I’ve been reading some fascinating books recently.
The first was Iain McGilchrist’s The Master and his Emissary published by Yale University Press.
This book is all about the brain and believe me, it’s not for the faint hearted. I know a bit about medicine and the discipline of neurology, but the author of this book is in a league of his own. Here’s what Prof A C Grayling said in his review: “It embraces a prodigious range of enquiry, from neurology to psychology, from philosophy to primatologist, from myth to history to literature..”
I’m a night time reader and I found that after just reading two or three pages of this book, my brain could take no more and I’d fall asleep like a child. Not out of boredom, but because of the sheer density of fact and erudition that I’d just absorbed. I suspect that it took me several hours of sleep to allow my subconscious to sort out what I’d just read. Several weeks later I completed the book and let out a small cheer which temporarily distracted my wife from her Kindle. Nevertheless, I feel so much wiser for having completed such an Herculean task.
The second book which I am currently reading is called How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan and published by Penguin Press. It’s about Magic Mushrooms and other associated psychedelic drugs. But before you think I’m trying to relive the ‘Sixties (I wouldn’t remember it anyway) this is a well researched book and picks up on recent scientific publications which are showing some remarkable results when using these medications IN MEDICALLY CONTROLLED SITUATIONS, in cases of Depression, Addiction and End of life anxiety issues. The results are truly dramatic. The book poses the question of what is consciousness and how do we perceive it.
I know that when I write my books I am mildly surprised to discover all these characters and situations that have been “living in my head” for so many years without my knowledge of them. The more we study the brain the more intriguing and amazing we find it to be.
Inside each of our heads is a unique and parallel universe which we so often limit by constantly aping other peoples imaginations and other people’s ideas. We each have our own unique gifts, insights and talents which can be augmented and stimulated by reading, music, nature, other cultures, religion, meditation - the list is a long one. When we look at an infant in a cot and watch the sheer wonder in their face as they watch the sunlight through the leaves on a tree, that’s the sort of wonder that each of us still have within our own minds - it’s just that it’s been caked with layer after layer of other peoples expectations and fear of our own failure.
Reading such books, difficult as they sometimes are, helps expand our understanding of who and why we ‘are’.
Finally, earlier this week, I held in my hand the third book in my Renaissance Brothers series. It was such a good feeling. You should try it!
A film about Charles Dickens is always a good thing in my book - if you excuse the pun - and I’ve no doubt that one day some insightful film Director will be working on a script from one of my books, but lets not get too far ahead our ourselves!
“The man who invented Christmas” has been released in the cinemas and I can’t wait to see it. The storyline is quite powerful so don’t let the humor gloss over some challenging subjects which are particularly relevant in the current social climate. But in the end, its all about
And if you’re going to see the movie then you MUST get a copy of my book called Mr Dickens, which looks at another facet of the life and times of Charles Dickens, and which also concludes that HOPE is such a vital ingredient in all of our lives.
Let me know what you think of the book and the film.
Earlier this week I went to Doughty Street in London, home to Charles Dickens during a part of his early life.
It was a special moment but one of many that I am having with the book. This weekend it's off to Yorkshire and the home of the infamous Dotheby's Boys school. C H Dickens precipitated many important social changes. In his own quiet way, Mr Dickens is doing the same.
Amazon is a Giant! It's doing great things for millions of people worldwide and it's helping me get my new book - Mr Dickens - out into the big wide yonder. So thanks Mr Amazon for helping make it happen.
But Mr Amazon, I have a problem too.
I need you to remove a book from my author page (it's complicated thing but essentially the Publisher of that book has failed in its contractural obligations and therefore voided our agreement), but it appears that it's far easier to publish a book than to have that book removed from Amazon. I have pointed out that I wish to replace that edition with my own self-published edition, which would mean that the book is still available, it's just that my ex-Publishers wont be creaming any royalties which they patently do not deserve.
Maybe there are others "out there" who have similar challenges in regaining control over their own products.
But in the bigger scheme of things, I'm one happy little Vegemite - it's an Aussie saying and means that I'm really happy. I have my new book published, three more ready to print and two in the process of being written.
Why am I doing all this?
After 40 years of helping people as a Family Doctor, I know that there a too many people who are "doing it tough." I want to reach as many people as I can and offer a light to those who are living in a dark place.