Henry Marsh

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Mini Pin-It Reviews #26 – Four Random Books

Published October 14, 2018 by bibliobeth

Hello everyone and welcome to another mini pin-it reviews post! I have a massive backlog of reviews and this is my way of trying to get on top of things a bit. This isn’t to say I didn’t like some of these books – my star rating is a more accurate reflection of this, but this is a great, snappy way of getting my thoughts across and decreasing my backlog a bit. This time I’ve got four YA novels for you – please see my pin-it thoughts below!

1.) It’ll Ease The Pain: Collected Poems And Short Stories – Frank J. Edwards

What’s it all about?:

In an age of hyperbole and phoniness, Frank J. Edwards creates images and narratives that ring true, yet reveal life to be more interesting than we realized. Even if we have seen hundreds of TV shows about emergency departments, Edwards’ story “It’ll Ease the Pain” paints a portrait of one doctor’s 24-hour stint that is fresh and unforgettable.

Would I recommend it?:

Maybe!

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

2.) The Princess Saves Herself In This One (Women Are Some Kind Of Magic #1) – Amanda Lovelace

What’s it all about?:

“Ah, life- the thing that happens to us while we’re off somewhere else blowing on dandelions & wishing ourselves into the pages of our favorite fairy tales.”

A poetry collection divided into four different parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, & you. the princess, the damsel, & the queen piece together the life of the author in three stages, while you serves as a note to the reader & all of humankind. Explores life & all of its love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, & inspirations.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

3.) Admissions: A Life In Brain Surgery – Henry Marsh

What’s it all about?:

Henry Marsh has spent a lifetime operating on the surgical front line. There have been exhilarating highs and devastating lows, but his love for the practice of neurosurgery has never wavered.

Following the publication of his celebrated New York Times bestseller Do No Harm, Marsh retired from his full-time job in England to work pro bono in Ukraine and Nepal. In Admissions, he describes the difficulties of working in these troubled, impoverished countries and the further insights it has given him into the practice of medicine.

Marsh also faces up to the burden of responsibility that can come with trying to reduce human suffering. Unearthing memories of his early days as a medical student and the experiences that shaped him as a young surgeon, he explores the difficulties of a profession that deals in probabilities rather than certainties and where the overwhelming urge to prolong life can come at a tragic cost for patients and those who love them.

Reflecting on what forty years of handling the human brain has taught him, Marsh finds a different purpose in life as he approaches the end of his professional career and a fresh understanding of what matters to us all in the end.

Would I recommend it?:

Maybe!

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

4.) How To Be Human: The Manual by Ruby Wax

What’s it all about?:

It took us 4 billion years to evolve to where we are now. No question, anyone reading this has won the evolutionary Hunger Games by the fact you’re on all twos and not some fossil. This should make us all the happiest species alive – most of us aren’t, what’s gone wrong? We’ve started treating ourselves more like machines and less like humans. We’re so used to upgrading things like our iPhones: as soon as the new one comes out, we don’t think twice, we dump it. (Many people I know are now on iWife4 or iHusband8, the motto being, if it’s new, it’s better.)

We can’t stop the future from arriving, no matter what drugs we’re on. But even if nearly every part of us becomes robotic, we’ll still, fingers crossed, have our minds, which, hopefully, we’ll be able use for things like compassion, rather than chasing what’s ‘better’, and if we can do that we’re on the yellow brick road to happiness.

I wrote this book with a little help from a monk, who explains how the mind works, and also gives some mindfulness exercises, and a neuroscientist who explains what makes us ‘us’ in the brain. We answer every question you’ve ever had about: evolution, thoughts, emotions, the body, addictions, relationships, kids, the future and compassion. How to be Human is extremely funny, true and the only manual you’ll need to help you upgrade your mind as much as you’ve upgraded your iPhone.

Would I recommend it?:

Maybe!

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

COMING UP NEXT TIME ON MINI PIN-IT REVIEWS: Four Graphic Novels.

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Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery – Henry Marsh

Published September 27, 2014 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

What is it like to be a brain surgeon?

How does it feel to hold someone’s life in your hands, to cut into the stuff that creates thought, feeling and reason?

How do you live with the consequences of performing a potentially life-saving operation when it all goes wrong?

In neurosurgery, more than in any other branch of medicine, the doctor’s oath to ‘do no harm’ holds a bitter irony. Operations on the brain carry grave risks. Every day, Henry Marsh must make agonising decisions, often in the face of great urgency and uncertainty.

If you believe that brain surgery is a precise and exquisite craft, practised by calm and detached surgeons, this griping, brutally honest account will make you think again. With astonishing compassion and candour, one of the country’s leading neurosurgeons reveals the fierce joy of operating, the profoundly moving triumphs, the harrowing disasters, the haunting regrets and the moments of black humour that characterise a brain surgeon’s life.

DO NO HARM is an unforgettable insight into the countless human dramas that take place in a busy modern hospital. Above all, it is a lesson in the need for hope when faced with life’s most difficult decisions.

What did I think?:

I was recommended this book by a little app I use on my phone called 60sec Books which is a fantastic way of getting a quick snippet of what a book is about in, you guessed it, 60 seconds! I’m so glad I read it, it has to be my favourite non-fiction book this year and was my first read for “Real Book” August. The reader gets a glimpse into the world of prominent neurosurgeon Henry Marsh who works in what is for me, the scariest area of medicine, brain surgery. In this job, you have to be on the ball as you are working with the most complex organ in the human body. One little mistake can completely ruin the life of a patient forever or lead to the patient’s death. Each short chapter is superbly titled with a Latin terminology to describe a disease state or medical process, for example – Chapter 1 – Pineocytoma, and then there is a short definition underneath – n. an uncommon, slow-growing tumour of the pineal gland. Each chapter often mentions a case from the initial diagnosis, through to treatment and the outcome. Marsh describes each case with incredible compassion and real interest and is brutally honest about the mistakes that he has made as a surgeon. This could be something done by him directly such as a delayed diagnosis or letting a more junior surgeon take up the operating tools leading to disaster, but one he takes full responsibility for himself, as the lead surgeon.

Each case is so interesting to read about and I enjoyed the black humour and self-depreciating style that Marsh employed from time to time, an attitude he often takes which is important for him to be able to get through the dark times. Indeed, some of the cases were so heart-breaking or overwhelming that I often had to stop and take a break between chapters, just to absorb it all before I carried on. I did have a little laugh when he got on his soapbox about NHS management and the way hospitals are run. I salute you Mr Marsh! More people need to speak out about this issue and I admire him for doing so. Don’t be put off by this book being a bit too science-y, I think that it’s written in such a way that it’s easily accessible to everyone, no matter what your science knowledge is. For me, it’s a beautiful, honest and intriguing look at the world of brain surgery and I’d like to thank Henry Marsh for allowing us to have a little peep into his world.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

August 2014 – “Real Book” Month

Published August 1, 2014 by bibliobeth

bookstack

I am a lover of “real books.” Oh yes, you remember the things…with actual pages? Not that I don’t love my Kindle or admire its convenience especially on holidays, but there’s just nothing like the feel, smell and satisfaction of enjoying the real thing. Sigh! Anyway, before I get carried away, I’d like to tell you about the plan I have for the month of August, attempting to reduce the amount of books I have in my house – which are starting to take over by the way! So here are the books I will be attempting to get through this month…

Do No Harm: Stories Of Life, Death and Brain Surgery – Henry Marsh

The Shock Of The Fall – Nathan Filer

Delusions Of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference – Cordelia Fine

The Kiterunner – Khaled Hosseini

Battle Royale – Koushun Takami

The Vanishing Witch – Karen Maitland

The Private Blog Of  Joe Cowley – Ben Davis

Season To Taste or How To Eat Your Husband – Natalie Young

Kindred – Octavia E. Butler

Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA – Brenda Maddox

A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness

How To Build A Girl – Caitlin Moran