Thursday, December 10, 2009

Paul Auster

Tonight I finally had the chance to finish reading Descartes' Error by Antonio Damasio, which I has started at the beginning of November. It's taken me over a month to read it, because my time is limited; and also because I have found that books on neuroscience are not necessarily page-turners. Like the brain itself, Descartes' Error was a complex book with many aspects to consider. I did enjoy it, especially since I have been slightly obsessed with the philosophy of mind for a while now. Damasio's classic work of neuroscience is opposed to the dualist view that Descartes favored. Damasio shows that reasoning does not function well without an emotional counterpart. He starts the work with an examination of the famous case of Phineas Gage, who sustained brain damage to his frontal lobe and his personality was severely effected. He could no longer make sensible decisions, and was fraught with frustration and anger issues. The Phineas Gage case comes up often in any study of the brain. It was one of the first medical cases that shed significant light on the workings of the brain, and in particular what sections contributed to various functions.

Now I am ready to dive back into some quality fiction. Paul Auster's most recent novel was released a few weeks back, and has received some of his best reviews in quite some time. I try not to read complete reviews, because quite often they give away too much of the plot. But I read enough to know that I would like to read Invisible as soon as possible. My hope is to read enough of the novel to select it for my featured staff pick in the bookstore for the month of January. I've only read three of Auster's previous novels (The Music of Chance, The Book of Illusions, and Oracle Night,) so I guess that I cannot claim to be a dedicated fan. I haven't even read his New York Trilogy yet, which is what put him on the literary map. My excuse for this shortcoming is the mere fact that there are too many quality books and just not enough damn time to read them.

In anticipation of reading Auster's Invisible I found this interview that previews the novel.

2 comments:

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

I found this interview somewhere and it was great. I tried to link it on Goodreads but they don't accept its format...oh well.

I have not read anything by him, but because of this interview I added his book.

Take Care Mark and have a great holiday season!

Hayduke said...

I have a little less than a third of the book left to finish. I'm staying home sick today, but the positive side of my illness is having a chance to finish this book.