by Hope Jahren
Lab Girl is a memoir that follows the life and career of Hope Jahren. At the time of her writing, Jahren was working in Hawaii as a geochemist/paleobiologist (she currently works at the University of Oslo). Lab Girl details her childhood, studies, and personal life in honest (and sometimes painful) detail. She is eloquent in ways we don’t often associate with scientists.
Intermixed with her autobiography are beautiful descriptions of plant life. Jahren weaves metaphors an tells stories that will change the way you look at the world around you – and isn’t that the best quality a book can have?
If you listen to audiobooks (we have a copy available online, through Overdrive) Jahren reads the book. She pauses and cries at points, creating an atmosphere of near-reverence for the listener. At several points, Jahren discusses her manic-depression, a cycle that often benefitted her work-centric lifestyle while sacrificing her health. Hearing her read these passages, imbued with such raw and honest reflection, seemed almost like an honor.
If you’re science-minded in the slightest and appreciate a good memoir, this book will knock your socks off.
The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean
Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan