Month: March 2017

Tales from Both Sides of the Brain: A Life in Neuroscience

Tales from Both Sides of the Brain: A Life in NeuroscienceTales from Both Sides of the Brain: A Life in Neuroscience by Michael S. Gazzaniga

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Michael Gazzaniga is one of leading researchers in cognitive neuroscience and is especially known for his split brain research studying patients who have had their corpus callosum severed leaving the two hemispheres of their brains unable to directly communicate with each other. So that’s really interesting, but it could also be really dry. Luckily, Gazzaniga is an engaging writer in addition to being a notable scientist. In this book he wraps his personal journey around the science in such a way that the book is surprisingly enjoyable. I listened to it on audio and Johnny Heller does an excellent job reading it. Anyone interested in neuroscience or life in the sciences would enjoy this book. I certainly did.

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Raven Black

Raven Black (Shetland Island, #1)Raven Black by Ann Cleeves

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. It diverged from the TV series just enough to keep me interested. I have to say I like the Perez of the TV show more than I like the Perez of the book, but the book Perez was still interesting. I miss the dynamic of him with his step-daughter that you get in the TV show. Gordon Griffin does a good job narrating. He has a really good voice that’s perfect for the story.

I was particularly struck by a comment at the end of the book. Perez is talking about two 16-year-old girls. He says, “They were drinking, not a lot. They each had a bottle of wine, but it was enough to get them talking.”

Wow. An entire bottle of wine each seems like a lot to me. I don’t know if that says more about me than it does about Ann Cleeves or perhaps just the character of Perez or something she’s trying to say about the Shetland people and their drinking, but it definitely stuck in my head. I enjoyed The Crow Trap, the first of Ann Cleeves Vera books, more but this is still worth a read.

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Hard Choices

Hard ChoicesHard Choices by Hillary Rodham Clinton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After reading Madeline Albright’s book about being Secretary of State last year, I became fascinated with how foreign policy is conducted by the United States. Albright is the better writer, but both books are well worth reading. I think I’ll read Condoleezza Rice’s book next to cover all the female Secretaries of State before moving on to the men.

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The Centrist Manifesto

The Centrist ManifestoThe Centrist Manifesto by Charles Wheelan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you feel like our current two party system is too partisan and no longer getting reasonable legislation accomplished, then this book is for you. Charles Wheelan lays out a sensible plan for a third party that would hold the middle ground and bring reasoned governance back to the United States. This is not a plan for a fringe party, but a plan for a party for the way most Americans think and his primary focus is the senate, where gerrymandering and primaries have less influence because the entire state votes. This is a short, concise, and sensible book. If you’re tired of the status quo, read it.

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Doctor Strange, Vol 1: The Way of the Weird

Doctor Strange, Vol. 1: The Way of the WeirdDoctor Strange, Vol. 1: The Way of the Weird by Jason Aaron

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I didn’t know a lot about Doctor Strange when I read the Marvel Masterworks about him earlier this year, and it didn’t impress me. To be fair I decided to give this updated version a try. I’m glad I did. The writing was excellent and the art was great. I enjoyed it enough that I’m probably going to read the follow up book.

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The Princess Diarist

The Princess DiaristThe Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Carrie Fisher is one of my favorite writers. I really enjoyed this book, especially the beginning which is written in the voice I’m accustomed to her writing in. It was a little more difficult reading the actual diary entries, not because they weren’t well written, they were, but they were also so tragic. It’s heart wrenching in the way that only a young woman in a bad relationship can be. This is a good read but I prefer her other memoirs and fiction. On the other hand, if you want to know about her and Harrison during the filming of Star Wars: A New Hope, this is your book.

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