Thursday, September 18, 2008

Changing leaves, hot cider, and neuroanatomy

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Autumn is starting (here in the US, anyway), and kids are heading back to school–does the changing season change your reading habits? Less time? More? Are you just in the mood for different kinds of books than you were over the summer?

This kid has headed back to school, that's for sure, and you can bet it has changed my reading habits. This summer was a time of luxurious indulgence. I could read whatever I wanted and as much as I wanted - more than 25 books from June through August. That meant lots of fiction including Netherland, the new Margot Livesey, the new Tim Winton, the new Charles Baxter, reading Man Booker winners Rose Tremain and Allan Hollinghurst, Sasa Stanisic's wonderful How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone, re-reading some Chiam Potok and Don Delillo, discovering the fiction of Bernard MacLaverty and Robin Jenkins, as well as some books on how the brain reads. See my side bar for links to all those posts. Now classes have begun. It's not that I am reading any less, au contraire, but suddenly my on-going reads fester - Daphne Beal's new novel is taking me a couple of weeks to read, Middlemarch is likely to take me until the end of the year, and books I want to read on neuroscience take a back seat to my assignments. This is the reading you never hear me talk about. Books with titles such as: From Molecules to Networks: An Introduction to Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience or Principles of Neuroscience - this is one of the classics in the field. Neuroanatomy Through Clinical Cases, or on the psychier side of my classes Diagnostic Psychological Testing or Development of the Rorschach Technique. That and loads of articles every week. This weekend was taken up by The Contribution of Psychoanalytic Theory to Psychological Testing, Interaction of Dynamic and Reality Factors in the Diagnostic Testing Interview, The Development of Cortical Multisensory Integration, and Action-Based Body Maps in the Spinal Cord Emerge from a Transitory Floating Organization. Forget images of hot spiced cider, soft comforting sweaters, and walks in the russet leaves and think: twice as much coffee, a new knapsack, and purple patches beneath my eyes. Am I in the mood for different books than I was over the summer? No, not particularly, but they won't help me pass my test on Friday or get my research into the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. And you?


Anonymous said...

Wandered over from Booking Through Thursday. Good luck in your classes! Also, I'm impressed by your eclectic reading tastes.

SmilingSally said...

Yep, reading for classes and reading for work are not equal to reading for pleasure!

Marie Cloutier said...

Good luck with all that! It sounds pretty intense. Hope you get some time for some reading of your own too. And some cider. :-)

Anonymous said...

I know the end of summer marks the end of your reading indulgence. As for me, I've got more free time to read what I want to read. Not that I don't like Russian literature (how can you write a whole thesis and not like it?), but I wish to plow through the interesting books I have found.

Thank you for mentioning Alan Hollinghurst. I had no idea he won the Booker prize, so I can read one of his books for the Booker challenge.

I also have Netherland as well. I need to make some progress on Middlemarch!

Anonymous said...

I certainly don't envy you The Development of Cortical Multisensory Integration along with some of those other titles. Luckily, you get to be the neuroscientist and I will enjoy hearing your stories. On the other hand, I do envy you those first few back-to-school weeks, that was always my favorite part of the year.

Anonymous said...

Wow...are you majoring in Psychology or doing a medical degree? You sound like a Dr. Hannibal Lecter in the making LOL

I love reading about psychology and psychological thrillers. Just didn't have the opportunity to major in it - English would get a me a job more then :)

I love Russian literature - guess you must have covered Leo Tolstoy's works? And Chekhov?

Autumn sounds beautiful in NY - it's insignificant on this little Chinese island I'm at!