Book Beginnings and Friday 56 – The Violinist’s Thumb (August 24)

This week’s choice of book for my Friday meme combo is The Violinist’s Thumb by Sam Kean. I won a copy of this via I’d Rather Be Reading At The Beach. It looks quite interesting and I’m looking forward to reading it soon. GoodReads offers the following synopsis:

In The Disappearing Spoon, bestselling author Sam Kean unlocked the mysteries of the periodic table. In THE VIOLINIST’S THUMB, he explores the wonders of the magical building block of life: DNA.

There are genes to explain crazy cat ladies, why other people have no fingerprints, and why some people survive nuclear bombs. Genes illuminate everything from JFK’s bronze skin (it wasn’t a tan) to Einstein’s genius. They prove that Neanderthals and humans bred thousands of years more recently than any of us would feel comfortable thinking. They can even allow some people, because of the exceptional flexibility of their thumbs and fingers, to become truly singular violinists.

Kean’s vibrant storytelling once again makes science entertaining, explaining human history and whimsy while showing how DNA will influence our species’ future.

Now for this week’s excerpts:

Book Beginnings is hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader, who invites anyone to join in, saying: ‘Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.  Please remember to include the title of the book and the author. Leave a link to your post.  If you don’t have a blog, but want to participate, please leave a comment with your Book Beginning.’

The beginning of The Violinist’s Thumb (from the introduction):

This might as well come out up front, first paragraph. This book is about DNA — about digging up stories buried in your DNA for thousands, even millions of years, and using DNA to solve mysteries about human beings whose solutions once seemed lost forever. And yes, I’m writing this book despite the fact that my father’s name is Gene. As is my mother’s name. Gene and Jean. Gene and Jean Kean.

It’s usually good to know up front what a book is about, and from this beginning I gather that the writer seems to have a good sense of humour as well.

The Friday 56 is a book meme hosted by Freda’s Voice and the rules are as follows:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.

It’s that simple.

From page 56 of The Violinist’s Thumb:

Despite Muller’s pessimism, Yamaguchi did want to survive, badly, for his family. He’d had complicated feelings about the war — opposing it at first, supporting it once under way, then shading back toward opposition when Japan began to stumble, because he feared the island being overrun by enemies who might harm his wife and son. (If so, he’d contemplated giving them an overdose of sleeping pills to spare them.) In the hours after Hiroshima, he yearned to get back to them, so when he heard rumors about trains leaving the city, he sucked up his strength and resolved to find one.

I was curious as I checked out page 56 to see exactly where this Hiroshima bombing survivor was heading to find his family. You’ll never guess where…well, you’ll have to read it to find out!

That’s it for another week. I think I’ll enjoy this one when I get around to reading it.


3 thoughts on “Book Beginnings and Friday 56 – The Violinist’s Thumb (August 24)

  1. I read his first book, The Disappearing Spoon, but it was way too scientific for my tastes. I held a giveaway for this book though because I still admired the writing from this author. I hope you enjoy this book!

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