I've been so busy with work and travel that I've not had the time and focus for writing. We have been in Philadelphia for a family Thanksgiving. At the Penn Book Center a week ago, I came upon Stanislas Dehaene's Reading in the Brain. I'm only 100 pages in, but it has already taken top rank in my mental gallery of science books. It's a deep, serious work about brain architecture, perception, and cognition, but written without any pretense or pomp, direct, full of striking news about how reading is implemented in the brain. In these first chapters, Dehaene focuses on what is known about reading's implementation and on the experimental evidence for the findings. I'm looking forward for when he gets into how the design of writing systems is influenced by biological constraints, and how reading gets localized to the same particular brain region, which he calls the “letterbox,” across languages, writing systems, and cultures (He's already given a tantalizing preview regarding the localization of Kanji and Kana in Japanese reading).
My new skis, Black Diamond Justices with Marker Baron bindings, are waiting for me at Marmot Mountain Works in Berkeley. I'm not likely to be able to use them the coming weekend because I signed up for an ASI wilderness first aid class at Sugar Bowl, but I'll be in Whistler the following weekend, where they have been having the best early season in a long time. Now I just need the jet stream to behave to keep both pineapple express and deep freeze away.