12 Following

Leah's Bookshelf

Likes: Horror, macabre, fairy tales, ghosts, hauntings, serial killers, zombies, werewolves, shapeshifters, vampires, time travel, orphans, clones, thrillers, classics, gothic


I like to read anything that tells a good story, duh ;) Genre doesn't really matter much but I tend to read dark fiction and fantasy the most. I skip chick lit and romance novels with a few exceptions for the extraordinary.


My ratings system:

5 stars - ADORED; plan to read over and over and over.

4 stars - ENJOYED; will likely read once or twice more.

3 stars - LIKED; may or may not read again ... someday.

2 stars - MEH; no plans to read again.

1 stars - I didn't enjoy the story and was lucky to finish.

0 stars - I couldn't or wouldn't finish for reasons that may or may not be listed in the review box.

Currently reading

The Oxford Book of American Short Stories
Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Henry James, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Washington Irving, Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, Ray Bradbury, Charlotte Gilman Perkins, Willa Carter, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Stephen Crane, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Katherine Anne Porter, Eudora Welty, Nath
Progress: 225/768 pages

The Spark of Life: Electricity in the Human Body by Frances Ashcroft

The Spark of Life: Electricity in the Human Body - Frances Ashcroft

Rating: 4 of 5


Okay, so I think I'll have to read The Spark of Life at least three or four more times to fully understand everything Ashcroft covered. It was fascinating to learn the history of electricity and I couldn't get enough of Chapter 9, "The Doors of Perception."


Even for non-scientists, like moi, there is much to learn from The Spark of Life despite its scientific terminology and explanations. What I loved most about the book was how much it made (is making) me think and wonder.


The freakiest part of the whole book was pages 309-311 when Ashcroft shared her desire for "a more intimate connection" between the brain and a computer. To paraphrase, she'd like the ability to physically connect her brain to a computer in order to instantly access memories and important information. She admits this is "currently only science fiction. But science fiction often has a way of becoming science fact." Anyone see this episode of X-Files? I'll pass, thank you very much.


Notes to self:


  • "Ion channels are truly the 'spark of life' for they govern every aspect of our behavior (p.5)."
  • Channel dysfunction is responsible for many diseases.
  • Luigi Galvani first discovered 'animal electricity' = galvanism
  • Thomas-Francois Dalibard, not Ben Franklin, was the first to demonstrate that lightning is an electrical discharge.
  • Alessandro Volta invested the first electric battery = volt (unit of electrical potential)
  • "We too are electrical machines and the electrical currents lie at the heart of life itself (p.33)."
  • Opposite charges attract one another. Similar charges repel. (p.36)
  • Electrical signal travels almost the speed of light: 186 million miles per second; nerve impulses at 0.07 miles per second. (p. 37)
  • Bioelectricity
  • Ion channels are the gatekeepers of the cell.
  • Queen of Poisons = aconite or aconitine which comes from monkshood (wolfsbane) a pretty plant with a tall spike of blue helmet-shaped flowers. (pp. 75-76)
  • Some species of rhododendron = grayanotoxin. Bees feed on those flowers, people eat those bees' honey = 'mad honey syndrome' (p.77)
  • "'The right dose differentiates a poison and a remedy' - Paracelsus (p.81).
  • "Electrical eel, torpedo (sting ray) (p.122)