Saturday, 7 March 2015

Books, blogs and phones



Communication between friends


My phone was broken this week but I did not miss it, even though I was glad to get it back today in normal working order again.

One friend called to ask whether I was OK. She had noticed my absence because she missed her daily doses of my photographs of our work – she works in the offices of our Association and enjoys seeing what we get up to and seeing  what she works so hard for!

No one else seemed to notice my absence from the smart-phone world because I still had Skype and email connections from my home-computer.

I thought that I had not missed the phone until looked back through my emails to check for those I had not read. There were a few, all from the blogs that I follow with the latest blog posting sent to me in my email inbox. Most of these blogs are American so the emails telling me about new postings usually arrive during the night. I read them on my mobile phone in bed, between alarm calls. There are three. I doze between the first two and read the blog postings before the third.

This is one posting that I missed from a blog that I have only recently began to follow –

http://jacklivingwithparkinsons.com/2015/03/05/the-only-place-you-are-a-burden-is-in-your-own-heart/

It is good once again to read and learn about life with a motor disorder from a very personal point of view.  

Here is another posting that I missed this week, from an old favourite –


And of course I missed the daily offerings, packed with so much valuable information, from Dean’s Stroke Musings. I had to find time to read these in the evenings on my home computer rather than in the early hours on my phone


I discovered two advantages of having no mobile phone. The first was that I read books undisturbed by phone calls and messages on the bus and tram, and the second, also to do with reading, I read books instead of emails in bed in the mornings – something I have not done for years.

Language

I have two books on the go: a heavy one that I take to work as it is too heavy for bedtime reading, and a smaller one, Lingo, a Language Spotter’s Guide to Europe, by Gaston Dorren. This is an amazing book.

Many of you must have seen people, usually men but I have also seen a woman or two over the years, standing at the end of railway platforms writing down the numbers of all the engines that they spot. Well this book is written by someone who spots languages in the same way as train-spotters spot engines!

I love the footnotes at the end of each language-chapter, especially the second note which is always a word from the specific language that the author has picked out that does not exist in English but one that he believes should perhaps be adopted.

I enjoy books on language and culture so much because my day revolves around so many languages. I love to read about how these languages evolve and Lingo makes a very entertaining journey from one country to the next, describing how the languages travelled to become what they are today.

My life is full of different languages and cultures I have often written about how many mother-tongues we have in our groups.

One Friday I spoke a bit of Hungarian, I worked with three different Hungarian conductors and I met another four. I worked with two children whose mother-tongue is Turkish, with one whose mother-tongue is Dutch, and another whose mother-tongue is Russian. I worked with only two German children, one of whom gets top marks in English and Latin and between the conductors we are fluent in Hungarian, English, German, and Swedish, with a bit of Greek, Italian, French and Russian!

More about the brain

The heavy book that I carry to work is The Brain’s Way of Healing, Stories of Remarkable Recoveries and Discoveries by Norman Doidge, who also wrote The Brain that Changes Itself.

In my opinion this his newest book, The Brain’s Way of Healing, is not quite up to the story-telling standards of Oliver Sacks but it is well on its way to being in the running. Oliver Sacks is quoted on the back cover as saying that this book is – ‘A remarkable and hopeful portrait of the endless adaptability of the human brain.’

With Oliver Sacks’s next book being published in the spring, and its possibilty of being his last, it is good to read a few new books that follow in his footsteps. Another one of my recent reads in the same vein is – Reaching down the Rabbit Hole by Allan Ropper and B. D. Burrell.

Food for thought for a journey

I hope I have given some readers some food for thought over the weekend or on the journey to work next week.

Notes

Gaston Dorren (2014), Lingo, a language spotter’s guide to Europe, Profile Books. IBNS 978-178 1254 165

Norman Doidge (2015) The Brain’s Way of Healing, Stories of Remarkable Recoveries and Discoveries, Allen Lane- Penguin Random House, ISBN 987-1-846-14424-0

Allan Ropper and B. D. Burrell (2014), Reaching down the Rabbit Hole - Atlantic Books, ISBN 978 1 782 39547 8

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