Recommended Reading

Each month we will showcase books that we have read or that have been recommended to us. All books are available to purchase from Whitcoulls.

  • Migraine

    The many manifestations of migraine can vary dramatically from one patient to another, even within the same patient at different times. Among the most compelling and perplexing of these symptoms are the strange visual hallucinations and distortions of space, time, and body image which migraineurs sometimes experience. Portrayals of these uncanny states have found their way into many works of art, from the heavenly visions of Hildegard von Bingen to Alice in Wonderland. Dr. Oliver Sacks argues that migraine cannot be understood simply as an illness, but must be viewed as a complex condition with a unique role to play in each individual's life.

  • Musicophilia: Tales of Music And The Brain

    In Musicophilia, Oliver Sacks examines the powers of music through the individual experiences of patients, musicians, and everyday people - from a man who is struck by lightning and suddenly inspired to become a pianist at the age of forty-two, to an entire group of children with Williams syndrome who are hypermusical from birth; from people with ‘amusia,’ to whom a symphony sounds like the clattering of pots and pans, to a man whose memory spans only seven seconds - for everything but music. Our exquisite sensitivity to music can sometimes go wrong: Sacks explores how catchy tunes can subject us to hours of mental replay, and how a surprising number of people acquire nonstop musical hallucinations that assault them night and day. Yet far more frequently, music goes right: Sacks describes how music can animate people with Parkinson's disease who cannot otherwise move, give words to stroke patients who cannot otherwise speak, and calm and organise people whose memories are ravaged by Alzheimer's or amnesia.

  • Thinking in Pictures: And Other Reports From My Life With Autism

    The captivating subject of Oliver Sack's Anthropologist on Mars, here is Temple Grandin's personal account of living with autism and her extraordinary gift of animal empathy which has transformed her world and ours. Temple Grandin is renowned throughout the world as a designer of livestock holding equipment. Her unique empathy for animals has seen her create systems which are humane and cruelty free, setting the highest standards for the industry in the treatment and handling of animals. She also happens to be autistic. Here, in Temple Grandin's own words, is the story of what it is like to live with autism. Temple is among the few people who have broken through many of the neurological impairments associated with autism. Throughout her life, she has developed unique coping strategies, including her famous "squeeze machine," modeled after seeing the calming effect squeeze chutes have on cattle. She describes the pain and isolation of growing up "different" and her discovery of visual symbols to interpret the "ways of the natives." Thinking in Pictures also gives information from the frontlines of autism, including treatment, medication, and diagnosis, as well as Temple's insight into genius, savants, sensory phenomena, etc. Ultimately, it is Temple's unique ability to describe the way her visual mind works and how she first made the connection between her impairment and animal temperament that is the basis of an extraordinary gift and phenomenal success.

  • Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science

    An astonishing new science called neuroplasticity is overthrowing the centuries-old notion that the human brain is immutable. Psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, Norman Doidge, M.D., travelled the country to meet both the brilliant scientists championing neuroplasticity and the people whose lives they’ve transformed - people whose mental limitations or brain damage were seen as unalterable. We see a woman born with half a brain that rewired itself to work as a whole, blind people who learn to see, learning disorders cured, IQs raised, aging brains rejuvenated, stroke patients learning to speak, children with cerebral palsy learning to move with more grace, depression and anxiety disorders successfully treated, and lifelong character traits changed. Using these marvellous stories to probe mysteries of the body, emotion, love, sex, culture, and education, Dr. Doidge has written an immensely moving, inspiring book that will permanently alter the way we look at our brains, human nature, and human potential.

  • My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey

    On the morning of the 10th December 1996, Jill Bolte Taylor, a thirty-seven-year-old Harvard-trained brain scientist experienced a massive stroke when a blood vessel exploded in the left side of her brain. A neuroanatomist by profession, she observed her own mind completely deteriorate to the point that she lost the ability to walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life, all within the space of four hours. As the damaged left side of her brain, the rational, logical, detail and time-oriented side, swung in an out of function, Taylor alternated between two distinct and opposite realities: the euphoric Nirvana of the intuitive and emotional right brain, in which she felt a sense of complete well-being and peace; and the logical left brain, that realised Jill was having a stroke and enabled her to seek help before she was lost completely. In My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey, Taylor brings to light a new perspective on the brain and its capacity for recovery that she gained through the intimate experience of awakening her own injured mind. The journey to recovery took eight years for Jill to feel completely healed. Using her knowledge of how the brain works, her respect for the cells composing her human form, and an amazing mother, Taylor completely repaired her mind and recalibrated her understanding of the world according to the insight gained from her right brain that December morning.

  • Brain and Behaviour: An Introduction to Behavioural Neuroanatomy

    A simplified and accessible introduction to behavioural neuroanatomy. Human behaviour is a direct reflection of the anatomy of the central nervous system, and it is the goal of the behavioural neuroscientist to uncover its neuroanatomical basis. Much of the new content in this edition reflects advances in functional magnetic resonance imaging. The text is presented in a highly structured and organised format to help the reader distinguish between issues of anatomical, behavioural and physiological relevance. Simplified and clear diagrams are provided throughout the chapters to illustrate key points. Case examples are explored to set the neuroanatomy in the context of clinical experience. This will be essential reading for behavioural clinicians including psychiatrists, neuropsychiatrists, neurologists, psychologists and clinical neuroscientists.

  • The Dana Guide to Brain Health: A Practical Family Reference from Medical Experts

    A child crashes to the ground from the monkey bars head-first. A high school student prepares for months to take the SAT. A grandmother slowly slips away from her family through the deadly progression of Alzheimer's Disease. Whether we realise it or not, the importance of brain health to our daily lives goes far beyond just being able to walk and talk. The Dana Guide to Brain Health offers the first comprehensive home medical reference book on the brain, providing an unparalleled, authoritative guide to improving the fitness of our brains and, ultimately, enriching our lives. With contributions from over one hundred of the most prominent scientists and clinicians in the United States, The Dana Guide to Brain Health is an extensive and wholly accessible manual on the workings of the human brain. This richly illustrated volume contains a wealth of facts and advice, on simple yet effective ways to take care of our brains; the intimate connection between brain health and body health; brain development from the prenatal period through adulthood; and how we learn, remember, and imagine. The brain is far too important to be excluded any longer from our daily health concerns. The Dana Guide to Brain Health remedies this oversight with a clearly written, definitive map to our brains that reveals how we can take care of them in order to sustain a long and rich life.

  • The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

    In 1995, Jean-Dominique Bauby was the editor-in-chief of FrenchElle, the father of two young children, a 44-year-old man known and loved for his wit, his style, and his impassioned approach to life. By the end of the year he was also the victim of a rare kind of stroke to the brainstem. After 20 days in a coma, Bauby awoke in a body which had all but stopped working: only his left eye functioned, allowing him to see and, by blinking it, to make clear that his mind was unimpaired. Almost miraculously, he was soon able to express himself in the richest detail: dictating a word at a time, blinking to select each letter as the alphabet was recited to him slowly, over and over again. In the same way, he was able eventually to compose this extraordinary book. By turns wistful, mischievous, angry, and witty, Bauby bears witness to his determination to live as fully in his mind as he had been able to do in his body. He explains the joy, and deep sadness, of seeing his children and of hearing his aged father's voice on the phone. In magical sequences, he imagines travelling to other places and times and of lying next to the woman he loves. Fed only intravenously, he imagines preparing and tasting the full flavour of delectable dishes. Again and again he returns to an "inexhaustible reservoir of sensations," keeping in touch with himself and the life around him. Jean-Dominique Bauby died two days after the French publication of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. This book is a lasting testament to his life.

  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat

    Using case studies, Sacks examines the effects of impairment and incapacity of neurological function such as loss of speech and loss of memory, and looks at the relationship between the brain and the mind.

  • Memory and Brain

    Written by a leading neuropsychologist, this book brings together the widely scattered psychological and neurobiological work on memory to create a definitive overview of current knowledge. Reflecting the many levels of analysis at which this work is taking place, the book proceeds from the synapse to a review of the function and structure of neural systems and the organisation of cognition. Throughout, the author places current research in historical perspective, and identifies major ideas and themes that have emerged in recent years in order to provide a solid foundation for future investigations. The book is amply illustrated and contains a useful glossary. It will be of use in advanced undergraduate and graduate courses on memory, and to psychologists and neuroscientists desiring an account of memory that is informed equally by cognitive and neurobiological insights.