Tina Jordan
June 11, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

An Alchemy Of Mind

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Diane Ackerman
publisher
Scribner
genre
Nonfiction, Science and Technology

We gave it an A-

”Imagine the brain…that mouse-gray parliament of cells, that dream factory, that petit tyrant inside a ball of bone, that huddle of neurons calling all the plays, that little everywhere, that fickle pleasuredome, that wrinkled wardrobe of selves stuffed into the skull like too many clothes into a gym bag.” The first line of Alchemy is an eyeful and earful of what’s to come, as Ackerman (A Natural History of the Senses) marshals research to deliver a lovely, if meandering, discourse on brain science. As she touches on thought, memory, dreams, desire, and personality, Ackerman’s language is so graceful, so arresting, that it almost — but never quite — distracts from her subject.

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