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Thursday, August 18, 2011

July and August Contemporary Women Writers book group meetings

     On July 12 our group discussed Still Alice by Lisa Genova.  The plot involves a Harvard college professor of psychology who, in her early fifties, discovers she has Alzheimer's.  The author, a neuroscientist, provides an amazing description of a patient realizing she has the disease, the symptoms and progression of losses she faces.  Everyone at the discussion thought the book was very well written.  Most of us found it was difficult to read without taking breaks, because we empathized with Alice.  This would be an excellent book for people who have a family member of close friend who has been diagosed with the disease, because the book reveals the situation from the patient's point of view.  It is not a 'how to" book, but a book to understand the thoughts and emotions of the patient.
     On August 9, our group discussed The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot.
Henrietta Lacks, a poor African American migrant from a tobacco farm in Virginia, living in Baltimore,
was a 31 year old mother of five when she died of cervical cancer.  A sample of her cancerous tissue, taken without her or her family's knowledge or consent, became cells that could survive and be used for research.  Known as the HeLa cells, they were used in the cure for polio and research for many other diseases.  Her family never knew about her cells, and were never compensated.  The author spent ten years researching Henrietta and her cells, and spending time with the Lack family in order to write this book about Henrietta and her cells.  Henrietta finally achieves recognition in this fascinating read.
     On Tuesday, September 13, the book group will discuss South of Broad by Pat Conroy.  On Tuesday
October 11 we will discuss The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  New members are always welcome to join.

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