A couple weeks ago, I asked the student assistants in the Reference & Research Services Department if they had read any good books lately. I was surprised at all the interesting recs I got! Here are a couple, with reviews. I’ll post a couple each week for the next few weeks.
Have you also read these? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts!
In Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Conscious Behavior, Leonard Mlodinow (a physicist known for having worked with Stephen Hawking) makes what is normally a difficult topic fascinating and easy to digest. The book illustrates how even our most rational, seemingly well thought out decisions are often driven by our unconscious mind. Using modern neuroscience as his basis (with references to the psychological theories of Jung and Freud), he gives examples of the many ways our unconscious mind truly does rule our behavior: from who we find attractive, to what we decide to eat, and even the way juries make their decisions in a courtroom. While the book is chock-full of factual information and statistical data—there’s a 7-page index at the end and he references about 3 psychological studies per page—Mlodinow manages to convey it all in an accessible (and often wry) tone that will occasionally even pull out a chuckle or two. An extremely fascinating and highly recommended read overall.
Murder, LOVE, Mystery! Recently I finished reading Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov. A great lover of Russian literature (and Dostoevsky in particular), I wasn’t disappointed. One of Dostoevsky’s longest pieces, The Brother Karamazov follows the story of three brothers and their father. An example of piety, passion, and detached logic, each brother exemplifies a different human characteristic as the story progresses. Starting this novel was hard, as the first third to two thirds of the book sets up the character and plot background. This can get dreary as it just seems to be a novel about a bunch of aristocrats and officials in a small provincial town. But it is all necessary for the book’s final thrilling and interesting ending. The well fleshed out characters all pop as Dostoevsky tells their reaction to the murder of the Father. By the end of the investigation, all the intricate strings are shown as love, greed, and knowledge all play a part in the murder. Dostoevsky (just like in his Crime and Punishment) truly shows his mastery of the human psyche in this wonderful novel.