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More great reads!

In the last month I finished Solar; what a great, turn-about ending… Say no more, just read it! Then I picked up Anita Shreve’s new book, Rescue: A Novel, as a beach-read in between making sandcastles. I had heard a bad review of it – “unmemorable” was the catch phrase - but I enjoyed it as I do most of Shreve’s books when I am in the mood for them. It is a quiet story about a good man, a paramedic, who rescues strangers but struggles to rescue those closest to him. I have to say, however, 3 weeks later I had to read the blurb to remind myself what it was about! My next read was Tracy Chevalier’s Remarkable Creatures, a wonderful novel based on historical figures in the first quarter of nineteenth-century England; in this case two women fossil hunters from different ends of the social spectrum who developed a symbiotic friendship as a result of their passion for fossils. Mary Anning, the younger, uneducated woman, discovered ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs, forcing God-fearing philosophers to reconsider their creationist beliefs. Chevalier’s ability to weave a believable story from a network of facts is itself remarkable. I have just finished reading The Mind's Eyeby Oliver Sacks. I loved this book and think it is the closest he has got to his early classic, The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat. My own field is neuropsychology, so many of the neurological problems Sacks writes about are very familiar to me, and occasionally a little too simplistic to hold my attention. But I found each of the seven stories in this book rich and thought-provoking without being too heavy on “science,” and I often found myself performing little experiments on my own vision and imagery as I read his beautiful descriptions. Sacks is an extraordinarily unique writer and observer, not least about his own many strange neurological problems and his analysis of them! One can only thank him for his willingness to expose himself so generously to his reader.

Yesterday I received my copy of Lisa Genova’s Left Neglected in the mail; I must surely be the very first person in New Zealand to have it! I have read the first 77 pages and had great difficulty putting it down. I will post a review as soon as I finish it, but if the promise of the first part is a true indication of the whole, I think it is going to be even better than Still Alice.
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