I don't recommend books very often. Partly because writing books of my own cuts into my reading time, but mostly because rarely is one so remarkable that I feel the need to take to the streets to recommend it. But I'm about to post a 5-star review for Hope Jahren's Lab Girl, and I feel compelled to mention just how much I enjoyed it. Well-written, yes, which is key to a dymanite book. But this one's got a fascination factor rare in the world of books, even memoirs, which tend to milk the "look at this unique life I've lived" in a way that is almost never as interesting as it tries to be. But this book full-on made me want to be a scientist. It made me look at nature and plants and trees in a way I never have before. It made me feel not only that I was there, right along with Jahren as she built lab after lab, but also that I wanted to be there. And I'm really not sure what more a person could want from a book.
The whole notion of "summer reads" is dominated by chick lit, by stories of female protagonists escaping to the beach to contemplate their divorce or unearth secrets at family reunions or mend relationships with mothers and children. And maybe this is what most readers crave when they themselves escape to the beach to contemplate their own divorces and relationships. But if you're looking for a completely engrossing tale of an actual person who actually studies things that actually affect the world we live in, then this is your book. A truly remarkable read.