Thursday, March 18, 2010

"The Book That Petrified The President"

~ Tell us the title: The Cobra Event
~ Who penned this work?: Richard Preston
~ How did this piece find it's way to your nightstand?: I found it in a huge used bookstore in North Carolina back in October. I think it cost a dollar.
~ Number of pages: 432
~ Time passed from start to finish?: About four days
~ Describe the cover: I giant picture of a creepy looking eye. It makes sense if you read the story :)
~ In what section of the bookstore would a reader find this?: In the fiction section or possibly a science section if there is one.
~ Summary of the basic plot: A crazy man has created a new biological weapon (A recombinant virus consisting of a butterfly virus, smallpox, and something causing Lesch-Nyhan-like symptoms, if that's interesting to you) and is planning to release it into New York City. Several government agencies discover the virus when he tests it on individuals, and it's a race against time to find the man and stop him before he launches his weapon.
~ Background information on the story/author: Richard Preston also wrote The Hot Zone (about Ebola) and Demon in the Freezer (about smallpox). These were nonfiction stories, but The Cobra Event is fiction. He is well known for writing exciting nonfiction about diseases. He has a PhD in English. I'm not sure what his qualifications are for writing about science, but he is quite accurate.
~ What did you think of it? (your general response, what you liked or didn't like, what you learned, anything else you want to share about it): It was interesting, and alarming. What he presented seemed quite realistic and plausible. He provided background info throughout about bioweapons, that actually is nonfiction in nature. It was an interesting format for the book. I can't decide if it helped or slowed the whole thing down, however. (On a side note, if you don't know what Lesch-Nyhan syndrome is, look it up. It's a horribly horribly sad genetic disease, that hardly anyone knows about. It's research needs more funding.)
~ Which page was your favorite? Share why: Yeah...this isn't really that type of book.
~ If the story was made into a movie, who would you cast as the main characters?: Alice Austen would be Natalie Portman. Ashton Kutcher (think serious Ashton, not Punk'd Ashton) is Will Hopkins. Tommy Lee Jones would play Frank Masaccio. Beyond that, I'm not sure. Maybe Bill Pullman would be Mark Littleberry.
~ Share a quote that was worth reading twice. Explain why: Again, this wasn't really that kind of book, but I can use a quoted quote from within. "...hope is an expensive commodity. It makes better sense to be prepared." I know a lot of people may want to disagree with such a notion, but from the standpoint of bioweapons, it makes an awful lot of sense.
~ Choose your rating:
- Changed. My. Life.
- I laughed, I cried, I want you to read it
- A definite page-turner
- Good to check out but don't spend the cash.
- Why did I waste my weekend on this?
- A disgrace to paper everywhere
~ Flip to page 2, 22, or 202. Share the 7th sentence on the page: The other half of the monkeys lived, and remained healthy.

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