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Marilee J. Layman

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03:35 pm: An Alchemy of Mind by Diane Ackerman -- only read 1/3 through
Yes, the same author as the last book, and entirely by accident. The Zookeeper's Wife was widely recommended and I went on the library queue at 48 a few months ago. An Alchemy of Mind had been read by the husband of a friend and he liked it and since I like reading about the mind, I put in a request for it (to get it to my library -- both copies were at the opposite ends of the county) and it came in a couple days after the other and I picked them up at the same time. I hadn't even realized they were the same author until I got into the car and I checked the back flap copy to be sure -- same picture.

This is a popular science book and I don't read a lot of those. It's divided into ways the brain/mind works and includes science (from 2004, since it was published in 2005) and anecdotes and allegories. My problems with it were 1) that I keep up with brain science so I actually knew more in some areas than the book included, and b) the anecdotes and allegories were all about her. I don't mind good first person and she writes it well, but the anecdotes and allegories all felt too personal. Too intimate. More than I wanted to know about her. And then she believes in ESP and that humans probably had telepathy earlier and most of us lost it.

I went to read it more last night and realized I wasn't looking forward to it, so I put it back and started on the current Asimov's. I'm clearly not the customer for this book, but others may be.



[User Picture]
Date:April 27th, 2008 09:41 am (UTC)
Diane Ackerman seems kind of inconsistent; I loved one of her books and strongly disliked the next. (Don't remember the titles of either one at this point.)
Date:April 27th, 2008 12:57 pm (UTC)
Diane Ackerman is one of the writers–like Bertrand Russell–who can seduce me into reading about things I'm not interested in or that I disagree with because I just love the way she puts words together. However, I think I'll probably skip _The Zookeeper's Wife_. It sounds much too painful.

Mary Anne in Kentucky
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