It Isn’t Nice

Malvina_ReynoldsThe marvelous Malvina Reynolds tells it like it is.


Between the Lines Book Club: All About Cells

between the lines book club logoThis month we’ve been reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot. This story explains the importance of HeLa cells – ones which reproduce and survive seemingly endlessly from a single source. We’ll be discussing this book at Arden Dimick Library at 10:30 AM on April 28, 2018.

Here are ten triva facts about cells:

  1. Every living thing is made of cells.
  2. Every cell in the human body contains six to eight feet of DNA.
  3. The largest cell is an ostrich egg. The largest cell in the human body is egg cell (ovum). Other contenders for the title are giant squid nerve cells and some kinds of algae.
  4. The smallest cell is Mycoplasma genitaliumm a bacterium that causes sexually transmitted diseases in humans and increases their risk of getting HIV.
  5. There are more bacterial cells in the human body than there are human cells.
  6. The study of cells became possible with the invention of the microscope.
  7. Scientists guess that the human body contains about 37.2 trillion cells, but no one knows for sure.
  8. Microphages are a kind of cell that attacks foreign material. When you get a tattoo, microphages eat the ink, but they can’t break it down. Over time, those microphages die and new ones eat the leftover ink. So a tattoo is more of a process than a static object.
  9. A single-celled organism called Monocercomonoides is the first eukaryotic cell ever to lack mitochondria.
  10. 10. Getting the flu can cause men to end up (temporarily) with misshapen (but harmless) sperm cells. So…get your flu shots, guys!




Between the Lines Book Club: Henrietta Lacks movie

between the lines book club logoOur April Book Club pick is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot. We will be meeting on April 28. at Arden Dimick Library, from 10:30AM – 12.

In 2017, HBO released a movie version of The Immortal Life, starring Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne.

It’s on sale at and at iTunes, but is not currently available on Netflix or Hulu. Luckily it is available for free at the Sacramento Public Library!

Between the Lines Book Club: All About Rebecca!

between the lines book club logoThis month in Between the Lines Book Club we are reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot. We will discuss the book in person on April 28, 2018, at Arden Dimick Library.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a non-fiction book that tells three intertwined stories. One is a biography of a black woman named Henrietta Lacks. When Lacks died of cervical cancer, some of her cells were collected for resear uses. That cell line is unusually hardy, meaning HeLa cells have been used ever since Lack’s death, even in experiments in space.

The second story is that of the cells and how they have contributed to science. It’s also a story about ethics and consent in an era in which we can sequence a person’s genome.

The third story is about Lack’s family and their quest to know more about their mother and her cells. Rebecca Skloot spends a lot of time with the family helping them understand the science behind Lack’s cells. Today they continue efforts to encourage stricter practices with regard to consent.

One of the fun elements of Rebecca’s website is her FAQ page, in which she answers pretty much every question that I would think to ask. Should you care to peruse it, you’ll discover that she was kicked out of a lot of schools,

Rebecca has also given a lot of interviews. Here she is on NPR’s All Things Considered

Here she is on NPR again, this time on Fresh Air.

Just for fun, here’s Rebecca on the Colbert Report!

Between the Lines Book Club: Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

between the lines book club logoOur April Book Club pick is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot. I thought this book was amazing when I first read it so I was thrilled that Book Club voted it in. We will be meeting on April 28. at Arden Dimick Library, from 10:30AM – 12.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks combines science with history and biography in an accesible and intersting way. A HeLA cell is a cell taken from a cell line that has been incredibly durable – seemingly immortal. These cells all derive from cells taken from a Black woman, Henrietta Lacks, in 1951. The removal of the cells was done without Lack’s knowledge or permission, and her family has not benefitted

Skloot explains the science of the cells and why they are so important. She also examines the life of the woman the cells came from, and helps surviving members of Lack’s family understand what happened and why. The book was made into a movie of the same title, starring Oprah Winfrey, in 2017.


Between the Lines Book Club: Interviews With James Baldwin

between the lines book club logoWelcome to Between The Lines Book Club! This month’s selection is Go Tell It On The Mountain, by James Baldwin. We will meet to discuss the book at Arden Dimick Library, at 10:30AM, on March 24, 2018.

James Baldwin was a powerful speaker and he often gave interviews. If you haven’t read Go Tell It, these interviews will give you a sense of how Baldwin speaks (he has a distinctive literary and speaking cadence) and his views. Here are a few of his interviews and speeches:

Here is a lengthy interview in which Baldwin discusses sexuality

Here he is discussing his return from Europe to New York in 1962 in The Guardian

Here’s an interview from Esquire that was conducted in 1968, shortly after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

And finally, here are five great interviews on video.





The Stoic, by Emily Bronte

Portrait of Emily Bronte, by Branwell Bronte
A poem by Emily Bronte, for this season of rebellion, courtesy of

The Stoic

Riches I hold in light esteem,
And Love I laugh to scorn;
And lust of fame was but a dream,
That vanished with the morn:

And if I pray, the only prayer
That moves my lips for me
Is, “Leave the heart that now I bear,
And give me liberty!”

Yes, as my swift days near their goal:
’Tis all that I implore;
In life and death a chainless soul,
With courage to endure.