Book Review: A Million Things To Ask A Neuroscientist

Book: A Million Things To Ask A Neuroscientist: The brain made easy

Author: Mike Tranter

Genre: Teens and Young Adult (13+), Non-Fiction, Science, Neuroscience

Review Copy: Reedsy.com

Also available at: Amazon.in

When the first word in a book is as casual as OK, you wonder if it is of any merit. A quick walk into the preface and you realize the power of this book is in its simplicity. A deep-dive and you are engrossed in the complex world of the brain but in a fun way through this book.

A Million Things To Ask A Neuroscientist – the brain made easy is listed for ages 12+ but I would recommend it for at least Grade 9 and above. Written in a succinct style, it contains some scientific terms that may disengage a younger reader. For anyone into the basics of the science of the brain and fiery neurons filled with questions about how this super organ works and controls the human body, this is one fascinating read.

Mike Tranter, a neuroscientist from the UK, living in California, embellishes this book with some easy diagrams and a lucid style that maintains the depth of the subject but with an informal tone. Complex neuroscience mechanisms are explained with daily life examples. As an avid reader of books related to the brain and the unknown areas that are still waiting to be discovered or fully explained, I found this book to be informative and engaging. From learning about the brain-blood-barrier to the fact of neurogenesis, it draws you into the captivating world of grey and white matter.

The text centers on positive messaging, as it talks about the effect of drugs, addiction, withdrawals, depression, social coupling, the power of learning languages, and recovery after injuries, amongst other things. It is almost like being in an exciting classroom with an amazing teacher who brings the subject home.

The concepts discussed are as intriguing as the brain itself – from lucid dreaming to nightmares, dream incubation and dream prophecy, fear, memories, intelligence, to whether scientists understand how anesthesia works, to the question of whether memories can be transferred to a device using technology. It touches on esoteric aspects of consciousness, meditation, syndromes, and a pertinent query – are male and female brains different? This is just 2/3rd of the book content – there is more to learn and know – so grab a copy!

This book is a thrilling ride and literally food for thought. It does not answer all the teeming questions, for example, I wanted to know about migraines. Well, it is a book that deserves a sequel. The cover design is bright and inviting, and the content is worthy of your time and attention. For more insight, read Mike’s article on why and how he wrote this book.

Book Review: The Emperor who Vanished

The book has good font size, smooth language, and dives into anecdotes and information from history, art, and architecture. A great memory refresher for adults with a few new facts and a wonderful book to make the children interested in our rich history, monuments, and the wonders of ancient times! I recommend this book for 10 years and above readers and even as a bedtime read for younger children.

Now, that I am building my 11-year old son’s library, I am getting to read some great children’s/young adult fiction, and rediscovering forgotten facts. Kavitha Mandana’s The Emperor who Vanished is a book that introduces Indian history, art, and architecture in an interesting manner. This book is relevant for children in middle school because this is the time they are discovering more about India’s rich heritage and culture in their school curriculum.

The book has good font size, smooth language, and dives into anecdotes and information from history, art, and architecture. A great memory refresher for adults with a few additional facts and a wonderful book to make the children interested in our rich history, monuments, and the wonders of ancient times! I recommend this book for 10 years and above readers and even as a bedtime read for younger children.

Rating – 4/5. A star less because my son did not enjoy the fictional bit about the two students embarking on a school project. I also felt the language was not taut in those sections. The characters were not flushed out and the attempt to create a funny and engaging storyline was not exactly accomplished. Even without focussing on the story of Apu and Nina, the book is worth a read.

Nurturing a Young Blogger and Reader

My son and I have much in common – from our introvert temperament to love for reading and writing. Last summer during a long Covid19 lockdown in India, which was labelled by some media houses as one of the toughest, my son asked me about blogging. I explained it was an online journal, diary, or a place to share thoughts and stories and engage with like-minded followers.

I told him I used to blog and can set up a blog for him. That is how I restarted blogging in an all-new blog space, which is this, and he got a brand new blog – www.blackpenstrokes.wordpress.com. What I find endearing is that he still writes his “private journal” by hand. Though, I know it’s more to do with his love for stationery; again something he has acquired from me!

Continue reading “Nurturing a Young Blogger and Reader”
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