Jayne’s Mostly Non-fiction Book Reading List
Never Trust a Sneaky Pony: And Other Things They Didn’t Teach Me in Vet School by Madison Seamans DVM
James Herriot meets Jeff Foxworthy in the real-life adventures of a traveling horse doctor.
Climb into the truck alongside large animal vet Dr. Madison Seamans and race to the aid of horses with wounds, stomach aches, allergies, and bizarre behaviors, as well as those in severe physical distress. Quite by accident, you’ll find yourself familiar with and understanding common equine medical problems and how they are diagnosed and treated, all while marveling at the remarkable situations a country veterinarian can find himself in. Playful yet serious, honest yet tongue-in-cheek, this wonderfully written book is an up-close look at a well-lived rural life that is about as authentic as America gets. No one who cares a whit for the animal kingdom, and the humans who dare enter it, will be disappointed.
After reaching the 1/2 way point with this book, I’m afraid I have realized I’m not the best audience for it. The first chapter, filled with long descriptions of the author’s vet school buddies followed by the antics of his uncle attempting to hunt bucks on a ranch to which he had no authorization to be there, didn’t set the rest of the book up well for me.
The chapters are divided into medical diagnosis categories and basically end up being much of the same thing. There are only so many colic stories I want to read about.
The nail in the coffin though are the number of horse owners not willing to take proper care of their animals. I realize this is not the fault of the author (nor do all of his clients act this way) but it’s also just not something I want to continue reading either. DNF
Remnants of Ancient Life : The New Science of Old Fossils by Dale Greenwalt
The revolution in science that is transforming our understanding of extinct life
We used to think of fossils as being composed of nothing but rock and minerals, all molecular traces of life having vanished long ago. We were wrong. Remnants of Ancient Life reveals how the new science of ancient biomolecules—pigments, proteins, and DNA that once functioned in living organisms tens of millions of years ago—is opening a new window onto the evolution of life on Earth.
Paleobiologists are now uncovering these ancient remnants in the fossil record with increasing frequency, shedding vital new light on long-extinct creatures and the lost world they inhabited. Dale Greenwalt is your guide to these astonishing breakthroughs. He explains how ancient biomolecules hold the secrets to how mammoths dealt with the bitter cold, what colors dinosaurs exhibited in mating displays, how ancient viruses evolved to become more dangerous, and much more. Each chapter discusses different types of biomolecules and the insights they provide about the physiology, behavior, and evolution of extinct organisms, many of which existed long before the age of dinosaurs.
A marvelous adventure of discovery, Remnants of Ancient Life offers an unparalleled look at an emerging science that is transforming our picture of the remote past. You will never think of fossils in the same way again.
This book is packed with amazing information. Recently I read another book which discussed how the knowledge we have about dinosaurs has changed since the original “Jurassic Park” movie was released. “Remnants” shows how scientists have now surpassed even that. All over the world, new fossils are being found at an astonishing rate. Old technology is being used or improved to delve deeper into what they can tell us while new tech is answering questions scientists once only dreamed of. For instance, they’re discovering how and when animals and plants began to be pigmented and what that means for evolution. When did dinosaurs first see color? And as we know birds see wavelengths of color that humans can’t, what colors did dinos see? Did pigmented feathers help birds begin to fly? What new technique is helping not only paleontologists but also archeologists, among others, identify and categorize (even fragments of) fossils and Bronze Age human dig site finds?
Now having said all that, I issue a word of warning. Greenwalt delves into a lot of scientific detail about the processes in the book. He does explain what these mean but that also adds even more to try to understand. This might be great for readers with a science and/or health science background but the sheer volume of terms and techniques might be daunting to the average armchair reader. I know I had to slow down my usual reading speed and pay close attention. But, the information is still interesting and it appears that it will continue growing by leaps and bounds due to the dogged and ingenious efforts of a great many people. B
An Unsuitable Boy by Sinclair Jayne (Sawhney)
She’s done playing by the rules. He never has.
As the oldest sibling, OBGYN Asha Kapoor has always been the perfect daughter and role model. But when her traditionally arranged marriage implodes days before the ceremony, Asha feels lost and humiliated. At nearly thirty-seven, she knows her dream of having her own children is slipping away, but she has no Plan B for her life. Then Dhruv Narula rescues her from a kitchen fire, and something wild in Asha awakens. Dhruv is everything she’s not—sexy, fearless, unbound by tradition, and completely irresistible.
Former soldier and now firefighter Dhruv isn’t expecting a hero’s welcome home. Though he’s proud of his life and career choices, he never once gained his exacting father’s approval or the respect of his tight Indian community. While Dhruv stopped caring what anyone thought years ago, even he hesitates to hurtle into a scorching secret relationship with the woman he always fantasized about—the brilliant jewel-of-society Asha Kapoor.
Asha and Dhruv know they’re completely wrong for each other. So then why does it feel so right?
Even though this is the third book in this series, it sounded interesting so I decided to start here. It’s an opposites attract, friends to lovers, bad boy/good girl book. Asha and Dhruv grew up in the tight knit Indian-American community of Charlotte, NC where Asha was downright Indian Princess Royalty while Dhruv was shunned, humiliated, and treated like something to be scraped of the bottom of a shoe. Now he’s back and a hot bad boy while she’s been jilted and is now viewed with pity. So far, so good.
But the book gets stuck in circular cyclic scenes of Asha drooling over how hot Dhruv is and wondering about having sex with him, or using him as a sperm donor to start that family she wants and oh yes, he’s so hot. Meanwhile Dhruv still hates most of the established elders in their community for how they treated him (Really? Asha’s father threatened to call the police on him when he was twelve and bringing Asha something to her house?) but he thinks Asha is eminently fuckable and decides to verbally push her a bit to go for what she wants in life (which I thought was a good thing). But for me, he keeps stepping over the line between rebel and asshole. Perhaps this will get better but I’m not excited enough about any of the characters to want to wait and find out. DNF
The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series by Jessica Radloff
The definitive, behind-the-scenes look at the most popular sitcom of the last decade, The Big Bang Theory, packed with all-new, exclusive interviews with the producers and entire cast.
The Big Bang Theory is a television phenomenon. To the casual viewer, it’s a seemingly effortless comedy, with relatable characters tackling real-life issues, offering a kind of visual comfort food to its millions of dedicated fans. But the behind-the-scenes journey of the show from a failed pilot to a global sensation is a fascinating story that even the most die-hard fans don’t know in its entirety.
First, a confession. I never watched a single episode of “The Big Bang Theory” while it was on the air. Nope, not a one. Friends of mine loved it and regaled me with “Sheldon and Amy are going to have coitus!” discussions but I just smiled, feigned interest until the conversation moved to another topic, and went on with my life. Then (when I still had a Netflix DVD subscription – don’t judge me), I was looking for something to watch and thought, “Oh why not.” I was soon hooked (and pissed at Netflix for not having season 2, thank God for my local library!) except maybe for Howard’s early sexist behavior. Barreling through the whole 12 seasons, the show seemed to get better as it went along instead of the usual “jump the shark” moment that most long running series eventually reach. Noticing that this book would be coming out, I suggested it to my library to buy (I love my library!).
I am about 2/3 of the way through this and am loving the glimpses of how this show got started (and then restarted when the first pilot went nowhere), the backstage pass and finally the multiple, multiple interviews from a variety of people (cast, crew, family) involved with it. My suggestion for readers is to read it in sections – maybe one season at a time. Perhaps there’s a bit too much of Cuoco’s and Galecki’s off screen romance but otherwise, so far it’s delightful.
So… a book for animal lovers that starts with shooting animals and continues on with owners mistreating their animals? Why didn’t someone involved with that project think that out?
The ancient life book sounds like something my brother-in-law would love. He’s not in health science or any kind of scientist but he’s fascinated with dinosaurs and other ancient life forms. I may have to note it down as an idea of something to get him when the holidays roll around again.
Confession: I still have never watched a single episode of The Big Bang Theory.
@Janine: When I read a book by a vet and they’re being totally honest and upfront, I expect some sadness. Pets have finite lifespans. Pets have accidents. Pets are going to die. But yeah, reading a chapter about his uncle trespassing on the King Ranch to go buck hunting and some of the awful things some of the horse owners did/do was too much.
The fossils book has some amazing information.
There are still many more beloved TV shows I’ve never watched. ☺