Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain by Antonio Damasio
A review by Richard Restak
As you read this review, your brain is undergoing changes by the millisecond. These words and sentences are stimulating ideas and emotions based on your brain's current organization and content, which are reflective of all your experiences up to the present moment. Additional changes will occur as you proceed down this column of type.
Only recently did neuroscientists realize that the human brain exhibits such astonishing plasticity. This insight coincided with the introduction in the 1970s of modern brain-imaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). With today's...
The Twins of Tribeca by Rachel Pine
A review by Rebecca Traister
A few years back, apple-cheeked chick lit mated with slutty celebrity tell-all and produced a batch of dishy romances like The Devil Wears Prada and The Nanny Diaries. They went like this: single girl tries to get her social, sexual and professional groove on while laboring for a rich and/or famous person whose real-life identity is very thinly veiled.
The Twins of Tribeca is part of the same litter. First-time novelist Rachel Pine was a publicity assistant at Miramax Films, the Oscar-gobbling company run by pugnacious brothers Bob and Harvey Weinstein that helped to popularize...
Earthquakes in Human History: The Far-Reaching Effects of Seismic Disruptions by Jelle Zeili De Boer
A review by Doug Brown
The recent tragedy in Indonesia demonstrated all too well how far the effects of earthquakes can reach. Three continents were directly affected by the tsunamis generated by the quake, and the entire world has been involved in the relief effort. As the cliché goes, only time will tell what the long-term effects are of this event. Until then, Earthquakes in Human History offers some illustrative examples of how other quakes have shaped history, politics, and economics.
After a straightforward layperson's overview of the causes and types of earthquakes, the first few chapters cover the ...
Man Walks Into a Room by Nicole Krauss
The Disappearing Man
A review by Adrienne Miller
Found wandering alone and incoherent in the Nevada desert is Samson Greene, a thirty-six year-old English professor who, it is revealed, has a brain tumor, the removal of which erases almost all of his long-term memory. Samson's life was cheerful and stable before his memory disorder, but when he's delivered back to his wife Anna in New York, it's clear they'll never be able to reclaim anything resembling the life they knew together. When Anna suggests Samson throw away his address book ("'It's depressing, all these people,'" Samson says), it seems as if she's finally throwing in the towel...
In Our Control: The Complete Guide to Contraceptive Choices for Women by Laura Eldridge
In Our Control: The Complete Guide to Contraceptive Choices for Women
A review by Bonnie B. Lee
Young women discover very quickly that navigating their sexuality is a perilous journey through treacherous and unforgiving waters. With whom, when, how soon, how often, even just how, not to mention the adjacent Scylla and Charybdis whirlpools of pregnancy/reproduction and femininity (and the proper expressions thereof) -- the rocky shoals are narrower and stretch on for longer than any of them have been prepared for. They are fifteenth-century Portuguese sailors in search of the Spice Islands who have ended up, bafflingly, in Argentina.
In Our Control: The Complete Guide to...
Fatelessness by Imre Kertesz
A Story of Hell, Told by a Teenager
A review by Anna Godbersen
The narrator of this brilliant Holocaust novel is, as we first meet him, a normal enough fourteen-year-old boy. The only child of a Hungarian Jewish businessman, he is sardonic, easily embarrassed by his parents, and eager for the adult world of work; we see him share his first kiss with Annamarie, who lives in the apartment down the hall. But then a very strange thing happens to him: He and all the other young men wearing yellow stars are taken from a Budapest bus, rounded up with others, and sent to Auschwitz. The experience that follows -- the narrator is taken to Buchenwald, and then to...