Mad Times

“To be sane in a mad time is bad for the brain, worse for the heart.” – Wendell Berry

August 31st, 2008 at 4:46 pm

My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor

I heard about this book after seeing Bolte Taylor’s talk for TED. At that time the book was self-published, but it has since been released by Viking Penguin Group.

Bolte Taylor is a brain researcher who volunteers as an advocate for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. One day before work she had a stroke. The book is a step-by-step account of that experience from her point of view both as the victim of the stroke and as a brain scientist explaining what was happening at each step. She also talks about the process of her recovery following surgery.

The insight beyond the mechanics of the stroke experience is from the effect the damage had on her. The particular effect she got was like the enlightenment from advanced meditation, a kind of peace and freedom from worry and concern with an overarching joy in life and the world. The message she’s sharing following her recovery is that that state is there in our brains available for us to tap into. It’s a little woo-woo, but it’s clear that she had a life-changing experience and it’s fascinating to read about it from such a unique perspective. Definitely worth reading for anyone who has had or knows someone who has had a stroke.

August 31st, 2008 at 4:14 pm

Lost Girls by Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie

Moore and Gebbie reimagine the stories of Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, and Peter Pan as the sexual awakenings of their respective female characters, Alice, Dorothy, and Wendy. The retellings are tantalizingly plausible as real world sexual experiences that could have been hallucinated, rationalized, or repressed into the fantastic stories we know. The book feels like Victorian erotica with its heavy paper, three large volumes and slip cover. The sex is steamy and widely varied providing something to arouse or offend nearly everyone.

August 6th, 2008 at 2:53 pm

Book reviews

While I waffle over whether or not to post reviews of sexually explicit graphic novels on a blog that my mother reads (Just one of many neurotic reasons why I’m months behind in posting book reviews. This blog isn’t called “Mad Times” for nothing. ;-), you can get your book review fix over at Goodreads where Becky has been reviewing up a storm.

Here’s a sample, her review of Isabel Allende’s Zorro: A Novel:

I’m a Zorro fan, but not to the extent of obsessiveness. I remember watching Tyrone Power late at night on my grandma’s black and white TV, and I’ve seen George Hamilton, Antonio Banderas, and probably some other actors in that role, but I haven’t sought out everything-Zorro. When I saw Allende had written a novel about Zorro, I was thrilled. I even waited for a good time to read it. It tells the story of how Zorro became Zorro–a sweeping tale that is both chilling and fun, just as it should be.

Lots more behind the link up there. There’s even an rss feed for updates.

August 2nd, 2008 at 12:26 am

Grass water

Cat drinking from a plate holding a pot of wheat grass

She won’t drink water out of her dish, but has to drink out of our water glasses. Or the water that has flowed through the roots of the wheat grass. Good thing she’s cute.


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