This is Your Brain on Music by Daniel J. Levitin (233)

This is a book about the science of a human obsession. It is a comprehensive scientific understanding of how humans experience music and why it plays such a unique role in our lives.

In this book. Levitin unravels the mystery of our perennial love affair with music. But should we call it instead a love/hate relationship with music?  Every have a song you couldn’t get out of your head? Throughout history, certain music has been deemed subversive and even outlawed. Where does the power of music come from?

This investigation of the role of music in human evolution and everyone’s daily lives synthesizes psychology, neuroscience, and musical examples from Mozart to Eminem. Levitin explains the elements of music, pitch, rhythm, tempo, timber, harmony, and melody. Then building on his own research and those of his colleagues, he explores the perception of music in the human brain.

This is a book that should be read by anyone who is interested in why music is so important to us. It is a book that should be read and reread by people who are interested in the psychology of music and how we perceive it. I loved the book and will recommend to music lovers within my circle of friends.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth


Posted in Author from Montreal, music, Psychology of Music | Leave a comment

The World in Six Songs by Daniel J. Levitin (232)

This is another book by Daniel Levitin.  It is a book about the brain and how music influences it and vice versa.

According to Levitin, our brains made music, art, science and society possible. He uncovers six fundamental ways that songs communicate emotion and ideas. These are:

  1. Songs of Friendship
  2. Songs of Joy
  3. Songs of Comfort
  4. Songs of Religion
  5. Songs of Knowledge
  6. Songs of Love

His book mixes cutting edge neuroscience, his own sometimes hilarious experiences in the music business, and illuminating interviews with experts from Sting and David Bryne to conductors, anthropologists, and evolutionary biologists. In the process, Levitin reveals the prehistoric, elegant systems at play when we sing and dance at weddings, cheer at a concert or tune out privately with an iPod.

I loved this book. Being musically minded myself and loving the songs that are played on the radio and at concerts, I can completely attest how music can be such a wonderful celebration.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted in Author from Montreal, Brain and Consciousness, music | Leave a comment

A Field Guide to Lies by Daniel J. Levitin (231)

This book is all about how to think critically in the information age.  Things are usually coming at us so fast, that it is hard to think critically. However, we must try to do so as much as possible.

We are bombarded by more information each day than the mind can process. It’s raining bad data, half-truths, and even out-right lies. As one of our most trusted guides in the information age,  the author shows us how to recognize misleading news stories, statistics, graphs, and websites, revealing the surprising ways lying weasels can make it so difficult to separate the wheat from the digital chaff.

This is a book about how to determine if we are presented with pseudo-facts, distortions and falsehoods and when we are in the midst of reliable information. This book tackles misinformation in two categories: the numerical and the verbal.

This is a book that should be read by anyone who is interested in how to be the best that we can be by deciphering facts from non-facts and to determine what and who we can trust and who and what we can’t trust.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted in Author from Montreal, Critical thinking, Digital media | Leave a comment

Save Your Mind: Seven Rules to Avoid Dementia by Dr. Antoine Hakim (230)

With dementia and Alzheimer’s increasing at a rapid rate in Canada and the US, this book is an important contribution to the health of Canadians. The positive message is that it is possible to avoid dementia if only we follow Dr. Hakim’s seven rules.

The seven rules are commonsensical yet hard to bring about.  They are as follows:

  1. Grow your brain’s capacity for cognitive functions
  2. Reduce the debit calls on your mind
  3. Monitor and tame your blood pressure
  4. Eat right, weigh light, and stay bright
  5. Move your hind to save your mind
  6. Sleep enough if you want to think with ease
  7. Socialize and feel useful–loneliness and depression can make you crazy

By taking these steps, you will be taking better care of your health and well-being. But what is more, you will be able to avoid dementia, and that is something that we should all strive to achieve.

In this practical and informative book, Dr. Antoine Hakim, a top Canadian neurologist, explains how following these seven specific rules to exercise the brain and body can help you avoid dementia and the loss of control that accompanies this brain disease.

Readers will also learn how to build a cognitive reserve to protect their minds from injury such as stroke, and how it is possible to reverse some of the early signs of dementia.

This book is easy to understand and can be read by all Canadians in order to ensure that their mind is the healthiest.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth


Posted in Author from Ottawa, Courage and strength, Creating Balance, Dementia, Health | Leave a comment

Where Will I live? By Rosemary McCarney (229)

Every child and adult needs a home. Children need somewhere safe where they can be happy, eat their meals with their family, play with their toys, and go to sleep at night without being afraid that their parents or friends won’t be there the next morning.

but many children all over the world have had to leave their homes because they are no longer safe. Because of war and conflict, they and their families have become refugees.

For them, life is hard and full of questions. In spite of everything, they find time to laugh, play, and make friends. And most importantly, they have hope that somewhere someone will welcome them to a new home.

Given all the dislocation we now have with migrants, this is a timely book that is inspiring and very honest. It shows how some kids live as they flee their homes and how dangerous it is for them for a long time until they arrive at a place where they can feel safe.

It is important for kids to visually see how hard some kids have it in some parts of our world. This should fill them with gratitude for what they have. But it should also help them to be kind and patient with kids who arrive at their school from other parts of the world.

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted in Migration, Nonfiction, Picture Book, Refugees | Leave a comment

My Canada: An Illustrated Atlas (228)

This is an endearing book for kids that is informative and inspiring. And it is just in time for our 150th Birthday!

This is a book that all readers, even adults, will learn a lot about the different provinces in Canada.

For instance, where can you find a goose that stands nearly three storeys high? Where can you find a forest made completely of signposts?  Where can you find a beach with sands that sing?  You can journey right across Canada without leaving your home!!

The book is also written in a very whimsical and informative way. It is a wonderful introduction to our country from seas to sea. Each province and territory has its own full-page map packed with iconic landmarks, places of interest, key lakes and rivers, animals and much more.

This lively picture book lets readers leave their suitcases behind and explore Canada one map at a time. Along the way, armchair travellers of all ages will discover the wonders that make our country unique.

I loved this book and I love all books about Canada. And now that we are 150 years young, I am sure there will be a lot more books like this one that will give the reader the honour of finding out more and more about our wonderful country.

What a wonderful country this is!  I definitely love it more and more as I am reading more and more about it.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth




Posted in Author from Newfoundland, Author from Ontario, Culture in Canada, Educational book, Geography, History | Leave a comment

Smarter, Faster, Better (227)

51JktCRRHrL[1]Smarter, Faster, Better is an important book for everyone who is interested in what it takes to be the most productive person that we can be in all areas of life. Motivation is a popular topic in the literature currently. It seems that we all want to be more productive and to thrive.

What do productive people have in common with each other? They all know that productivity lies on making certain choices. We want to be genuinely productive and not merely busy. What separates us from the productive and non-productive is the way we frame our daily decision, the big ambitions we embrace and the easy goals we ignore, and the cultures we establish as leaders to drive motivation.

In this book, Duhigg explores eight key concepts that explain why some people view the world and their choices  very differently.

I loved this book from beginning to end. I am always interested in books on focus and productivity. It is one of those topics that always fascinates me since I wear a lot of different professional hats from teaching to writing academically and creatively. In all of these professions, I always try to be the most productive person that I can be.

This book is published by Doubleday Canada.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted in Courage and strength, Creating Balance, Critical thinking, Culture in Canada, Emancipation, Empowerment, Excellence, Nonfiction | Leave a comment