I haven’t published a book review in a while.  Not because I haven’t been reading, but rather I have been half-reading a number of books.  So, in leiu of the traditional full-on book review, I bring you a half-book review of the publications I am currently working my way through.  Here’s what’s on my nightstand.

1. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks 

By Rebecca Skloot

Being a former science nerd (some might include current), I am loving this read.  Henrietta Lacks, a cervical cancer patient at John’s Hopkins in 1951, unknowingly contributed to volumes of scientific research.  Her cancer cells, known as HeLa cells, were the first human cells to vigorously replicate in the lab leading to worldwide scientific development.  Author Rebecca Skloot brings us into the world of the real, live woman behind the HeLa cell, Henrietta Lacks.  Skloot interviews Henrietta’s spirited family exploring the hardships, ethical dilemmas and emotion surrounding this biological wonder.

Not so nerdy?  You’ll still love the book.

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2. Salt Sugar Fat

By Michael Moss

Guess how many pound of cheese the typical American eats in a year?  33 pounds according to author Michael Moss.  I’m constipated just thinking about it.  In Salt Sugar Fat, Moss uncovers the science and strategy behind what we really eat.  He divulges the clever ploys of food industry professionals to lure consumers to their products.  At halfway through this book, it’s going a bit slow, namely because most of us are already well aware of the not-so-hidden tactics employed by the food industry.  Although somewhat informative, Salt Sugar Fat has fallen to the bottom of my nightstand stack, for now.

3. The Innovator’s Prescription

By Clayton Christensen

Currently, the U.S. Healthcare System is ranked 37th in the world.  We fall behind country’s like Costa Rica and Columbia in delivering medical care to our citizens.  Our healthcare system is obviously broken and proposed changes are proving no better.  In The Innovator’s Prescription, Christensen lays out strategies to improve the U.S. healthcare system making medical care more accessible and affordable.  I’m still in the beginning pages of this read, but my husband tells me it’s overall excellent.  Perhaps Christensen’s strategies may just be the remedy for the critical condition of healthcare today.

4. Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients

By Ben Goldacre

Do you really know what you’re prescribing?  In Bad Pharma, Goldacre reveals how drug companies manipulate data allowing unsafe drugs to enter the system.  I must admit, I haven’t cracked this book open yet, it remains on my “To Do” list.  Based on The Economist’s rousing endorsement of Goldacre’s book, calling it “slightly technical, eminently readable, consistently shocking, occasionally hectoring and unapologetically polemical”, Bad Pharma’s status is quickly rising on my nightstand stack.

What’s on your nightstand?

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