I decided to read this one after reading The Brain that Changes Itself because it was on the same topic of neuro-flexibility. I think it is a reasonabI decided to read this one after reading The Brain that Changes Itself because it was on the same topic of neuro-flexibility. I think it is a reasonable book for those who want some guidance and inspiration for losing a few pounds. The focus was not a food plan or a specific style of eating, but rather on the cognitive distortions that might affect our endeavors to stay or become healthier. I think the main takeaway points for me was that things like exercise can help your brain function better, while things like sugar and bad fats can have a negative effect on your cognition. In that way, I suppose living unhealthily is a vicious cycle because your habits lead to mood problems and cognitive fuzziness and then that makes it harder to make good health decisions, etc. The cheery tone felt a little patronizing and annoying to me, but perhaps that was just because it is February and I'm not in the mood for cheery inspiration : ). I think the information is solid and if I followed the advice of the book I would be healthier and possibly more fit and "thin" (I dislike that word for some reason). I will probably choose a few things like having balance at every meal (adding more fruits and vegetables) and trying to increase my activity level in short bursts rather than trying to set aside an hour per day for exercise. ...more
I should probably know better than to read profiles of famous musical artists. It's always sort of a downer seeing the details of the drug use, serialI should probably know better than to read profiles of famous musical artists. It's always sort of a downer seeing the details of the drug use, serial romantic relationships, etc, especially if you like their music and their public personas. That being said, this was an interesting book that covers a pivotal year in music history. The Beatles were breaking up, Simon and Garfunkel and CSNY were forming and breaking up almost at the same time, and James Taylor was just getting his start. Some women musicians such as Joni Mitchell and Rita Coolidge are mentioned as their lives intersected with the key figures. ...more
Loved this book! I checked it out from the library, almost didn't read it, but am so glad I did pick it up before the return date. It was particularlyLoved this book! I checked it out from the library, almost didn't read it, but am so glad I did pick it up before the return date. It was particularly interesting to me as the mom of a teenager who had a stroke in infancy. The subject of the book is "neuroplasticity", the ability of the brain to adapt and change in various circumstances. The research is well documented, the stories are fascinating. You meet a woman born with only one hemisphere of her brain, and how she has compensated; a 90 year old man who is still learning new languages and having adventures; physician Ramachandran, who was able to diagnose and treat many amputees with phantom limb pain; and lots of other researchers and patients from the frontiers of neuropsychology.
I am going to have to research some of the programs mentioned in the book, like Fast ForWord that helps children improve their reading skills by incremental brain training.
I think this one will probably be a reread for the future. The style was good too; scholarly and solid without being too dry or technical.
I should add a warning though for the squeamish. There is a chapter on p+rn and SM that is fairly explicit. It is not gratuitous or smarmy -- the author is making a case that internet p+rn meets all the conditions for neuro-rewiring and that explains its addictive power and increasing use -- but there is a bit TMI for my squeam level. As for the SM, it is a case of "neurons that fire together wire together" -- it presents a statistic that many "M" types spent a lot of time in the hospital undergoing painful treatment as children. The case profile is of a man with cystic fibrosis. ...more
Generally speaking I liked this book. The beginning reminded me of Harry Potter and the first Series of Unfortunate Events, except without the humor oGenerally speaking I liked this book. The beginning reminded me of Harry Potter and the first Series of Unfortunate Events, except without the humor of the first and the slight snide edge of the second. Three children were taken away from their parents when only the oldest, Kate, was old enough to remember being told by her mother to look after her siblings Michael and Emma. They go from one orphanage to another, progressively worse, until after 10 years when they are sent to the strange desolate looking house of Professor Pym, where they turn out to be the only orphans. Soon they get caught up in a mystery involving a strange evil countess, a book with empty pages, a photograph-taking caretaker, a village with no children (and a scarred hero), dwarfs under a mountain, and time travel involving the Professor. There were battles and monsters and perils, and definitely magic and the typical plot development that the children are specially chosen with unique universe-saving powers. I am not sure what I think of the idea that all the universe's powers were somehow distilled into three books of power; perhaps that will be explained in later books in the series. Within the book it seemed like a plot device to me to pit good against evil. But if you can get past that and elements of magic and prophecy and so on, the book contains positive messages of family closeness and responsibility. Probably suitable for 9 and up. ...more
Sam is the apprentice to an elderly wizard whose unexpected death is followed by the descent of all his former apprentices on the cottage. Finding thaSam is the apprentice to an elderly wizard whose unexpected death is followed by the descent of all his former apprentices on the cottage. Finding that the wizards are skeptical of his claim to be Fairfield's last apprentice, Sam runs away with his dragon to avoid being set to work in the mines. He meets strange creatures, stays at a wizard's academy, tangles with a witch who tries to kill him, and begins to find out that he is chosen for some purpose he does not yet understand.
This book was billed for ages 8-up but I don't think I would give it to an 8 year old to read. For one thing, the plot was episodic and segued often to different viewpoints and locations without much warning. The chapters are interspersed with entries from an "apprentice notebook" that give more context about some of the elements of the story, like "roffles" and "memments" and magic wands.
The style and some of the content seemed geared more towards the YA audience than to the upper elementary set. The villainess was quite scary (eating beetles and torturing people) and there was a somewhat dark humor that again, seemed better geared towards an older audience.
Finally, the book is part of a "quartet" and ends on an unresolved note; it doesn't really stand on its own.
This being said, I enjoyed the book and thought it was promising in its approach. I feel like it wasn't quite enough of a complete story on its own for me to know if it is going to get better or worse as it goes on.
There was a considerable moral element and contrast between good, bad and wasteful/frivolous types of magic. The main character generally tried to do the right thing. I liked the idea that magic was to be used responsibly, not out of laziness or for one's own good. ...more