Saturday, October 06, 2012

October Book Club Meeting- My Stroke of Insight

"How many brain scientists have been able to study the brain from the inside out? I've gotten as much out of this experience of losing my left mind as I have in my entire academic career." Jill Bolte Taylor
The book chosen for this month was "My Stroke of Insight' by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. A neuroanatomist who suffered through a stroke herself, she writes from a unique point of view about the brain.

Beth hosted and we had an array of treats to accompany our discussion - all nice, cool dishes perfect for the very warm evening: tuna sandwiches, crackers and cheese, olives, fresh veggies, Thai peanut cole slaw.  Rascal, Beth's dog, demonstrated his burgeoning stealth theft skills by almost scoring a half tuna sandwich. Before any of us noticed, he had his head on the kitchen counter and was positioning his mouth sideways to get hold of the morsel, when one of us noticed and a chorus of shrieks drove him off, sandwichless. As far as brains go, the subject du jour, ours (book clubbers) are still slightly ahead of Rascal's (Australian Sheep Dog), but he's gaining fast and living up to his name. 

We all found the book interesting and informative.  Some found the technical sections a bit slow.  The author's relationship with her mother, G.G. who nursed her back to health over a period of 8 years, was particularly touching. Dr. Bolte's original motivation for study of the brain was her brother's schizophrenia. She states that his dreams became delusions while Jill was able to translate her dreams into reality - what was the difference between their brains?

Bolte delivered a TED lecture in 2007.  It's a very intense talk and one of the most-watched in the TED series. Try it out here - stick with her. Like many of the TED lecturers she takes a couple of minutes to warm to the milieu but then WHAMMO!
Dr. Bolte with a real brain

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor TED lecture

Next month's book is River of Doubt by Candice Miller

 Beth's alternate choice was Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell



which also sounds terrific from the reviews and from the information about the upcoming Tom Hanks/Halle Berry film.


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