Barbara Handelin, Isolating Her Literary Gene

Barbara Handelin

hide captionBarbara Handelin

Geneticist and bioethics expert Barbara Handelin is CEO of Kenna Technologies, a Pennsylvania company which makes biological simulations used for drug research and development. She also runs Handelin Associates, advising companies which use genetics and genomics how to create medicines and diagnostics. Recently, her work helped identify a gene that is most likely to be linked to early-onset osteoporosis.

She got a pile of books for her birthday this past spring, and she's still making her way through them. But she says her well-wishers understood her personality and her reading tastes.

Barbara Handelin's List:

The Patron Saint of Liars, by Ann Patchett. "It got me wondering whether there still are such homes for young women to go to and have their babies to give up to adoption. It's a little bit of having an experience through a book that I otherwise think I'm unlikely to ever have."

The Good Wife Strikes Back, by Elizabeth Buchan. "When I saw the title, I thought, Hmm. Trite. Sounds like it's gonna be a tongue-in-cheek chick book. In fact, this is a gem of a book, because Elizabeth Buchan has a woman's perspective on the fundamental emotional landscape that I think is common to many women: Marriage, having children, perhaps putting one's internal evolution and development on hold, until some later time in life."

Angle of Repose, by Wallace Stegner, is a personal favorite.

Handelin also has a 13-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son, so she's reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J.K. Rowling.

She says that through her children she has also come to enjoy the work of such young-adult novelists as Sharon Creach, Jerry Spinelli, and Richard Peck.

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