Vanguard Spotlight Book of the Month: April 2015

Monthly Reads from ASU-Beebe Students, Faculty and Staff.

Faculty/Staff/Student Favorites

Each month Abington Library will feature a favorite book from a faculty, staff member, or student. They will give a brief synopsis of their chosen book. All books featured are available for check-out at the library. 

Featured ASU-Beebe Faculty Member: L. Beth Farris


About Beth

L. Beth Farris is a Reading/Education Instructor at ASU-Beebe.

About the Book

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot


Henrietta Lacks is truly immortal!  Not being a ‘science lover’ I would never have chosen this book on my own, but it was recommended in a work shop I attended as a book that could stimulate much discussion in a classroom and allow for great written responses.  Intrigued, I checked out a copy and began reading.  It begins with the tumultuous story of a poor black tobacco farmer, Henrietta Lacks, but progresses as her cells--taken without her knowledge in 1951 – become one of the most important tools in medicine.  Her cells, HeLa cells, have been, and are still sold daily around the world in mass numbers and have been used in developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and much more. But Henrietta succumbs to her cancer and dies virtually unknown leaving a family who can’t even afford medical insurance.  The scientific discovery using her cells is fascinating even to a ‘non-science’ person, but even more are the struggles in one’s own mind of the ethics and racial and medical issues that are involved.  Even after Henrietta passes, her family struggles to know her and to understand how she was used and how it should affect them.  You won’t find the answers to all the questions that will arise in your mind as you read, but it will open your eyes to many questions you can ponder and discuss with others!

L. Beth Farris

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