I’ve done more non-fiction reading this year than I have in previous years. Partly stuff associated with uni, partly stuff about dementia (particularly relevant to my family at present), and of course I continue to be a sucker for a memoir.
I’ve jotted down a few thoughts on some of the books I’ve read recently – not reviews as such, just a record.
It’s Never Too Late to Change Your Mind by Michael J. Valenzuela
There’s some technical/medical stuff in this book as well as general advice. Like all books in this genre, I read wondering how much things have progressed since the book was published (in 2009). Regardless, the key message holds true – the best way to decrease your risk of dementia is to reduce your blood pressure (and as it happens, the things you do to reduce your blood pressure have broader health benefits) AND keep your mind active (so keep blogging) AND stay socially engaged. Basically, the trifecta is going to dance classes (active, learning, social)!
The pop-science bible on neuroplasticity, this book has lots of fascinating case studies as well as thorough explanations. It was a re-read for me and this time I found the sections on psychotherapy and ageing / dementia particularly interesting. I noted with some amusement that the part of this book that everyone was getting their knickers in a twist about when it was first published in 2007 (that pornography can be addictive, fuelled by its availability online) has proven to be correct.
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks
Another re-read. Sacks writes so eloquently and the stories in this book are weird and fascinating and compelling. But to be honest, I didn’t love it as much as I did the first time I read it, finding the case studies far more drawn out than I remembered. I’m also left wondering whether anything will be better than Sacks’s essay for the New York Times, My Periodic Table – it’s a stunning piece of writing that makes me bawl every time I read it.
Join in Nonfiction November here.