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Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

Lab Girl

by Hope Jahren

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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    Trees: Their Natural History by P. A. Thomas (harmen)
    harmen: Mentioned in the endnote

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This book is part memoir and part treatise on plants and how they follow the stages of life. I loved the book, and plan to re-read the sections about the plants - I thought they were beautifully written. Jahren is that rare combination of dedicated scientist and outstanding writer. The book is written with memoir sections alternating with thoughts about the development of plants or trees, with the plant sections beginning with a seed and moving through to the death of the plant/tree. The book was so well crafted - she must have been thinking about it for quite a while. Very memorable. I'll make sure I plant some trees this year. ( )
  peggybr | Oct 4, 2017 |
Jahren makes a reader envies when it comes to our career choices. Through Lab Girl, we see life through the goggles of a scientist, the struggles with getting funds, of fighting to do the thing you love. Lab Girl is hilarious, beautiful, and just like Dillard and Oliver, she asks you to look at the world under a microscope, to pick up dirt and smell it, to look at the world and revel in the age of it. A must read. ( )
  JaredOrlando | Oct 3, 2017 |
Totally loved this book! This is a very readable book about a woman who dreams and becomes a scientist but who has to work twice as hard at what she loves because she is a woman. Along with her comes Bill, "her brilliant, eccentric lab partner." I hadn't realized that university employed professor had to scrape together the money for the equipment they need for their lab as well as for their employees. No wonder we're behind in the sciences! Our scientists have to worry about finances rather then make discoveries. I liked the format of her book into three parts; Roots and Leaves, Wood and Knots, and Flowers and Fruit. Within those sections she interspers.es her story with the biology of a tree or a plant. I like her website address too because this book shows it's true ( )
  lisa.schureman | Aug 14, 2017 |
Really enjoyed this
  marlizzy | Jun 2, 2017 |
The best thing I've read in a while. The chapters alternate between interesting facts about plants and trees, and a very engaging memoire. The author has a fabulous sense of humor, has led an interesting life, and beguiles the reader with tales of plant biology. ( )
  Eye_Gee | May 8, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
With “Lab Girl,” Jahren has taken the form of the memoir and done something remarkable with it. She’s made the experience of reading the book mimic her own lived experience in a way that few writers are capable of.

She swerves from observations about plant life (“A cactus doesn’t live in the desert because it likes the desert; it lives there because the desert hasn’t killed it yet”) to a report from the interior of her tortured brain (“Full-blown mania lets you see the other side of death”) to adventures on the road with Bill (“ ‘Do you really think this is illegal?’ I asked Bill over the CB radio.”) — and somehow, it all works, because the structure and the language follow the story.

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hope Jahrenprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gumpert, Ignacio VillaroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pérez, María José ViejoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taeger, MerleÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The more I handled things and learned their names and uses, the more joyous and confident grew my sense of kinship with the rest of the world. -Helen Keller
Everything that I write is dedicated to my mother.
First words
People love the ocean.
There is nothing in the world more perfect than a slide rule.
...silent togetherness is what Scandinavian families do naturally, and it may be what they do best.
In my own small experience, sexism has been something very simple: the cumulative weight of constantly being told that you can't possibly be what you are.
A cactus doesn’t live in the desert because it likes the desert; it lives there because the desert hasn’t killed it yet.
I have learned that raising a child is essentially one long, slow agony of letting go.
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Book description
An illuminating debut memoir of a woman in science; a moving portrait of a longtime friendship; and a stunningly fresh look at plants that will forever change how you see the natural world.

Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she’s studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Her first book is a revelatory treatise on plant life—but it is also so much more.

Lab Girl is a book about work, love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahren’s remarkable stories: about her childhood in rural Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged hours of play in his classroom’s labs; about how she found a sanctuary in science, and learned to perform lab work done “with both the heart and the hands”; and about the inevitable disappointments, but also the triumphs and exhilarating discoveries, of scientific work.

Yet at the core of this book is the story of a relationship Jahren forged with a brilliant, wounded man named Bill, who becomes her lab partner and best friend. Their sometimes rogue adventures in science take them from the Midwest across the United States and back again, over the Atlantic to the ever-light skies of the North Pole and to tropical Hawaii, where she and her lab currently make their home.

Jahren’s probing look at plants, her astonishing tenacity of spirit, and her acute insights on nature enliven every page of this extraordinary book. Lab Girl opens your eyes to the beautiful, sophisticated mechanisms within every leaf, blade of grass, and flower petal. Here is an eloquent demonstration of what can happen when you find the stamina, passion, and sense of sacrifice needed to make a life out of what you truly love, as you discover along the way the person you were meant to be. [retrieved 9/20/17 from Amazon.com]
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