Terry's Reviews > An Alchemy of Mind: The Marvel and Mystery of the Brain

An Alchemy of Mind by Diane Ackerman
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's review
Feb 23, 2008

really liked it
Read in February, 2008

Proving once again that I am not the fastest reader of nonfiction, I finally finished An Alchemy of Mind three months after starting it. That said, however, Diane Ackerman is one of the best writers out there--her use of language is gorgeous. I can't think of another writer (Sylvia Plath, maybe) with such a gift for sensuous imagery and playful language (Atonement was an attempt, but comes across as forced and overwritten by comparison).

Ultimately, it is a love of language and interesting anecdotes--Einstein's brain, the author being seriously injured while bird-watching in Japan, a Steve Martin quip, the appreciation of Shakespeare, the discovery of the world's smallest lizard--that I took away from this book more than an over-arching message, beyond that the brain is complex and fascinating. Still, a worthwhile read, for both its style and content.

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