review of Patrick House's book Nineteen Ways of Looking at Consciousness

Named in homage to Nineteen Ways of Looking at Wang Wei, this book contains 19 short essays on consciousness. Ostensibly, a single experiment—the case of a patient who was artificially induced to laugh during brain surgery—serves as a common touchpoint to unify the essays, but I'm not sure how successful it is in shedding light on that case or consciousness in general. House is a clever writer, but because the ideas are presented in the form of poetic prose rather than precise argument, it's difficult for me to get a clear sense of what the questions are, what the proposed answers are, and how those answers are to be assessed. What I took away from the book instead is a menagerie of little facts: