Welcome to bookchat where you can talk about anything...books, plays, essays, and books on tape.  You don’t have to be reading a book to come in, sit down, and chat with us.

1 Challenge Books 003

I read a lot of different kinds of books basically because I am curious about all sorts of things.  I have so many questions all the time.  I am also curious about why I am so curious.  Where does this hunger to know things come from?  

As I read, the answer to some questions generates even more questions.  I have been known to read one book and then read twenty to two hundred more because I am on the hunt for answers.  One thing leads to another.  

When I was teaching students to write good research reports, I broke the assignment down into several parts.  I asked them to list things they were curious about.  Another part of the report was to write down ten questions they had about their subject.  It seemed to me that it is important to hunt for answers rather than to just write down the usual dry encyclopedia, in-one-ear-and-out-the-other stuff that ends up being called a report.

Of course, many of my students just couldn’t do what I considered to be the easiest part.  They didn’t have questions about their favorite subject.  They just wanted to write down what they could find in general and let it go.

I have been interested in the brain for many years.  I was sent to a two day conference on right brain, left brain as it might enhance my teaching and I really enjoyed what I learned.  So many things now make sense.  My hubby and kids all begged me to stop talking about it after a day or so.  I think that this conference did explain my curiosity.

According to Bernice McCarthy, I am a #4 quadrant, an “If” learner and right-brained.
I am good at Modifiying, Adapting, Risking, and Creating.  

Bernice McCarthy started 4MAT and here are some sites that tell more about what I learned so long ago.




YouTube with Bernice


What jump-started me on the topic again was reading the book My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor.  Many people have recommended Jill’s book and I had put it off because my sister had a stroke at the age of 46 five years ago and I was still struggling with all that happened.  My sister was able to go home and is living independently and is doing well.

Finally, I bought the book and I am really glad I did.  Jill’s stroke was completely different than my sister’s, but the book is still very helpful.  Jill’s left brain was completely flooded with blood and so for a while her right side was in charge so Jill writes quite a bit about what that means and how we use that side.  Of course, we need both sides of the brain, but they are really very different.

Wiki says:


Jill Bolte Taylor (born 1959 in Louisville, Kentucky) is a neuroanatomist - a brain scientist who studies the anatomy of the brain. Her training is in the postmortem investigation of the human brain as it relates to schizophrenia and the severe mental illnesses. She just started the Jill Bolte Taylor Brains, Inc not-for-profit and she is affiliated with the Indiana University School of Medicine and is the national spokesperson for the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center. Her personal experience with a massive stroke, experienced in 1996 at the age of 37, and her subsequent eight-year recovery, has informed her work as a scientist and speaker. For this work, in May 2008 she was named to Time Magazine's 2008 Time 100 list of the 100 most influential people in the world. "My Stroke of Insight" received the top "Books for a Better Life" Book Award in the Science category from the New York City Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society on February 23, 2009 in New York City.

On December 10, 1996, Taylor woke up to discover that she was experiencing a stroke. The cause proved to be bleeding from an abnormal congenital connection between an artery and a vein in the left hemisphere of her brain, an arteriovenous malformation (AVM). Three weeks later, on December 27, 1996, she underwent major brain surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) to remove a golf ball-sized clot that was placing pressure on the language centers in the left hemisphere of her brain…

Following her experience with stroke, Taylor wrote the best-selling book My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey, about her recovery from the stroke and the insights she has gained into the workings of her brain because of it.

Jill on YouTube:


Several years ago, I read In an Instant: A Family's Journey of Love and Healing, a memoir about Bob Woodruff’s recovery after brain trauma received in Iraq.

Wiki says:


Robert Warren "Bob" Woodruff (born August 18, 1961) is an American television journalist. His career in journalism dates back to 1989, and he is widely known for succeeding Peter Jennings as co-anchor of ABC News' weekday news broadcast, World News Tonight in December 2005. A month later, he was critically wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq.

On January 29, 2006, Bob Woodruff and Canadian cameraman Doug Vogt were seriously injured in an explosion from an improvised explosive device near Taji, Iraq, about 12 miles (19 km) north of Baghdad.

At the time of the attack, they were embedded with the U.S. 4th Infantry Division, travelling in an Iraqi MT-LB. Woodruff and Vogt were standing with their heads above a hatch, apparently filming a stand-up. Both men were wearing body armor and protective helmets at the time. Woodruff sustained shrapnel wounds; Vogt was struck by shrapnel in the head and suffered a broken shoulder. Both men underwent surgery for head injuries, with a joint Army & Air Force neurosurgical team, at the U.S. Air Force hospital south of Balad, located in Camp Anaconda, and were reported to be in stable condition. Tom Brokaw reported on the Today show that Woodruff had also undergone surgery, with a portion of his skull being removed to reduce the damage from brain swelling.

Woodruff and Vogt were evacuated to the U.S. Army's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany overnight on Sunday, January…

After leaving Germany, Woodruff was treated for weeks at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland.

Woodruff was kept in a medically induced coma for 36 days to assist his recovery, and ABC News temporarily assigned Good Morning America anchors Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer to alternate duties on the evening newscast as co-anchor with Vargas. Vogt meanwhile was reported to be awake, mobile, and recovering.

As of March 7, 2006, Woodruff's brother reported that the ABC anchor was beginning to walk, recognize friends and family, and speak in several languages. However, he struggled with expressive aphasia for more than a year after the injury. Woodruff was transferred on March 16, 2006, to a medical facility closer to his Westchester County, New York, home, a sign of "continued progress in all respects", ABC News President David Westin said in an e-mail to staffers. Westin's email noted that Woodruff was able to get around, talk to and joke with his family, but that "months of further recuperation" were still required.

More about Bob:


I am reading Remembering the Music, Forgetting the Words: Travels with Mom in the Land of Dementia by Kate Whouley.

I also have Pat Barker’s Regeneration Trilogy on my TBR pile:

Regeneration Trilogy:

Regeneration (1991)
The Eye in the Door (1993)
The Ghost Road (1995)


The first book of the Regeneration Trilogy and a Booker Prize nominee

In 1917 Siegfried Sasson, noted poet and decorated war hero, publicly refused to continue serving as a British officer in World War I. His reason: the war was a senseless slaughter. He was officially classified "mentally unsound" and sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital. There a brilliant psychiatrist, Dr. William Rivers, set about restoring Sassoon's "sanity" and sending him back to the trenches. This novel tells what happened as only a novel can. It is a war saga in which not a shot is fired. It is a story of a battle for a man's mind in which only the reader can decide who is the victor, who the vanquished, and who the victim.

More about Pat:


I have read the Oliver Sacks story The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and there are many more books by him that would be good to read.

Another good book about how the brain reacted that I found fascinating:

Crashing Through: A True Story of Risk, Adventure, and the Man Who Dared to See by Robert Kurson


Mike May spent his life crashing through. Blinded at age three, he defied expectations by breaking world records in downhill speed skiing, joining the CIA, and becoming a successful inventor, entrepreneur, and family man. He had never yearned for vision. Then, in 1999, a chance encounter brought startling news: a revolutionary stem cell transplant surgery could restore May’s vision. It would allow him to drive, to read, to see his children’s faces. But the procedure was filled with gambles, some of them deadly, others beyond May’s wildest dreams. Beautifully written and thrillingly told, Crashing Through is a journey of suspense, daring, romance, and insight into the mysteries of vision and the brain. Robert Kurson gives us a fascinating account of one man’s choice to explore what it means to see–and to truly live.
Wiki says:


In 2003, three years after May's eye operation, the results were mixed. In terms of challenges, May reported being unable to grasp three-dimensional vision and to recognize members of his family by their faces alone.

The effect of visual loss affects the development of the visual cortex of the brain—the visual impairment causes the occipital lobe to lose its sensitivity in perceiving spatial processing. Sui and Morley (2008) proposed that following seven days of visual deprivation, a potential decrease in vision may occur. They also found an increasing degree of visual impairment following thirty-day and 120-day periods of deprivation. The Sui and Morley study suggests that the function of the brain is dependent upon visual input.

May lost his eyesight at the age of three when his vision was not fully developed; he was not yet able to distinguish shapes, drawings, or images clearly. Consequently, it was anticipated that he would experience difficulty describing the outside world in comparison to a normal-sighted person. For example, it would be difficult for May to differentiate between complex shapes, dimensions, and the orientation of objects. Hannan (2006) hypothesized that the temporal visual cortex uses prior memory and experiences to make sense of shapes, colors, and forms. Hannan proposed that the long-term effect of blindness in the visual cortex is an inability to recognize spatial cues.

At three years of age, May's vision had still not reached the acuity of an adult person; as a consequence, his brain was still not completely exposed to the full extent of clarity in relation to the images and light of the environment. Such impairment led to difficulties with regards to normal daily life. Cohen et al. (1997) suggested that early blindness causes the poor development of the visual cortex, with a resulting decrease in somatosensory development. Cohen's study proposed that May's long term blindness affects his ability to distinguish between faces of males and females, and to recognize pictures and images. In spite of the surgery on May's right eye, his newly regained vision is not fully recovered after forty years of blindness. Thinus-Blanc and Gaunet (1997) suggest that people who are blind early in life show a limited ability in the area of spatial representation. The impairment of May's visual cortex, due to the loss of his vision at a very early age, resulted in visual cortex cells that are not accustomed to the stimuli in his surroundings.

However, Cohen et al. (1997) have proposed that, during their early years, blinded subjects develop a strong inclination for tactile discrimination tasks. Similarly, May has developed very precise senses of hearing and touch.

Book Discussion on Crashing Through
Jun 7, 2007


Robert Kurson talked about his book Crashing Through: A True Story of Risk, Adventure, and the Man Who Dared to See, published by Random House.


Where has your curiosity led you?  Did you go from one book to another?  

Diaries of the Week:

Write On! discord and libraries
by SensibleShoes

Thursday Classical Music, Opus D106: Ralph Vaughan Williams: Norfolk, Tallis and Lark
by Dave in Northridge

A new book is coming out:

My first book has Daily Kos on the cover
by Mysoreback

Last week, Mysoreback, left a message:

Hello book lovers,

My first book should be out around 25th Feb. It is titled " I Married My Cousin" and is a set of 20 personal narratives.

It is a mishmash of my personal experiences, things I want to do before I die, College admission, the Hindu religion, fitness, cricket, etc.

I also took two small diaries I had written here and used it for the book.

I was able to get Markos's permission to add the DailyKos logo (mast head?) on my book cover. It also has a narrative dedicated to DailyKos bloggers and Markos.

I am excited as am done with the editing and need to do the formatting and conversion to ePUB and Mobi next week.

It has been a hard slog over the last 3 months to get it done and now the "marketing" starts. Hopefully a few Kossacks wont mind the $2.99 price and get some insight in to the Indian way of life.

All proceeds go to a charity in India.

by Mysoreback on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 05:48:50 AM EST

NOTE: plf515 has book talk on Wednesday mornings early

Originally posted to Readers and Book Lovers on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 05:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Progressive Friends of the Library Newsletter.


What is your favorite way of being creative?

4%1 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
4%1 votes
8%2 votes
39%9 votes
0%0 votes
8%2 votes
8%2 votes
0%0 votes
4%1 votes
8%2 votes
4%1 votes
4%1 votes
4%1 votes

| 23 votes | Vote | Results

Your Email has been sent.