Off the Stacks: ‘Shadows Bright as Glass’ by Amy Ellis Nutt

by Kim on June 4, 2011 · 8 comments

Post image for Off the Stacks: ‘Shadows Bright as Glass’ by Amy Ellis Nutt

I check out and buy a lot of books that end up getting returned or languishing on my shelves unread for reasons that have nothing to do with the book. I wanted to find a way to highlight those books, so decided to start a new weekly-ish feature called “Off the Stacks.”

Each week in “Off the Stacks” I’ll highlight one recent nonfiction that I want to read but, because I can only read so many books, may not get to try. I’m hoping that by highlighting titles this way, I can encourage other people to give the book a try, and, if it’s great, consider nominating it later this year in the Indie Lit Awards.

I’m still working out the details, so expect the format to make some shifts in the next few months. Let me know what you think!


Title: Shadows Bright as Glass: The Remarkable Story of One Man’s Journey from Brain Trauma to Artistic Triumph
Author: Amy Ellis Nutt
Publisher: Free Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster
Topics Covered: Neuroscience, psychology, philosophy

What It’s About: After a severe stroke,  chiropractor Jon Sarkin was transformed from a “quiet, sensible man” into “an artist with a ferocious need to create.” In the book, journalist Amy Ellis Nutt explores the most recent research into neuroscience and explores questions of identity and loss — how do we really explain who we are?

Why I Want to Read It: I heard about this book after reading an interview the author did with NPR’s Fresh Air and reading an excerpt. I’m curious about the way Ellis Nutt connects philosophy and neuroscience to explore identity — I’ve always loved books that combine hard science and social sciences together. Ellis Nutt is also a 2011 Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, which gives me great confidence that the writing will be beautiful.

Who Else Might Like It: Fans of science nonfiction, readers curious about the brain, anyone who questions where their identity comes from

Reviews: New York Times (which isn’t very enthused) | NJ.com (which is more excited) |

PHOTO CREDIT: GINNEROBOT VIA FLICKR

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Cass June 4, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Ooh, what a fun new feature! I don’t think this book is for me, but that cover sure is interesting.

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Kim June 5, 2011 at 12:42 pm

I love the cover of the book too. I have to take it back to the library in a couple of days, which I’m bummed about.

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Gwen June 4, 2011 at 6:48 pm

I am with Cass here, great idea for a feature! Just how much we don’t know about the brain baffles and intrigues me. Space isn’t the great unknown, our own minds is.

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Kim June 5, 2011 at 12:43 pm

My boyfriend is really into neuroscience and psychology, so I think that’s one of the reasons I’m so interested in this book. You’re totally right — it’s amazing all the things we don’t know about how our brains work.

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Maphead June 5, 2011 at 8:34 am

I agree with Cass and Gwen. It’s a great idea for a feature. I’m tempting to do something similar with my bog.

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Kim June 5, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Thanks! And yes, you should do something similar. I’d love to see what books on your radar, since I’m sure they’re different than mine.

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christa @ mental foodie June 5, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Funny! I recently borrowed Shadows Bright as Glass from the library. Haven’t gotten around to reading it yet as I have other books lined up first, and now have to return it because someone else has reserved it!

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Kim June 7, 2011 at 7:15 pm

That’s the same thing that happened to me! So frustrating.

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