Click here to order from Amazon.
Hi All! Jason Evans here hosting your delicious Book Roast on this fine Wednesday.
Today, we're welcoming Dennis Cass to the hot seat!!
While he's getting situated.... (What's that Dennis? Oh, don't mind those cooking implements. They look scary, but they don't hurt. By the way, would you mind slathering on some of that olive oil?). As I was saying, while Dennis is getting situated, let me tell you about his book, Head Case. I went out and grabbed a blurb. Here's a taste:
Dennis Cass immersed himself in the world of neuroscience, subjecting himself to brain scans, psychological tests, and scientific conferences, as he attempted to gain a better understanding of ADHD, anxiety, stress, motivation and reward, and consciousness. Then things got a little weird. What began as a more clinical effort to understand himself soon became a personal and emotional journey into the fragile, mysterious workings of the mind and the self.
So, Dennis likes brains. I like brains too.
(Never eaten them though. Have you?)
We all know about the philosophical path to self-awareness. Head Case is the same journey, but through hard science and the measurable workings of the brain. Dennis explores the really uncomfortable questions, like what can we know about ourselves? How much do we even want to know? I like Coney Island hot dogs, for example, but I'm pretty sure I don't want to know what's in them.
Here's an excerpt:
I am not a scientist. When I was a boy, I went on field trips to the Seattle Science Center and watched the occasional nature show. I might have even enjoyed a book about dinosaurs. But by the age of twelve, whatever affinity I had for the scientific arts had turned into disinterest mixed with fear. Even though I went to a math-and-science high school, I hid in the English department, while in college I barely survived gut-level astronomy. Then science disappeared from my life for over a decade. Today the "latest findings" means an e-mail from a friend about the discovery of a 900-pound prehistoric guinea pig. Otherwise the sciences bring news that I would rather not hear -- stories about deadly rays and faltering ecosystems and genetic betrayal. If science can't provide an easy laugh, then I do my best to avoid it.
If I weren't such a stranger to science, I doubt my idea to learn about my brain would have affected me so profoundly. It was the summer of 2002 and I was at my desk in my home office in Minneapolis, suffering from the worst case of writer's block I had ever experienced. All the office toys and charms that were intended to inspire -- the picture my wife, Liz, took of my naked feet; my Greek good-luck eye; my Playmobil dragon -- instead mocked me with their empty whimsy. My mental frustration was so powerful it manifested itself physically. My vision was blurry. My jaw hurt. Instead of writing, I passed the morning torturing myself with an internal monologue of self-rebuke. I am truly astounded at how much you suck.
Then my brain offered a simple, clear thought, a question that I heard in my head as clearly as if I had said it out loud:How can you expect to live by your wits if you have no idea how your wits work?
Now for the contest! Answer the three following questions:
1) Describe Dennis' feet in an inspirational haiku.
2) Continue the internal monologue, beginning with the line, "I'm astounded by how much you suck." Limit, 100 words.
3) Are Dennis' wits automatic or manual?
It's time to feast! Let's get started!
(We'll be closing the contest in the neighborhood of 9:00 p.m., eastern time, US.)