The BG has been musing about what to post at this time of year. People are distracted. The news from outside, never really “good”, is a lot worse this year as we find ourselves dragged into the quadrennial Romper Room known as the Presidential election. So, the only really good, safe, useful topic is ta..da..Books! So, here we go:
Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain,by Oliver Sacks, 367pp, Knopf, 1400040817. Everbody’s favorite clinical nerurologist tells more absorbing and amazing stories, and some of them are real eye-poppers, especially the one about the man struck by lightning, who apparently recovered and then found himself taken over by an obsession with the piano and I mean taken over.
Got a budding scientist on your hands? Got a sullen, surly, too-big-for-his(her)-britches but rather smart teen or pre-teen? Well, the folks at Science published a list of 17 good books on scientific topics any one of which might just jump-start a interest, or at least keep the little baggage quiet for a couple of hours. Nature has a big list also
Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain by Maryanne Wolf. Harper 978-0060186395 A lot of things have to go just right in order for us to read. Wolf is a neuropsychologist who tells what can go wrong, and how the whole thing works, maybe. We take a lot of things for granted, and we couldn’t get through the day without doing so, but still, it’s a good idea to pause and think about some of that stuff, and what our lives would be like if we couldn’t read.
Science for Sale: The Perils, Rewards, and Delusions of Campus Capitalism. Daniel S. Greenberg.viii + 324 pp. University of Chicago Press, 2007. $25 Greenberg is an experienced science reporter and this is an important topic, especially when you hear: “why can’t we run this place like a business?”
EINSTEIN by Walter Isaacson Simon And Schuster, Inc. / April, 2007 a new life of, well, you know.
THE REST IS NOISE: Listening to the Twentieth Century. By Alex Ross. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $30. How the 20th sounded, or better, how the composers living then made it sound. This is one of the NYTimes Best of 2007 titles, if that means anything to you.
THE LONG EMBRACE Raymond Chandler and the Woman He Loved By Judith Freeman, Pantheon Books. 353 pages. $25.95. Chandler was the Dean of California PI Noir, founding a genre that expanded from books onto radio, stage, screen and TV,and in the process creating an iconic character, Phillip Marlowe. Judith Freeman tracked him and his wife Cissy, through all 30 of their houses and apartments in LA, so if anybody knows about Raymond Chandler, she does.
The Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product that Defined America Allan M. Brandt. Basic Books; 704 pages; $36.You either have or haven’t been a smoker. Either way, this book may help us all.
Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance, by Atul Gawande Metropolitan Books, 273 pp., $24. Dr. Gawande writes for the The New Yorker, when he’s not operating on somebody. His previous book Complications; a surgeon’s notes on an imperfect science was well received and translated into German and Spanish, so far. He also spoke here in Gtown at a symposium sponsored by our Institute for the Medical Humanities.
OK, that makes ten. You should be able to find something there for yourself or for some bookish type on your list. I may be back with more, or maybe not. So toddle on up to your bookstore and strike a blow against prime time, politicians and Sunday Night Football. If I don’t see you, have a Merry and a Happy.