A Recap of my Recent Readings

Hello everyone! I’ve spent the last few weeks delving into a variety of books– everything from The Hours to books on neuroscience.  I also read a collection of short stories (What We Talk about When We Talk About Anne Frank) and the lovely Revolutionary Road. 

Books I’ve read since I’ve last posted and my thoughts on them:

1. Sleights of Mind by Stephen Macknik:  As I start thinking about what I’m going to study in college, I’ve been reading about things that I think might interest me.  One of those things is neuroscience.  As someone with a mental illness, the brain has always been a magical place to me that needs to be explored.  I picked up this book at my local library.  Sleights of Mind explores the science behind magic tricks and what is says about how we perceive the world. Even though magic is not my most favorite thing, I found this book incredibly interesting.  What I loved the most is that the author of the book has set up this website that shows all the magic tricks he talks about.  As someone who doesn’t see magic shows that often, I found this resource rather helpful in understanding what he was talking about.  I highly recommend that website if you don’t feel like reading the book (even though you totally should read the book).

2. The Lopsided Ape by Michael Corballis: This was my second book on neuroscience that I read.  Much more science-y that Sleights of Mind, I often had to Google a few things in order to understand it.  Maybe that is the point of a good book, to make you have to look beyond the book in order to understand it.  This book follows the evolution of the human brain and explores language.  A central theme in this book is exploring what makes humans different from other animals.  This book also took me a few months to read, so thank you to everyone in Seminole County for not placing in on hold so I could renew it 500 times.

3. Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates: Oh, how I love the suburbs. Oh wait, just kidding.  To me, the central theme of Revolutionary Road is trying to break away from what everyone else is doing.  As someone living in the suburbs, I could empathize with the characters who were desperately trying to not get trapped in the monotony of suburban life.  Again, highly recommend to everyone.  It’s a rather easy read, and the writing is beautiful.

4. What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank by Nathan Englander: Short stories are the love of my life.  As someone with a short attention span at times and someone who falls asleep super early, short stories give me the opportunity to finish a story before I get bored or fall asleep. I have to admit I did not read every story in this collection.  I did love the title story, as I thought it was a fresh look on the Holocaust.  If you are looking for some different short stories to read, this might be the book for you.  It was not my favorite collection of stories; that goes to Tunneling to the Center of the Earth.

5. The Hours by Michael Cunningham: What. A. Book. Again, as someone with a mental illness, I could relate so much to Virginia Woolf’s fear of her mental illness returning.  I also love how three stories come together to form one smooth narrative.  Favorite quote: “But there are still the hours, aren’t there? One and then another, and you got through that one, and then, my god, there’s another.” There are so many little lines like that in this novel.  I also loved the part of the novel when it discusses the almost other-worldly aspect of hotels.  “By going to a hotel, she sees, you leave the particulars of your own life and enter into a neutral zone, a clean white room, where dying does not seem quite so strange.”

That’s all I’ve read since I’ve last updated.  I’m currently reading the following books: The Elegance of the Hedgehog, The Awakening, and The Brain that Heals Itself.  I’ll update you when I’m done. Until then, read on.

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A Recap of my Recent Readings

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