Reading Challenges

Canadian Books 8
July - June 2015



Comments for Born on a Blue Day

Born on a Blue Day: 11/15/12

 cover art (Link goes to Powells)Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet is the autobiography of the man featured in the Brainman documentary. As he recounts his childhood and early adulthood he outlines how Asperger's syndrome and synesthesia affect his day to day life and perceptions of things.

Most of the book focuses on his childhood, growing up in council homes with an ever growing family. Although one of his brothers also has Asperger's, that fact isn't mentioned until the end of the book. He talks instead about the loneliness at school, the teachers who didn't understand him and the bullying he faced.

Adulthood, though, offered opportunities. A trip to Lithuania to teach English helped him realize his talent for languages. Later in life he was challenged to learn Icelandic in a week — which he managed.

The latter third of the book focuses on the Brainman documentary as well as his work towards memorizing and reciting π to 22,500 digits (give or take). As he recounts his feats, he includes tangents about how he sees numbers as colored landscapes.

While I don't have synesthesia, the trick of imagining numbers (or words) as shapes and colors is a useful mnemonic — something I use while cataloging as copy cataloging involves the transcription of lots of different numbers.

I happened to listen to the audio, performed by Simon Vance — an English actor reading an English man's memoir. Unfortunately, I suspect that the edition I was listening to had been put through the American filter. It sounds wrong to hear an English man say van Gogh as "Van-Go" instead of "Van-Goff." It is just as disconcerting to hear the same man say "elevator" instead of "lift."

Four stars

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What Am I Reading
November 05, 2012

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