The Evolution of Everything

October 17, 2013 at 9:49 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , )

ev of janeTitle: The Evolution of Jane

Author: Cathleen Schine

Genre: Fiction

Length: 210 pages

The perfect fall day in Texas: a spinach and onion soup with lots of cheese mixed in, coffee gone cold, Huckleberry Sage in my Scentsy Warmer, all the windows open because it’s so nice outside, Tethered by Sleeping at Last playing softly on repeat, and The Evolution of Jane in front of me.

In a week of epiphanies, nostalgia, cold fronts, random spurts of rain, and recuperation after sheer emotional exhaustion, Schine’s novel is perfect and lovely.  Soft and defined at the same time. A little more perfect than I expected.

It’s supposed to be a comedy… “A cerebral comedy of manners,” the Boston Globe calls it.  I find that in itself humorous, as I haven’t laughed since the first page. Instead, it feels (oddly) exactly like life.  It’s a mish-mash of inappropriate feelings, unexplained drama, stress where there should be none, and complete nostalgia.

It even has a delicious quote that made me swoon as it so much reflects how I feel about my own life.  “I loved my job, for it allowed me to rub shoulders with ideas, to listen without having to retain, to gather information like flowers.”

My job, this job that is part author, part homeschool mom, part event coordinator, part reader and reviewer, part so many things… this job feels like that… like gathering flowers.  My life feels like that in general.  I am a forager, I pick up and discard things as I go, looking for any bit of nutrients and beauty I can get along the way.

I bought this book years ago at the height of my Darwin and Evolution studies.  When I was trying to squeeze every bit of information on anything that briefly fascinated me.  When I was trying to retain everything.  How appropriate that I wait to read it now, when I can read it with more of a passing fancy, where I can absorb a story without trying so hard to remember it all.

Life isn’t meant for you to remember every single moment.  If we were meant to remember it all with such clarity, I think that we would.  Some things are best left discarded.  This book, however, is not one of those things.  If you buy it, you should keep it.  It will get added to the re-read sometime pile.

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Intelligent Design: More Than a Bandwagon

February 3, 2010 at 10:05 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , )

A Review of Michael J. Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box

I thoroughly enjoyed Behe’s well-crafted and easy-to-understand argument against Darwinian “science.”  I found Biology fascinating when I was in school, and this has sparked some of that forgotten love for studying things under the microscope.  I would like more Darwinist groups to actually give this book the time it deserves rather than casting it aside because they think its a soap-box for Creationists.  Behe clearly states that he is NOT a Creationist at the beginning of the book – put your pride aside and see what he has to say about his research before you judge his viewpoint.

Purchase Behe Books Here

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Origins and Thoughts, and Original Thoughts

January 19, 2010 at 5:44 am (JARS, Reviews, The Whim) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

My thoughts on Irving Stone’s The Origin so far… (I’m on Book Ten)

Irving Stone presents a very cheerful, almost carefree, narrative of Darwin’s life. Friendships are dwelt upon, discoveries are glorified, and opposition breezed over. Even the death of Charles and Emma’s third child is skipped over with a mere page and a half of detail.

Despite being an enjoyable novel, its astonishing how much humanity is lacking in the description – it has the feel of a 1950’s family sitcom, Leave It to Beaver meets the Darwin family in Victorian England.

I like Irving Stone’s version of things, however. It gives a detailed time line of publications and events. Its a good source to use as an introduction to the study of evolution: names, dates, and important essays, journals and other writings are handed to you chronologically on a silver platter so that you can jot them down and do additional research afterward.

The book is quite clever, actually, sidestepping every controversy and smiling noncommittally.

“They established a routine in which everyone fitted harmoniously,” (from book nine: the Whole Life) seems to be the theme of the book, rather than the development of the theory of evolution. It is full of lines like: “The Manuscript on Volcanic Islands moved along felicitously.” Even through his many illnesses and the death of his two daughters, Charles Darwin seems to have led a very charmed life.

I discussed all this with a member the physical JARS book club, and she pointed out something important that I failed to notice: this is exactly the way a man of the Victorian Age would want his biography written. The Victorian era was a time when the upper class mastered the art of smiling and pretending everything was fine, introducing what my friend described as “that very British attitude of ‘Get Over It and Move On.’ ”

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