Wednesday, January 02, 2008

2008 blog resolution

I haven't done very well keeping up with this blog have I ? So should I bother making a resolution? I guess it can't hurt. But perhaps I should be more specific than just saying I will post more often here than I did last year. I should say I will post at least once a week. That perhaps is something to aim for although I would hope to do better than that.

I got a couple of books as gifts for Christmas one of which I almost finished. The book I started to read was "A Small Place" by Jamaica Kincaid. It is about Antigua which I thought would be interesting as we spent some time in Caribbean and the first chapter was, I thought, charming in an acidic way.

However, as I went on I became more and more disappointed; it turned into a rant against the perpetual sins of colonial times (The blame is never ending. The ills placed at the colonial doorstep seem to persist even though the British have long gone). The author has too much of an agenda, in my view. She could have said the same things more convincingly and with better effect had she kept it more balanced. I didn't finish it and will not keep it.

The other one I got in my stocking was Next by Michael Crichton which I look forward very much to reading it although some readers' reviews are full of disappointment. Tonight would be a good night to start it.

I hadn't started that one because I also dipped into books I bought for my so (significant other, ie. my husband!). The first one I finished quickly as it was a very easy read, though worthwhile. The Man who Forgot how to read by Howard Engel (the author of the Benny Cooperman mysteries) is about the author's experiences in having a stroke and being left unable to read (though he was still able to write!) As a writer and a reader (and since my husband did have a mini-stroke a couple of years ago which affected his short term memory somewhat, I thought this book would be of interest to both of us and it was. I had enjoyed reading a couple of Engel's Cooperman mysteries so was happy to learn he could still write and it was fascinating to learn of how he learned to cope with this rather rare brain disfunction.

The other book, which I have only read a bit of, is Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks
This too is about brain function, delving into musical skills and love of music and it's relation to brain function.

Oliver Sacks's compassionate, compelling tales of people struggling to adapt to different neurological conditions have fundamentally changed the way we think of our own brains, and of the human experience. In Musicophilia, he examines the powers of music through the individual experiences of patients, musicians, and everyday people--from a man who is struck by lightning and suddenly inspired to become a pianist at the age of forty-two, to an entire group of children with Williams syndrome who are hypermusical from birth; from people with "amusia," to whom a symphony sounds like the clattering of pots and pans, to a man whose memory spans only seven seconds--for everything but music.

Our exquisite sensitivity to music can sometimes go wrong: Sacks explores how catchy tunes can subject us to hours of mental replay, and how a surprising number of people acquire nonstop musical hallucinations that assault them night and day. Yet far more frequently, music goes right: Sacks describes how music can animate people with Parkinson's disease who cannot otherwise move, give words to stroke patients who cannot otherwise speak, and calm and organize people whose memories are ravaged by Alzheimer's or amnesia.

Music is irresistible, haunting, and unforgettable, and in Musicophilia, Oliver Sacks tells us why.

My husband loves to play guitar and he sings in a barbershop chorus where one of the members had a stroke which affected his speech badly but which did not at all affect his singing! So this book is of interest also and I look forward to getting back at it (as soon as my husband is through with it!!!)

So there is my work cut out for me for a while.


mamie said...

My cousin recommended the Sacks book to me over Christmas. His son, an avid musician was reading it. Music therapy, like art therapy, seems to fill a need in people.

canary said...

I just came back from choir practice a little while ago. I wish I was more musical but my talent only extends to singing. I do enjoy it though.

Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Romania.
Dorothy Parker, Not So Deep as a Well (1937)