Book Review: The Genome Odyssey (ARC)

A photograph of the cover of The Genome Odyssey

Title: The Genome Odyssey: Medical Mysteries and the Incredible Quest to Solve Them

Author: Euan Angus Ashley, M.D.,Ph.D.
Source/Format: Celadon Books and BookishFirst; Paperback ARC
Publisher/ Release date: Celadon Books; (Expected) Feb 23, 2021

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

In The Genome Odyssey, Dr. Euan Ashley, Stanford professor of medicine and genetics, brings the breakthroughs of precision medicine to vivid life through the real diagnostic journeys of his patients and the tireless efforts of his fellow doctors and scientists as they hunt to prevent, predict, and beat disease.

Since the Human Genome Project was completed in 2003, the price of genome sequencing has dropped at a staggering rate. It’s as if the price of a Ferrari went from $350,000 to a mere forty cents. Through breakthroughs made by Dr. Ashley’s team at Stanford and other dedicated groups around the world, analyzing the human genome has decreased from a heroic multibillion dollar effort to a single clinical test costing less than $1,000.

For the first time we have within our grasp the ability to predict our genetic future, to diagnose and prevent disease before it begins, and to decode what it really means to be human. (read the rest on Goodreads)

What I Thought:

The Genome Odyssey by Dr. Euan Angus Ashley is a wonderful ride through the world of genome sequencing. How it can help the field of science/medicine, the patient, and the patient’s families. And finally, it shines a light on the life changing impact that genomics can have. I was excited to get into to this since I have heard about the Human Genome Project over the years. Spoiler alert: it did not let me down.

Early on in the book, readers get to know Ashley’s background as he becomes interested in medical field at an early age. Also introduced are the many colleagues that joined him and their quest together to sequence genomes. Everyone got some type of introduction, so it didn’t feel like it was just random name dropping. It was the same thing with the patients too. Right off the bat, I loved that it was not overloaded with pure medical and scientific terminology. It was informative but not overly simplified. There were often brief explanations, analogies, or a short overview of the history concerning each term. Additionally, Ashley relates back to the past when researchers didn’t know much about/couldn’t figure out exactly the disease their patients were suffering from. Slowly, but surely building up to how the genome sequencing helped solve those mysteries for patients of today.  This was a slower read for me, but I still enjoyed my time reading this. 

In the end The Genome Odyssey was an interesting and informative read. It combined past and present medical history, historical achievements, personal and patient stories, technology, and company startups among other things. With everything that’s in it, I’d say it’s a well-rounded book. If this sounds interesting to you, I recommend checking it out.

*I received this book from Celadon Books and BookishFirst for this review.

Thanks For Reading!

Book Review: Finding Freedom (ARC)

Title: Finding Freedom: A Cook's Story; Remaking A Life From Scratch
Author: Erin French
Source/Format: Celadon Books; Paperback ARC
Publisher/ Release date: 
Celadon Books; (Expected) Apr 6, 2021

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Synopsis from Goodreads:
From Erin French, owner and chef of the critically acclaimed The Lost Kitchen, a TIME world dining destination, a life-affirming memoir about survival, renewal, and finding a community to lift her up

Long before The Lost Kitchen became a world dining destination with every seating filled the day the reservation book opens each spring, Erin French was a girl roaming barefoot on a 25-acre farm, a teenager falling in love with food while working the line at her dad's diner and a young woman finding her calling as a professional chef at her tiny restaurant tucked into a 19th century mill. This singular memoir--a classic American story--invites readers to Erin's corner of her beloved Maine to share the real person behind the "girl from Freedom" fairytale, and the not-so-picture-perfect struggles that have taken every ounce of her strength to overcome, and that make Erin's life triumphant. (read the rest on Goodreads)

What I Thought:

Finding Freedom is Erin French’s story and journey about not only finding freedom, but also rediscovering  herself in the process. Ironically from Freedom, Maine, she found ways to overcome the storms of her life. And in doing so, she also made more friends and family along the way.

The first few pages open casually, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. French introduces the reader to herself while she is hard at work. In part one, she often went back and forth from her young adult life, to her time as a teen, and then to her childhood. This made it somewhat repetitive. However, subsequent chapters in each part (chronologically starting in part 2) pertained to specific events in her life. At this point the book flowed freely and at a better pace. Eventually, I found that it was hard to put down. And, before I knew it, I had finished it. 

In the end, Finding Freedom is a riveting yet inspiring memoir. French takes the reader through her trials and tribulations; sometimes feeling devoid of hope. Slowly, but surely, she takes back control of her life; and, most importantly, never stops dreaming. This memoir may make you laugh, cry, and hungry… very hungry. I recommend checking out Finding Freedom, especially if it seems interesting to you. Or maybe if you would like to know more about the woman behind The Lost Kitchen.

*I received this book from Celadon Books for this review.

Thanks For Reading!