Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “From Words to Brain” as Want to Read:
From Words to Brain
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

From Words to Brain

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  57 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
What is it that transforms a page full of words into an experience that moves us and leaves us changed?

Livia Blackburne explores this cognitive process, from its objective beginnings on the page to the reader’s personal investment in the story.

The essay, which combines scientific expertise and a flair for storytelling, weaves together current results from cognitive psychol
Kindle Edition, 100 pages
Published December 17th 2010 by 40k
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about From Words to Brain, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about From Words to Brain

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Complimenti alla giovane ricercatrice per il tentativo di rendere comprensibili, attraverso la fiaba di Cappuccetto Rosso, concetti tutt'altro che semplici riferiti a funzioni del cervello umano che di semplice non ha niente.
Mi sentirei di commentare con una sintesi soprattutto a mio uso e consumo.

I prodotti dell'immaginazione, sia che si concretizzino negli oggetti che l'uomo costruisce, sia le rappresentazioni mentali astratte simboliche, come per esempio i caratteri della scrittura e più ge
Jan 04, 2011 Victoria rated it it was amazing

“From words to brain” covers just that – how our brains process the stories we read and the steps and processes that occur as we do so.

Reading is a complex cognitive process, this essay/story conveys it easily. Using the tale ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, we’re lead through a series of explanations of how we read, but most importantly what’s happening in our brains when we do so. From the first steps of reading, (e.g. recognition of a letter/visual processing), to how authors manage to evoke empath
Clarissa Draper
Dec 26, 2010 Clarissa Draper rated it it was amazing
Shelves: textbooks
My Thoughts: I don't normally read scientific papers but the subject of how humans read and interpret stories fascinates me. So, I read it. There is a lot of interesting information in the paper.

For instance, humans are "not born with a reading reflex". We have a need to eat and sleep but we don't have a need to read. However, when we learn the task of reading, "our brains become so adept at this skill that it becomes as reflexive as seeing itself".

Scientists have also found a brain region that
Steve Wales
Dec 28, 2010 Steve Wales rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who reads!
Recommended to Steve by: Livia Blackburne
A fascinating essay describing how our brains process reading and covering a wide variety of topics along the way. How do marks on a piece of paper turn into images in our minds? How did interpreting these marks become a man-made reflex? How does a story provide a lesson or moral? Do people get the same message from the same story? This is the sort of subject where all the answers give rise to more questions and this very readable book takes you through a lot of them in quite a short space, usin ...more
Dec 19, 2010 Amitha rated it it was amazing
See my review on my website.
Bill Davis
Jul 27, 2011 Bill Davis rated it it was amazing

Livia Blackburn’s ebook From Words to Brain is a fascinating bit of reading… about reading.

For those of us from literate societies, reading is a given. It’s easy. It even seems effortless. But the processes going on in our brain while we read are actually quite complex. We never even imagine what has to happen to turn the visual input of letters on a page or screen into a narrative which entertains, excites, frightens or pleases us while challenging or reinforcing moral values.

But it happens. In
Dec 18, 2010 Giuseppe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Consueto appuntamento bisettimanale in cui presento le nuove uscite e cerco di spiegare perchè le ho scelte. Come al solito, prendetela con beneficio di inventario: in fondo è l'oste che parla del suo vino.


Sempre in tema profondamente bibliofilo, il saggio di Livia Blackburne esplora quello che le neuroscienze sanno della lettura o, per dirla da un altro punto di vista, racconta la scrittura creativa esaminata attraverso il modo in cui il nostro cervello elabora gli escamotage narrativi. Li
Saggio ambizioso che si propone di spiegare i meccanismi di lettura dalla comprensione delle parole fino all'elaborazione dei testi letti.
Le varie fasi di comprensione sono delineate facendo uso della nota fiaba "Cappuccetto Rosso"; trovo che questo faciliti la comprensione del saggio anche perchè la fiaba è molto nota, quindi il lettore non deve concentrarsi sulla trama in sè (che conosce) ma sul significato delle parti scelte rispetto al livello di comprensione che viene delineato nel paragraf
Anna Bastow
Feb 17, 2014 Anna Bastow rated it it was amazing
This is a must read for every writer and reader. I always said that reading is 30% authors intentions and 70% readers interpretation. But this books uses science to show and proof how the experience of storytelling has to be different and gives perspective to all the critiques and review we do and read. Really illuminating.
Livia Blackburne
Dec 18, 2010 Livia Blackburne added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-by-me
Technically, I didn't actually read this, cuz it's in Italian. But I wrote it, so I think I know what it says...
Jennifer Ramsey
This essay looks at how the brain processes words on the page from the initial act of reading through comprehension and memory. It is an easy read even for people without much background in science. I would have liked to see more detail and application to writing as well as reading, but deepening the science would have made the book less readable for the general public. There are some peer-reviewed citations available and I look forward to reading those.
Miguel Panão
Aug 13, 2016 Miguel Panão rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Livia makes several interesting points about the effect of words in our brain, using state-of-art research. However, I was expecting a more persuasive argument for the advantages of reading from the brain health point of view. Are there any?
to read
Mar 30, 2012 Mike rated it it was ok
Short, basic but interesting, well written. If you have an interest in language, literature, and (very basic) neuroscience you'll likely enjoy it.
Liviaf rated it really liked it
Apr 01, 2011
Cirox rated it really liked it
Apr 04, 2011
Adelaide rated it really liked it
Oct 17, 2015
Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Jan 05, 2011
Kelsey rated it it was ok
Mar 15, 2017
Ernesto rated it it was ok
Aug 31, 2011
Suzie Quint
Suzie Quint rated it really liked it
Sep 03, 2012
Alessandro Bonino
Alessandro Bonino rated it really liked it
Apr 06, 2011
Edmondo rated it it was ok
Dec 13, 2011
Effe rated it liked it
Jan 07, 2011
WowEffect rated it it was amazing
Sep 20, 2013
Carlotta Borasio
Carlotta Borasio rated it really liked it
Aug 06, 2013
Laura_c rated it it was amazing
Feb 01, 2011
Cheryl rated it really liked it
May 03, 2015
Jella Erhard
Jella Erhard rated it it was amazing
Nov 17, 2014
Dn rated it really liked it
Oct 02, 2014
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
New York Times bestselling author Livia Blackburne wrote her first novel while she was a PhD student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she conducted research on the neuroscience of reading acquisition in children. Upon graduation, she switched to writing full time, which also involves getting into people’s heads but without the help of a three tesla MRI scanner.
More about Livia Blackburne...

Share This Book

“The process doesn’t end there. Stories are more than just images. As you continue in the tale, you get to know the characters, motivations and conflicts that make up the core of the story. This requires more parts of the brain. Some parts process emotion. Others infer the thoughts of others, letting us empathize with their experiences. Yet other parts package the experience into memories for future reflection” 10 likes
More quotes…