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Showing posts from January, 2016

How music reveals what it means to be human

You Are the Music: How Music Reveals What it Means to be Human

How does music affect our minds?
Do babies remember music from the womb?
Musical psychologist Victoria Williamson examines our relationship with music across the entire length of our lives.
Does music physically reshape our brains?
Does smart listening improve cognitive performance?
What causes earworms?
Can classical music increase your child’s IQ?
Is music good for productivity?
Can it aid recovery from illness and injury?

All these questions are explored by Victoria Williamson in You Are the Music: How Music Reveals What it Means to be Human.
“Our brains’ party trick of plasticity means that we are born lifelong learners. We don’t need a bolt of lightning or a blow to the head to be able to learn how to play music, sing or compose; we can do it by unlocking ourselves.”
“There are critical periods for learning about music but our flexible brains are still very much capable of learning in adulthood and music education at any a…

Paris Is Always A Good Idea by Nicholas Barreau

Paris is always a good idea. Doesn't matter if you're in love or not. If you are unhappy or not in love, Paris can even be a very good idea. 
That's what Robert Sherman's mom had told him. She loved Paris. And when Robert was twelve, she gifted him a trip to the city that stole her heart. But now, years later, after the death of his mother, he cursed the sentimental impulse to come to Paris. 

The room he had booked overlooking the courtyard was a big disappointment. As if the claustrophobia of the tiny room wasn't enough, the shutters also opened out to a grey stone wall. A stranger in a foreign country. You'd think his first impression of Paris would be romantic, not jaded and regretful. One certainly doesn't get the sense that George Gershwin's lyrics (from An American In Paris of course) are ringing in the air as Robert steps into a pile of dog poop.   

Then, there's Rosalie, a hopeless romantic. She owns a little postcard shop on the rue du Dragon,…

The Butcher's Hook by Janet Ellis

Jane Austen meets Gone Girl in this debut novel about nineteen-year-old Anne Jaccob who falls in love with the wrong boy and will do anything to keep him...
Anne Jaccob is a daughter of a wealthily merchant, a child brought up in privilege, someone who understands the mark of entitlement. Set in Georgian London, in Summer 1763, The Butcher's Hook is a coming of age novel that pulls you in hook, line and sinker. 

Anne is a free-spirit...well as much as a free-spirit she can be while living in the tight confines of a rich family homestead in 1763. She is a tough, smart cookie, and constantly challenging and analyzing the situations that she finds herself in. 

At a young age, she is taken advantage of by her tutor -- a close friend of her father's. But Anne is not one, to shun away and hide like a helpless girl. Instead, her maturity in the matter and her will to take charge of the situation is admirable. 

Her mother is too busy to be involved in Anne's life, as she is consumed b…

The Widow by Fiona Barton

A loving husband or a heartless killer...she'd know, wouldn't she? 

The first book I reviewed in 2015 was The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins. With sparkling symmetry 2016 is starting off in an electrifying way, with an exciting debut thriller. The Widow by Fiona Barton has also been compared to Gone Girl. 

Jean Taylor has just lost her husband Glen, who had hints of a dark past, suspected of committing a horrendous crime that has yet to be proven. The media has been all over this case for years, trying to get to the bottom of things, and constantly pestering the couple for an interview. Jean and Glen have been forced to rely on each other and keep to themselves, desperately trying to shake off the harassing reporters and accusing glares of neighbours and the public. 

But Jean has stayed mum all these years. The good wife standing by her husband, keeping his secrets. It's us against them, Glen would tell her. The media are like children, easily distracted. But, will the pa…