December signals the approach of the cold days of winter and the beginning of the annual holiday mania. As theaters across the country launch their productions of the Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol,” TV networks air the holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” and retail stores and radios blast the seasonal music, I would like to offer you yet another option. It’s a book I’d like to call a “Dana classic”: The Bard on the Brain: Understanding the Mind Through the Art of Shakespeare and the Science of Imaging, by Paul M. Matthews, M.D., and Jeffrey McQuain, Ph.D.
What does “Shakespeare and the brain” have to do with the holidays? As we move through the holiday season, we’re all likely to experience many emotions, thoughts and memories brought about by music and gatherings with friends and families. Our senses will be activated strongly by traditional culinary delights and spirits. In The Bard on the Brain, through the beauty of some of Shakespeare’s greatest plays, we learn what brain science can tell us about our thoughts and feelings, memories both good and bad and the ways in which art and science together can provide us keen insight into the human mind.