drinking with Men: a Memoir by Rosie Schaap

And here’s what I started:

  • Gold Coast Madam by Rose Laws

For fun: Natalie Merchant’s Leave Your Sleep.

Rosalind Franklin

Maddox, Brenda. Rosalind Franklin: the Dark Lady of DNA. New York: Harper Collins, 2002.

One of the very first things I learned about Rosalind Franklin is that she was destined to become a scientist of some sort. How could she not? She came from a long line of scholars. But what she didn’t inherit was the ability to be gracious. From the very beginning Franklin was called obstructive (Nancy Pearl calls her “cranky”) and people couldn’t wait to be rid of her. But, for all that she was brilliant. Brilliant at a time in society when women in general were supposed to be anything but! “…she was spared military service and allowed to remain at university, to her father’s dismay. Yet what exactly she ought to have been doing instead was hard for him to say, as a woman’s place in the war effort had not been defined” (p 71).

Best line, “She knew enough about herself to know that she liked people better when she didn’t have to live with them” (p 75).

Reason read: Rosalind Franklin was born in December 1920. I’m reading her biography in honor of the occasion.

Author fact: Brenda Maddox excels at writing biographies. In addition to Rosalind Franklin she has written about William Butler Yeats and Molly Bloom, just to name a few.

Book trivia: Rosalind Franklin: the Dark Lady of DNA was a story on NPR.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Genuine Genes” (p 96).