I've been sampling some titles from my TBR shelf, no commitments, no expectations, just open it up to page one and start reading. If the story 'takes' then great, I'll keep reading. But if it doesn't, then I'll put it down and move on through my shelf to the next book. Sometimes, when I'm not quite ready to make a commitment, I'll have a pile of three or four promising possibilities on the go. This last week I had such a pile.
I started with Diane Ackerman's An Alchemy of Mind which is totally interesting but reads more like a 250 page National Geographic article. It's so packed with scientific facts and studies and anecdotes about the brain that I couldn't digest it all without a little something in between to *cleanse the palette*. So I ventured into travelogue territory with a travel writer I've often enjoyed, Pico Iyer, and his Video Nights in Kathmandu. Ehn, too dated. And he's not as engaging as I remember him. After about 25 pages I finally had to retire him back to the shelf, same with Falling Off the Map. Normally I love a travelogue, and normally I like anything Pico Iyer writes but I just wasn't in the mood. So then I tried some fiction. I picked up a copy of The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor, a 70s era 'novel in seven stories' about a neighborhood community of African American women. Her writing is lovely and the stories moving, but it all felt a little too 70s cliche for me. Thirty-plus years is too recent to be 'historic' and too distant to be 'current'.
Anywhoo, I'm back down to one book, Alchemy of Mind, which I'm trying to finish up without my head exploding.
'Even at the cellular level we're a mosaic. A self is a powerful sleight of mind arising from 100 billion neurons communing at 100 trillion synaptic bridges.' pg 121
'World is all sensation, more that we can register in a lifetime, let alone a moment. Rather than drown in a sea of incoming information, the body uses assorted sieves. The hypothalamus filters sensory news from the body to the brain. The caudate nucleus, lying beneath the cerebral cortex, is thought to filter extraneous impulses and thoughts - some think it may malfunction in people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, allowing in thoughts and impulses usually filtered out.' pg 169
See what I mean? Fascinating. Boggling.