I’m not very fond of reading non-fiction medical books. Mostly because I have to read about physiology, pathology and anatomy every day anyway. Why would I relax with a spot of more medical reading? In fact my guilty pleasures are fantasy, sci-fi and supernatural genres. I guess being part of the generation that grew up with Harry Potter, what else could I expect?
However I recently started reading a novel of anecdotes written by a consultant neurosurgeon. I no longer get the time to read as much as I’d like to and so with the small amount of time I have, I realise I’ve become overtly fussy. So it was to my surprise and absolute delight that this novel turned out to be nothing like a dreary, self-gloating and full of medical jargon type novel. In fact it was engaging, down-to-earth, instantly relatable whether you are a doctor, a teacher, a lawyer, an engineer or vaguely human. It had anecdotes of course about the neurosurgeon’s various patients but it wasn’t the clinical work he highlighted, it was the emotional writing of his hopelessness, his elation, his success and his failures which kept me up until 4am reading his novel.
I don’t think I’ll be a neurosurgeon but whatever speciality I go into, I’ll be very excited to be on neurosurgery attachment – I’m curious after all to see for myself the quite unique and complex and sometimes too overwhelming scenarios that the novel explored.
‘Do no Harm: Stories of life, death and brain surgery’ by Henry Marsh is a good choice for any intellectual being, medically inclined or not.
Not to mention, Mr. Marsh actually works at the hospital which my medical school is attached to! I mean the medical school and hospital share a building. What a privilege it would be to meet him some day!
Also – what are you reading these days?