Adventures In Human Being by Gavin Francis


This is a proper interesting one, this is!

For all the med geeks out there, this one is a definite read! Recently one of Waterstones’ bestsellers (it was on one of the table thingys) this is quite a popular book at the moment and it has all its right to be.

Contrasting heavily with Do No Harm, I can say, this is ten times more scientific. I skipped a few pages at some parts because I simply wasn’t interested in the content and then was able to pick up when I found something I was interested in.

This felt more of a textbook with a splash of humor and mostly dry pages and a lot on ancient philosophies and so on.

It doesn’t sound like I enjoyed it, does it?

I did! I really did, but its dull and exactly what I would expect from a science based book.

If I had read this before Do No Harm by Mr Henry Marsh, I would have bloody loved it… but I didn’t so I didn’t love it. I enjoyed it.

It’s alright, alright?


When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi


Breathe. I love that word; it can be so versatile; powerful and desperate; a demand, statement or plea.




(Can you hear it?)

Breathing is essential to life; you don’t need to be a doctor to know that. In my opinion it is the easiest of our bodily functions to explain; when in exams I’m most likely to come across a question that looks something like this:

“Describe the pathway of air into the lungs and how the structure of the respiratory system and its function helps to aid the action of breathing.”

And if you’re stuck on a question; looking up for inspiration (bio pun 😉 ), and happen to be sitting in one of the chairs within a one desk radius of myself, you’ll notice when I come to answer this, my left hand will be pressed against my chest, my right hand against my middle and my eyes closed. Because I know if I breathe, my body will tell me the answer my brain can’t remember. Breathing is the most natural thing we can do; the first thing our body must learn to do when we are born. I have the answer; I am my own personal cheatsheet.

The beauty of studying the human body is that you have a human body.

Kalanithi was human; and his own body betrayed him by attacking itself. The function of breathing which was a God given right turned into a struggle; something which must have been earned by Taking Care Of Yourself and Not Pushing It Too Far Today.


To start with; it’s incredibly difficult to sum this one up but I’ll give it a try:

  • Human
  • Honest
  • Enlightening

But then it was SO MUCH MORE…

In this book of defiance, I became Kalanithi’s friend; and he mine. It could be considered a book of confessions of living and what it entailed to live very fully and be waiting for the peak; the peak you planned for; the car, the holiday, the leisure of finishing a task; and to be cut short of that; his mandate which he swore his life to; is infinitely unfair.

And whilst I half whispered/sobbed into the pages sometime around 3am “It’s not fair…” I was joined in unison by Kalanithi screaming on his knees in his own despair from the ink of his book, “IT’S NOT FAIR!”

A plea, demand and statement.

Paul Kalanithi’s book has an impossibly, important message for the immediate population; regardless of profession. Read it because you’re human, and seeing the world from the other end of the line really puts things into perspective.




Confessions of a Sociopath by M.E. Thomas


Now this memoir, well… I don’t know what to think.
This book really does open your mind to a world within our own that we hardly consider. It lets us into a deeper mindset that not all of us can comprehend, and I must admit I’m still have trouble coming to terms with it.But as an educational read… Wow.I don’t think this book can be summed up so easily as a good book because it’s deeper than that. It makes you think about how individual all of us are, how big our existence is in other minds.
It’s scared me a little if I’m going to be brutally honest, on a psychological level that really shows how politically incorrect our society can be sometimes, if not always. I wholeheartedly believe in the cause of this book, to make awareness of what we know them to be “sociopaths” and now that I’ve read this, I believe that term come with prejudice.
An eye-opening recommended read.



DO NO HARM: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery by Henry Marsh


I know, I know; this book is a bit out there when it comes to adventurous readers and a teen attached to YA. But, this book has changed me.
Honestly, though.
I feel that Henry Marsh has grasped the ability of writing an educational read and has left the boring monotone scientific books tend to adopt on the shelf. Not to mention he has been able to induce a sense of humanity and morality into his stories that we rarely expect to find in the guy cutting our heads open. No, there is a notion of compassion in his words.
His style is somehow relatable which may sound a little odd considering that he’s a brain surgeon (We’re not just talking any brain surgeon either, we’re talking THE brain surgeon, like this guy is legendary) and I am merely an 18 year old student! But yes, this book has made an impact on my life. It has made me more confident and even more willing and a little impatient to get started in the next chapter of my life which involves roaming corridors much alike to what Mr Marsh did in his career.
This book made me laugh out loud on the train, snorting into my pages as the commuter sitting opposite raised a curious eyebrow. I gasped out loud in horror and shock as a turned the page on the bus. This book reduced me to tears flowing continuously down my cheeks on the tube; so yes, in case you were wondering I AM THAT GIRL WHO CRIES INTO BOOKS ON PUBLIC TRANSPORT.
His accounts on his time spent as a surgeon have opened my eyes and without giving anything away and a risk of spoilers, to those wanting to read it my favorite chapters are “Gliblastoma” and “Medulloblastoma”.

And a note of my favourite quote “[on a brain surgeon’s life] You must learn to be objective about what you see, a yet not lose your humanity in the process.”

To all those interested in medical texts, careers in medicine, or even just for an interesting read; this is your ticket.
I thank you Mr Marsh. You ignite the flame of my dream when it fades with your memoir.