BOOK REVIEW: Move by Caroline Williams

Move: How the New Science of Body Movement Can Set Your Mind FreeMove: How the New Science of Body Movement Can Set Your Mind Free by Caroline Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Amazon.in Page

This book presents a pop science accounting of some of the more interesting scientific literature on the benefits of moving one’s body – be it through dance, martial arts, walking, or otherwise. That being active is an important element of maintaining a healthy mind and body will come as no surprise. Still, there are a number of specific points this book makes that may come as a surprise to many, such as that those who do an hour of intense exercise a day but otherwise live desk warrior lives may not be as well off as they think.

As the topic (and the scientific literature from which the book draws) is huge, the author focuses specifically on the mental benefits of physical movement, both attitudinal / psychological benefits and cognitive benefits such as improved creative thinking or memory. I found the book’s organization to be beneficial, and – in particular – believe it was a smart move to include chapters on breath and rest – topics that are integral to a life of movement, but which might not spring to mind. Particularly, the chapter on breath discusses findings on synchronization of breath and movement more than does many books on breath or movement, as well as offering extensive discussion of the benefits of 3 and 6 breath per minute (bpm) breathing.

There are a lot of books out there on this subject – though usually they focus either on exercise or on a particular approach to movement. Those who read extensively on the topic may not find much that is new in this book. However, I think “Move” holds its own, and also distinguishes itself in some of its fine points of emphasis. Certainly, if one is looking for a book to introduce someone to the benefits of movement, this is a prudent choice.


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Mind-Breaking Poetry [Free Verse]

I need some mind-breaking poetry -
some Blake, some Dickinson,
some Yeats, some Whitman,
some Langston Hughes.

I need a poem that's a kōan, 
that makes the mind a mackerel fish,
and doesn't mind doing it.

I need a poem that sizzles
inside my bones.

Dreams All the Way Down [Free Verse]

I awaken from a dream
within a dream,
and I'm still dreaming --

dreaming that I'm walking
with the others,
the others that I'm told
are all me,
walking in some vaguely familiar
exotic destination

Of course, I don't know I'm dreaming.

I did wake up after all,
but it turns out that

it's dreams all the way down.

The Shimmer Space [Common Meter]

I fell into a deep dreamhole
amid the broad daylight,
and tumbled and tumbled, stumbling
out in the dark of night.

I lost so many hours of life
where reflections shimmer.
I could not breathe, nor could I float -
I, the swimless swimmer.

I dropped, lost in those reflections.
They were my mind's great curse,
luring me to a shimmer space
that I could not traverse. 

Wu Shih / “Nothing Special” [Free Verse]

a steady rain patters
into puddles
far below

i close my eyes,
listening for a
pattern

but it's chaotic -
 a random rhythm that
tugs at my eyelids,

lulling me into 
a dull state of mind

BOOK REVIEW: MonsterMind by Alfonso Casas

MonsterMind: Dealing with Anxiety & Self-DoubtMonsterMind: Dealing with Anxiety & Self-Doubt by Alfonso Casas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Amazon.in Page

Out: October 12, 2021

This comic offers a clever and insightful look at the voices inside one’s head. The use of cute graphic depictions of fears, doubts, and past traumas – along with lighthearted narrative analogies – allows the reader to explore the subject matter in a manner that is neither dry nor anxiety-inducing, in and of itself. This apparently autobiographical book shows how a comic artist, beleaguered by the monstrous occupants of his own mind, goes from being overwhelmed to learning to manage his mind.

At the end of the book there are a few pages of tips, both for dealing with one’s own anxieties but also for interacting with others who have intense embattled minds. It’s a book that may even be more beneficial for individuals without crippling issues themselves, but who know or love such individuals. The use of graphic depictions and adroit portrayals of anxiety may help individuals who haven’t faced severe issues to gain a better understanding of what goes on in the minds of those who do. Having said that, these “monsters” will be familiar to everyone on some level, though for many that that level doesn’t necessarily interfere with living their lives.

I’d highly recommend this book for anyone looking for a gentle and amusing introduction to the topic of the runaway mind. It’s delightfully drawn and amusingly told.


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