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Shelf Life May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2

UCSD BOOKSTORE - NEW & NOTABLE

Here are a few new and notable faculty books at the UCSD Bookstore.

The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human by V.S. Ramachandran, Psychology

Love him or hate him—and there are definitely people in both camps—V.S. Ramachandran is a force to contend with.

Dubbed the “Marco Polo of neuroscience” by Richard Dawkins, and recently named by TIME magazine to its 2011 TIME 100 list, Ramachandran was also awarded one of India’s top civilian awards and honorific titles: the Padma Bhushan. 

Ramachandran (often simply called “Rama”) works intensively with patients who have specific psychiatric or behavioral dysfunctions that might illuminate the functions of the normal brain.

His first book, the acclaimed Phantoms in the Brain (1999), coauthored with New York Times science writer Sandra Blakeslee and later turned into a PBS special, detailed his breakthrough work on the phantom limbs of amputees. His second book, A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness, based on the prestigious BBC Reith Lectures he delivered in 2003, considered synesthesia and Capgras delusion, among many other intriguing conditions and phenomena. His third and latest, The Tell-Tale Brain, treats all these and more.

The reviews are not all unequivocal in their praise, but as usual he has drawn some hard-to-beat superlatives, including the Financial Times reviewer who writes: “I cannot imagine a better account of the sweep of contemporary neuroscience.”

Breaking Out of Bedlam: A Novel by Leslie Larson, Muir '79

You might not think that the story, in the author’s words, “of an 82-year-old, 300-lb. chain-smoking, pill-popping widow who is forced into an assisted living facility by her children” would be much fun. But you might be wrong.

The New York Times says “it’s a kick.” Publishers Weekly calls it “delightful” and Kirkus Reviews describes it as “heartwarming and funny, with nary a slip into sentimentality.” Leslie Larson’s second novel, Bedlam, is now out in paperback.

Ancestral Leaves: A Family Journey through Chinese History by Joseph W. Esherick, History

Historian Joseph Esherick, author of The Origins of the Boxer Uprising and co-editor of The Chinese Cultural Revolution as History, traces his wife’s family, the Ye, whose name in Chinese means “leaf”—through 600 years of Chinese history, from the 14th century through the Cultural Revolution. Esherick draws on rare manuscripts and archival and oral history sources to create a unique and intimate glimpse into China. He wrote about the process of researching and writing the book in the May 2008 issue of @UCSD magazine.

Closing America's Job Gap Co-authored by Mary Walshok and Henry DeVries, Marshall '79, UCSD Extension

“America’s economic future does not depend on finding the next General Motors, General Electric or General Mills,” writes Mary Walshok and Henry DeVries in an op-ed in the San Diego Union-Tribune. In their book, the co-authors argue there is a “job gap” in the United States: U.S. innovation is creating good jobs but there aren’t enough American workers with the right skills to fill them. What’s needed, they say, are initiatives that support innovative small companies and retrain people
to be qualified for new technologies. Lifelong learning is key.

UCSD Bookstore

Visit the UCSD Bookstore online to purchase these titles and more. Look out for the monthly Alumni Special.

Man reading

ALSO NOTABLE

New Faces, New Voices: The Hispanic Electorate in America Coauthored by Marisa A. Abrajano, Political Science

Living with Complexity by Donald Norman, Cognitive Science (Emeritus)

Contested Reproduction: Genetic Technologies, Religion and Public Debate by John Evans, Sociology