Saturday, March 4, 2017

Dear Great Book Guru,  Last weekend, I attended a startlingly beautiful opera I was unfamiliar with: Dvorak’s “Rusalka”. Based on a Czech fairy tale of water sprites and human royalty,  this work has the most romantic music I have ever heard.  While waiting for the second act to begin, I overheard a group of people discussing a new book reviewed on NPR about psychosomatic illnesses. It sounds fascinating.Have you read it? 
Opera Lover in Search of a Good Book

Dear Opera Lover in Search…. Suzanne O’Sullivan, an Irish neurologist, has written IS IT ALL IN YOUR HEAD? - a look into seven patients’ histories of debilitating illnesses. In each case, the cause of the illness was a mind- body connection gone awry.  Rachel, a young dancer, suffers from chronic fatigue and finds her career in shambles but is it her body helping her mind deal with life’s stresses?  Does Matthew who can no longer walk suffer from MS or are his legs paralyzed by his fear of failing? The cases O’Sullivan presents show the intricate connections that exist between our bodies and brains. Tracing the evidence of psychosomatic disorders back through time, she sees a contradiction in the 21st century belief that “we can think ourselves better” and the generally accepted fact that our emotions can cause our physical ills. She ends with a less than satisfying but honest appraisal: “There is no single answer because there is no single cause.” Recommended

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