Tastes Like Music: 17 Quirks of the Brain and Body by Maria Birmingham illustrated by Monika Melnychuk

I'm trying to run an open ended book club at our school. As is usual, many student sign up, but then some drop out. In spite of this, our numbers continue to increase as new students ask to join. The collection of books we are reading is fluid, although we do have a basic collection that includes a bins of information and fiction. 

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I try to keep up with these voracious readers but it's nearly impossible. I've decided to at least try and read some of the information books. Ever since someone close to me had a traumatic brain injury I've been fascinated by how our brains work, so Tastes Like Music jumped out at me. 

At a structural level it works well. It has a table of contents and an index, although it's missing a glossary. I like how the pages are laid out in chunks of text for readers to peruse. Each colourful page spread deals with a specific ability or trait. There are headings, subheadings, fact boxes, and lots of elucidating illustrations. I especially appreciated the sidebars titled, What's It Like, where we are introduced to individuals with this particular trait, and find out what it is like to live with it.

The easy to read text is loaded with fascinating information. Did you know that there is a condition called prosopagnosia? People with it can't recognize faces, not even their own. Or have you ever heard of Alice In Wonderland Syndrome? Lewis Carroll is thought to have had it, and that is what inspired the book. Did you know that most people tend to think their hands are shorter and wider than they really are?

What's missing? Well, the glossary as I mentioned earlier. I also wish that there were some real photographs and captions.

All that aside, this is a very interesting easy read. It's filled with fascinating information that makes you want to share snippets of it with those around you. Did you know, for example, that there really is such a thing as exploding head syndrome, and it has nothing to do with reading too many books? 

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