Large Print Reviews
The Lives of a Cell
More Notes of a Biology Watcher
By Lewis Thomas
Read by Edward Lewis
Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - February 1, 2002
The Lives of a Cell: More Notes of a Biology Watcher is a delightful little book filled to the brim with 29 diverse essays by Lewis Thomas. These personal essays run the gamut from a discourse on the nature of death to thoughtful trysts through the realms of music, language, and germs. Other topics covered include biomythology, autonomy, computers, human relationships, insects, medicine, and yes, cells. These delightful essays are read by Edward Lewis, in this unabridged audio edition of The Lives of a Cell.
These essays are just as much about people as they are about science, and Thomas's observations are truly insightful. The essays can be read as a whole, or as individual forays into our world. With ease, Thomas shows the reader that everything in the world is interconnected, both on a cellular level and on a global level. He also shows that this interconnectivity is essential for our well being - a fact that is all too often overlooked as we, as humans, destroy our environment and caused the extinction of countless species. After reading these essays you will be convinced of the rashness of this thoughtless approach to environmental genocide!
I find it amazing that these essays were all, originally, published in The New England Journal of Medicine. They easily capture Thomas's veracious wonder of the world around him, and they are written with such a poetic flare that they can be read for the pure joy of his narrative. Consequently, I find it hard to imagine them sitting side by side with technical essays and articles in a peer reviewed medical journal. For me, peer reviewed journals always have, and always will be, associated with a just tinge of stuffiness.
Thomas, who died in 1993 was a respected medical doctor. He was also a prolific science writer who had an innate ability to translate the world of science into understandable and beautiful prose that made his deeply technical world accessible - and understandable - to everyone. I highly recommend these essays to anyone looking for an intelligent and invigorating book to read, and to anyone with an interest in life - in all its myriad forms.
Back to top
- "What Do You Care What Other People Think?", by Richard P. Feynman.
This book, by the brilliant physicist Richard P. Feynman, will make you laugh, and it may make you cry. It includes essays on how he became a scientist, the death of his first wife, Arlene, who died of TB while Feynman was working with Oppenheimer on the Atomic Bomb. A large portion of this book also chronicles his dealings with bureaucrats, and his work on the Rogers Commission that investigated the destruction of the space shuttle, Challenger. (Audio)
- The Naked Eye, by Desmond Morris.
Morris has a keen eye for detail and a ready wit that will have you chuckling as you read this fascinating book filled with autobiographical and natural history essays slash travel monologues that chronicle Morris's adventures in observing human behavior around the globe. (Large Print)
Questions or Comments? Send an email to:
Copyright © Large Print Reviews 2002 - All Rights Reserved