I’m back and ready to roll! I haven’t put up a post for almost two months now, and that last entry was really a cop-out ‘cos I just copy-pasted an image that was created by someone much more inspiring.
What kept me away for so long? Did I escape to some secluded tropical haven where I danced barefoot on scattered petals amongst pygmy natives, and dozed off each night basking in the reflexive waves of a foot massage? No, I did not (surprise). I’m not sure what exactly has distracted me for the last few weeks. First there were exams, and then there were holidays, and then I began my nine-week rotation in paediatrics, which involved getting up at 6am on Mondays and spending the rest of the week in a happy stupor. I got to know a lovely new group of fellow students, comforted wailing babies and felt all mushy about it, and met a whole spectrum of parents, from Totally Chilled to Terrifying. I’m pretty sure that paediatrics isn’t for me, but it was an interesting rotation nevertheless =)
Other than that, someone special has gone overseas for six weeks. This has left me a little mope-y and in need of lots of distractions. Fortunately, there are only 14 days until he returns. That’s 336 hours. Or 20,160 minutes. Or 1,209,600 seconds. It has been a slooooow month.
What I’ve been reading lately…
The Mind’s Eye – Oliver Sacks
Where I got this book: Dymocks, Collins Street, Melbourne
I discovered Oliver Sacks three years ago when I read The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat. How could I resist such a book? It had a quirky title, and it was about neurology. The Mind’s Eye is Sacks’s latest publication, and continues in much the same format. He describes, in fascinating detail and with compassion, several of his own patients with intriguing neurological dilemmas: a concert pianist who loses her ability to read music and eventually to recognise objects; a novelist who has a stroke and loses his ability to read but not to write; a woman who becomes unable to speak; a scientist who has never seen in 3D but suddenly acquires this ability in mid-life.
A large part of the book focuses on vision, particularly stereoscopy, or 3D vision, and how we develop it. For the first time, Sacks’s also talks about his own journey: firstly, his prosopagnosia or inability to recognise faces, and then his experience of being diagnosed with eye cancer and the loss of visual faculties that followed.
The Mind’s Eye is both moving and intellectually fascinating. He explains neural mechanisms with clarity and without overcomplicating the story. His writing is consistently articulate, compassionate and stimulating. For those who are intrigued by the brain.
The Boy Who Was Raised As a Dog – Bruce D. Perry
Where I got this book: The Book Depository, online.
This is an amazing book. It was recommended to me by my dear friend J. “Dong” Chae, who told me it was in fact discovered by his girlfriend, Linda. I love how good books get passed along on an irrepressible wave of…goodness.
Bruce D. Perry is a child psychiatrist who has worked for many years with victims of trauma and abuse. In this book he tells the stories of a number of children who have changed and shaped the way he practises. Some of these stories are horrific: murder witnesses, sexual abuse victims, severely neglected children, genocide survivors. Perry tells their tales with immense insight and compassion. Not only that, he explains what happens to the brain when it is put under extreme stress and the vital importance of nurture–touch, language, care, affection–in the first few years of life. So crucial is this nurture that it can mean the difference between a humane member of society, and a psychopathic killer. I think this book would be a moving and insightful read for parents, future parents and anyone who works with children.
That’s all for today, folks! Fiction reviews to come in the next couple of posts. Enjoy your weekends, eat that extra slice of pie, dance like a madman to the radio, and tell everyone you love that you love them!