Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Mini Reviews: Brain on Fire and Medium Raw

As I neared the end of 2013, there were a few books left hanging out there, unreviewed. They definitely deserve to be discussed, so let's get on with this non-fiction feast!

In her memoir, Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness, Susannah Cahalan chronicles some crazy shit. She's a smart, savvy journalist working for the New York Post when her health takes a drastic downturn. Erratic behavior, seizures, paralysis, and a host of other psychiatric and physical symptoms take her coherence and daily life to a place she never imagined.

If there's a book to feed your hypochondria, this is it! While her doctors were able to (finally) discover the nature of her illness, no one knows how it started. Cahalan makes some of her own observations and conjectures in this book, but not a soul can tell WHY.

This book was incredibly interesting and quick to read, and I admire Cahalan for her honesty. It's also fascinating and terrifying  to think that she became something of an unreliable narrator to her own life. She wrote this memoir by piecing together surveillance video, medical charts, interviews with her family and doctors, and any other scraps of info she could gather about the time she doesn't remember. 

If you need some non-fiction in your life, you need this book. 

Pub. Date: August 2013
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Format: Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9781451621389
Source: Bought it!

And y'all know I love me some Anthony Bourdain! I put off reading this book for-e-ver because I was afraid it couldn't live up to the books of his I've loved before. I enjoyed Kitchen Confidential for its snark and irreverence. I loved A Cook's Tour for the thoughtful writing and cultural reverence. And I adore Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and People Who Cook for its wisdom and honesty. And snark and irreverence. :)

The reader can tell Anthony Bourdain has grown and changed since that first  book. Kitchen Confidential was full of piss and vinegar, and there's plenty of that still readily apparent in Medium Raw, but Bourdain can also look back and reflect on those days with some distance and many a life change...a healthy marriage, a growing daughter, a lot more fame. 

If you love Bourdain, this one is just as good, if not better, than that book he's most famous for. Truly a treat. 

Pub. Date: May 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: E-book
ISBN: 9780061718953
Source: Bought it!

If you're interested in more thoughts on Medium Raw, check out my video below!

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