Wednesday, April 4, 2012

How the mind works

From KoboBooks
Oh, how very many ways I am anxious to tie in the title of this post. It turns out that exactly three years ago today, I wrote a post I called "Being in my right mind." (I had just finished reading an interesting book about a woman who had survived a stroke, Jill Bolte Taylor, called "My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey.") And now I'm reading that book over there on the right by Steven Pinker, called "How the Mind Works." Three years later and I'm still trying to find out the basics of why I do what I do, why I think what I think.

My sister Norma Jean is reading another book by Pinker, and we bounce off of each other, talking about we're reading, etc. I looked on line to see if I could find a copy at the library, but it's not available. Apparently Pinker has just written another book that is causing his earlier books to be in high demand. I looked for the new one, called "The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined." With a provocative title like that, I can see why it is being looked at. I even think I've seen a couple of articles based on this premise.

This Sunday, Easter, begins National Library Week for 2012. The way libraries are being used these days is in flux, since many of us are moving toward purchasing electronic copies, and my local library also has many of them available to be lent out. Norma Jean has also helped to change the way I am using libraries. She has been borrowing electronically from her local library for awhile now, and I was feeling quite out of the loop. In the process of signing myself up for electronic books, I was required to go in to ask for some help. I checked out a few books, and since my library uses the Dewey Decimal System, I had to reacquaint myself with it. Years ago I was prolific at using it, but like anything else you don't use, it now feels a bit cumbersome. I need to exercise those library muscles.

I read all three of "The Hunger Games" books online, having purchased the first one for $5 and received the second one from my niece for free. (Amazon allows you to "loan" a copy of some books to another person for two weeks, so that cost me nothing.) But then if I wanted to read the third book in the series, I had to buy it from Amazon for $8. I did enjoy the books and really wanted to find out what happened to Katniss, but I don't think I'll buy many more electronic novels. It's much more realistic to check it out from the library, either electronic or hard copy -- because I most likely won't be reading it again.

It was fairly easy to read the books on my iPad (using the Kindle for iPad app). I now have four different readers downloaded, since my local independent bookstore requires one, the library requires another, and iTunes yet another. I have found the Kindle app the most user-friendly, by far. My biggest problem with using my iPad for reading is the problem of growing sleepy: the iPad is much heavier than a book, and when I nodded off the other day, it banged my nose rather noticeably. Woke me right up.

I missed writing a new post yesterday, as my iMac decided to crash unexpectedly. Somehow it seems to have healed itself up, but I'm wary about it happening again. I will be going on another hike with the Trailblazers tomorrow, so this post will not be in the queue for long before being replaced by another. In previous years, I didn't mind writing a post a day, but it's sometimes difficult to find blog fodder than isn't getting stale. It seems that many of my readers would like something other than my old standby of hiking and exercise. The photo safaris have gotten me interested in taking pictures with a different focus. Stay tuned!


  1. ack on the computer crash...hope it was just temporary....out library has ebooks now...i still dont have an ereader, yet...i am starting to cave...smiles.

  2. An iMac crash!?? I thought my McLap was supposed to last forever and ever? (chuckle)

    Wow! All those reader apps and electronic books from the library? I can tell I am way behind on the techie world when it comes to books and music. Goodness!

    These sound like good books. It is so cool that you and your sister read and discuss them and how they have effected you and taught you. I just love that. You two are lucky to have each other.

    Have a wonderful hike!! :):)

  3. I tried downloading books from our library but found it frustrating. They didn't offer a lot of nonfiction, at least not in any subjects I have an interest in. The fiction I was interested in had long waiting lists. I decided it wasn't so great after all, and you're right, Kindle is far friendlier to use. Kindle has a lot of free books.

    I prefer reading books on my Kindle to reading them on myiPad for the very reason you mentioned, it's heavy & falls on my face if I go to sleep. The non- color Kindles are very cheap now. You might ought to look into purchasing one. For reading books you're better off not having color.

  4. I've always been curious how the brain works because of my consideration of learning. I will have to look for Pinker.

  5. I enjoy reading about what you are reading, but I just haven't found much time for reading anything but the newspaper and magazines for quite a while. I seem to be getting sleepy when I sit still for too long, so i just keep busy. I guess i need a ipad to hit me in the nose.
    I can't seem to get inspired to post every day either. And it's OK with me if some of my favorite bloggers skip days. It's hard enough to keep up as it is.

  6. I have been seriously thinking about getting an ipad, and didn't even think about the nose crushing aspect! I don't know if I'll use mine to read in bed . . . I still like a physical book, plus I read on my stomach (so I don't need my glasses!).

    Despite nose bonking, I still think I will look into the ipad. Deb brought hers today and it was so handy for looking up places we wanted to go and getting directions!

    I am always interested in reading what you have to say, DJan!

  7. I haven't gone the route of e-readers yet. And I hope to hold out for a while. I love picking up books at garage/yard sales through the summer.

    Make sure your Mac is backed up. Sometimes tetchy behaviour like that is a warning to a HD crash. I sure hope not, though.

  8. These subjects fascinate me too DJan! I've been meaning to read Jill Bolte Taylor's book for a while, and now I've got these others to consider. I also need to get on board with checking out books electronically. Unfortunately my Kindle isn't supported by my Canadian Library...(or is it that my Canadian Library isn't supported by my Kindle?) but I'm sure I can find other ways to read electronically. At least I can put the real books on hold electronically, and get an e-mail when they're ready for me. Wonderful brave new world we live in, eh?

  9. I read "How the Mind Works" a few years back, but wasn't real impressed with it. However, the subject is terribly intriguing to me. I think Pinker is a bit of a Darwinist? Could be mistaken.

    I have a really hard time reading online. I think it's mostly because I like the malleability of books.

  10. I never read in bed because it is so uncomfortable. I prefer to read the kindle, newspapers, and computer while sitting upright. Looking forward to your hiking post.

  11. I haven't yet succumbed to e-readers. Which is why our house is full of books. Which both of us find hard to relinquish. I could cull his, and he mine. This isn't however allowed.
    Whatever you write is just fine by me. I will read it.

  12. I love my Kindle since I can read outdoors better than on the iPad. I have to look into the electronic book lending- what a great idea!

  13. No, no....I LOVE your hiking posts. But don't get me wrong, this is a good change of pace...

    Reading...for me, I guess I'm still in the 'old school' category. I love the TOUCH of a book...I love to feel the pages as I turn them...I love the smell of books off the press and the faint crackling sound of opening a brand new book. Our son bought us a NOOK and I just told him to give it to one of his friends as I will stick to the bound books as long as I can. Just feels so cold and unfriendly not to be able to 'snuggle up' with a book in my hand instead of the cold, hardened case of an electronic reader.

  14. Sounds like a good book. I haven't tried reading my ipad in bed, but enjoy taking it to the gym, easy to carry around.

  15. Oh, the electronics !! Oh, the gadgetry!!


    I don't have any of this stuff. Except for my iPhone...and PC...

    I'm just a slow blooming technotard who still loves the feel and smell of a real book....

  16. Hello There. Gee, IMac crash - maybe something to do with new security update yesterday - there were quite a few Macs compromised from a trojan that attached itself to a Java file? Anyway, there were crashes, but all seems in order today.
    Aah, yes the wonderful world of electronic reading, however I still sit down to a good paper copy. I found my kindle just the right size, so that you don't bonk yer nose when noddin' off :) My reasoning for choosing Kindle speaks for itself, as you know GREAT GREAT GREAT !! I wanted to throw my E book in my purse or hiking bag or camera bag and it fits just fine.
    The brain is a most complex and curious place - mine works most of the time. Your B Books sound interesting. Just purchased The Hunger Games Book 1 for my Sister and of course I will get to read it too :)

    Have a nice Easter Weekend and safe hiking DJan :)

  17. It is interesting to me to hear the different experiences with ebooks. One of the gals at the book club says she is the kind who likes to look back to confirm she is reading pages later and that is slower with her Kindle. But other than that she likes it better. So far I continue to prefer to turn paper pages. I suppose some day I will find reasons to get on board with the ebooks.

  18. Sure hope your Mac is feeling better. Life would be just terrible without it.

  19. I get most of my ebooks free from Amazon. I have picked up a lot of good books for my Kindle Fire. The Hunger Games - I tried to read that series. I just couldn't get my mind wrapped around the story line. I am having a hard time understanding all the hype.

  20. I find myself rereading. Right now I am midway through the Dick Francis books. Someone donated all of them to the thrift shop where I volunteer, and I got them all. Ditto Dorothy Gilman who hasn't worn as well as the Francis. Ever since I became the book lady at the store, I keep forgetting to go to our library.

    Have a great hike.

  21. I get my books free at Amazon too..I did purchase one a while back..the Authors Father asked me to read his daughters I did.
    I just began the Hunger Games..I have already guessed (duh) that Katniss survives and becomes the hero to District 12..
    I will be reading fast today and tomorrow to finish it up and borrow the next book from my Grandson.
    I worry about dropping my Kindle off the bed and onto the floor if I fall asleep reading..I like that I do not need the light on.. Last night the real book hit my nose ..woke me up and I had to get up and turn out the light. imac crash???:)


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