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Literary Sara

What I've been reading on the trolley. 

Currently reading

Salt Fish Girl: A Novel
Larissa Lai
A Place of Greater Safety
Hilary Mantel
Make Art Make Money: Lessons from Jim Henson on Fueling Your Creative Career
Elizabeth Hyde Stevens
Moby Dick: or, the White Whale
Herman Melville

The Playful Brain: The Surprising Science of How Puzzles Improve Your Mind

The Playful Brain: The Surprising Science of How Puzzles Improve Your Mind - Richard Restak, Scott Kim I was expecting something a little different - the subtitle suggests that the book will investigate what happens in your brain while you do Sudoku or a crossword. It's more the opposite: the book is an accessible, breezily written primer on how the brain processes and memorizes and recalls information, and the puzzles are mostly tailored to help the reader practice assessment and recall. That said, I've been talking about the book all week and offering it to my friends. It's a quick and pleasant read, and although I couldn't repeat back to you the names and functions of the various lobes of the brain, I did learn a lot about the shortcuts our brains take to process more efficiently, and how to compensate for them. I can imagine this book as a great teaching tool for high school students, complete with independent practice and groupwork built in. It'd be a great way to teach kids to be aware but not judgmental of their individual learning processes: the book avoids the "gotcha" tone typical of brainteaser books, and instead encourages reflection ("which puzzle was easiest for you? How did you break down and solve the problem?").