In Which Our Heroine Delights in Braaaaains

4 September 2005

I swear that neuropsych books are like candy stores for science fiction writers. I'm reading A. R. Luria's The Working Brain: An Introduction to Neuropsychology, and I don't even have any specific story ideas from it just yet, but that part of my brain is a squirmy happy puppy.

I also find a curious question keeps popping up: Luria is using "man" to mean "humanity of whatever sex," which is not confusing (the copyright date of this book is 1973). But it's not always clear whether the researchers in question actually checked that the claims they're making hold for both sexes. Sometimes they clearly have, but sometimes I know I've read later reports that indicate gender differences, and there are lots of middle cases where I just don't know.

Still, that ends up being a minor question in the whole of this book, and it's all very interesting, and, and, and braaaains. Definitely braaaaains.

I also finished my reread of Dark Sun: the Making of the Hydrogen Bomb. It wasn't as good as The Making of the Atomic Bomb -- that was my memory from the last time I read them, and I think it was correct. Still, good, interesting stuff. And I get all choked up at Oppenheimer's security clearance hearing, every time, but last time I read this book, I hadn't met a few of the minor characters I've now met. It was even more upsetting to be able to hear Freeman Dyson's voice in my head telling the part of it where Rhodes is quoting him.

Sometimes it's nice to have the luxury to get upset about things that happened before I was born and not just immediate events. Is that sick? Maybe, but I don't think there's anything I can do about it just now.

I have a good supply of nonfiction, but my fiction supply is getting...weird. I'm not short on fiction to read, but I've gotten to the parts of the stacks where there are a few new acquisitions of interest and a bunch more things that got given to me or picked up at a library book sale and have been hanging around my book piles not getting read for awhile. It's good to go through that part of the stack, I think: if I'm not going to read something at all, someone else might as well get to it, and if I am, well, I should. Still, it makes for some interesting juxtapositions of reading material.

Sometimes I really love the alphabet. I keep a list of books read (because Zed talked me into it), and I love having Luria pop up with Lois Lowry, Karin Lowachee, Maud Hart Lovelace, and Elias Lönnrot. Upstream of Lönnrot it starts to look almost sensible, as the Lind- names cluster and skew towards Scand Studies books, and you can almost make Doris Lessing, Madeleine L'Engle, Ursula LeGuin, and Sarah Lefanu go together, but then Burmese legends get shoved up next to John LeCarr&eaccent;, with Dena and a book about the Hungarian Revolution coming close on their heels, and the alphabet amuses me again.

This would be your first clue that I'm kind of a geek, if I'd been trying to keep it a secret before. Umm. Non-geeks may not actually read much about neuropsychology. Then again, they might; I don't actually have many in my social circles to ask.

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