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Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside

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Firlik reveals how she became and neurosurgeon and why. Her writing illustrate her contempt for drunk drivers, smokers and those who choose not to wear safety belts. She has managed to beautifully adapt to seeing heart-breaking cases day in and day out.some favorite passages;"I do understand the emotions of those who would oppose such use of rodents in medical research, but I am swayed far more by the emotions of a family gathered around the bedside of a stroke victim, wondering why nothing more could be done.Our journals are roughly divided into two major sections: clinical papers, based on real patients, and laboratory research papers, which are often laced with super-specialized jargon. The latter is the less popular section. I had an interesting conversation with the editor of one of these esteemed neurosurgery journals several years ago. He admitted that even he didn’t understand many of the laboratory research papers, but they certainly looked impressive in the journal, and that was important.While the hospital became my home during the worst stretches of my residency, even the smallest forays out into society got me all excited. I absolutely loved going to the grocery store. Here were all sorts of people around me, not immediately worried about their health, exercising their freedom to walk up and down the aisles with no care other than what type of ice cream they wanted to buy. That was beautiful.It’s clear that the brain can accommodate quite nicely to the overbearing presence of a malformation, but can the mind be trained to accommodate just as well? When inaction is the best action, how do you prevent fear itself from becoming an illness? Does the fear simply wear out, or does it have to be forced out?Most people believe in religious teachings simply because they were brought up with them from an early age, not because they critically examine the fundamentals and concluded that they made sense. Culture and tradition often trump good common sense. From the view-point of a Nature-based believer, then, traditional religion can lead to false hope or false comfort starting at an early age. Think of the ramifications. How many people sell themselves short on life because they expect great things after death? Life is not a dress rehearsal. You have to enjoy it, make the most of it, while your neurons are still buzzing with live connections.At first I was incredulous—the explanation was too simple—but then I realized that it all made sense. If you mess with a kid’s sleep every night, year after year, she’s going to become a certain type of person. The disease will actually mold her. If you fix the disease, then the true person, submerged for so long in a fog of seizures and chronic sleep deprivation, can finally blossom into her true self.
The Name of the Wind

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I completely enjoyed and adored this book. It's humor and morality...it's casual tone...it's magical realism. This is the kind of book I love - with a well shaped story and fallible and lovable characters. I really could have used a name pronunciation guide.
A Game of Thrones: The Story Continues Books 1-4: A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire)

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I would have never persevered if DH hadn't asked me to read this so he could discuss it. Martin is a screenwriter which makes him excellent at drawing pictures with words. It's pretty hard to believe that he's a guy because of the long detailed and drawn out descriptions of clothing. I found the device of every chapter being from a different character's viewpoint extremely annoying -- by the time I'd gotten back to that thread of the story I no longer cared and had forgotten the impending peril at the end of that character's last chapter. Mr. Martin is fond of putting beloved protagonists in an impossible situation at the end of a chapter and then going on to describe a feast in detail or something such like. He's a great plotter and story-maker upper but the writing is a bit fake Shakespeare-ish. Can't he find another synonym for cowardly besides 'craven'? And I'm scratching my head about the impossibly high 'unmortared' walls, huh? What redeems these stories is the unwavering sense of morality. Good and bad are clearly delineated and the plot is mapped to a satisfying ethical plan.
The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning

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Bits of brilliant science interspersed with random tidbits of complete conjecture. I agree that the green movement is doing more harm than good. I would love to hear a debate between him and Ray Kurzweil. Some of this was so incredibly refreshing (his opinion of nuclear power) and other bits just made me go 'hum'. I will never look at a wind turbine the same way again. He seems to have lost touch with political reality. Even though he stated that we are tribal carnivores - I don't see the world taking down all national borders any time soon so that the 'moist cool' areas could be made to support what humanity there is. We can't even agree there is a problem...and the ones who have don't agree on what that problem is. I think his perspective on the human race in relation to earth is spot on - we are mere fairly powerless symbiotic parasites, nothing special really.
The Chef's Apprentice: A Novel

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About a perfect a book as you will come across. Enchanting charming characters. Rich descriptions of food. Magical recipes.Favorite quotes;"But if you think about it, being born twice isn't any stranger than being born once, is it? Open your mind and don't be too quick to dismiss it.""He said, 'The soufflé teaches the folly of pursuing immortality. Life is death. A moment arises, and it dies. There's nothing but the present and you can't hold onto the present - you can only be in it. A soufflé awakens an awareness of the moment. It forces us to appreciate the rich and fluid now." ... "You know Luciano, sometimes I think the rumours about alchemy might also have been started by this soufflé. ... Because once you learn to live in the present, you're as rich as anyone can be. We must embrace each moment." "unrequited love does not die; it's only beaten down to a secret place where it hides, curled and wounded.""A father and son aren't made of anything so fragile and corruptible as flesh and blood. ... No, a father and son are forged by effort, will and heart."All in all and well crafted story told in beautiful language.
The Hollow Kingdom

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Very slow to get going. I did not enjoy slogging through the set-up. But once the fantasy/magic begins I was entranced. The heroine while a stock character was charming. I adored the ending. Parts of the ending were so visual that I would to illustrate them.
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

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The third person passive voice bored me to tears. I found the language superfluously wordy, and obtuse with way too many obscure metaphors and euphemisms.The prose did not flow, it bumped up against awkward phrases and stumbled over long Japanese and other unnecessarily long foreign names.The needlessly complicated style could have been intended to reflect the difficultly of the Dutch and Nipponese in understanding each others' culture and tongues.
Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism

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Eloquent explanation of how the religious right has gotten a strangelhold on politics today.Chilling.I'm old enough to remember the Goldwater/Kennedy presidential race and am appalled about how such recent history has been already revised.Jacoby gives a clear if not concise history of how the American constitution was specifically written with no mention of faith. The strange bedfellows formed along the way as various groups defended the division of the separation of church and state brought a smile to my lips.I always balked at the sanitized and biased way history was taught in my midwestern public school. Now I know why.
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

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Interesting for me to think that having less information might make for better decisions.Quite a revelation to me that a product is not just it's quality but it's packaging and 'reputation.' Duh, that must explain celebrity endorsements.It irked me that he kept saying everybody can interpret facial expressions. But the last chapter rectified that.
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