17 Jul 2019

book reviews: medical/science (feat. Adam Kay, Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell, Henry Marsh and Nigel McCrery)

Continuing the themed book reviews I'm intent on doing, this month, it's medical/science books. There are two types of non-fiction I absolutely adore reading: funny books and geeky books about medicine and forensics. The first one fits into both categories while the other three a bit more nerdy! So here we go!

This is Going to Hurt - Adam Kay


A colleague recommended this book to me so I knew I had to give it a good read. Spoiler alert: I was absolutely not disappointed by it.

It's a funny read from the beginning with an extremely sad ending. For anyone who is a junior doctor, the angst Adam Kay goes through is something we've all experienced. From feeling out of our depth to not being able to do our job justice due to work and time pressures all the way to losing patients we genuinely warmed to. At points, it hit a bit too close to home. The fact he manages to create humour from it is testament to him. Comedy's gain is the NHS' loss.

And for those not in medicine? It makes a light-hearted read (until you get to the end) and it will leave you wanting more. Parts of it have been embellished I'm sure, but the overall theme is one all junior doctors will experience nearly every day. 9/10


Silent Witnesses - Nigel McCrery


This forensics book is very different to many others I've read. Instead of centering itself around cases, it goes through each of the major technologies used in forensics, how they evolved and how they have helped solve cases throughout history. It's a different set-up and I actually really enjoyed it. It had the potential to be boring with a structure like that but it actually worked really well! 8/10


Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies and the Making of a Medical Examiner - Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell


As humans, we're all naturally curious (some more than others!) and we all have a dark side. This book brought those two traits of mine together. Judy does a good job of giving a bit of background to her patients and the processes used to come to a conclusion. I found parts of it heartbreaking - the chapter around 9/11 was a particularly difficult read. The fact that she knew her job would be ridiculously busy in the aftermath and knowing that all of the victims had to be identified with their families informed broke my heart a little. I found her job fascinating though - not a career I'm considering but can definitely see why it could appeal. 8/10


Admissions: Life As a Brain Surgeon - Henry Marsh


Having read Mr Marsh's first offering of Do No Harm, I knew I would eventually get round to reading his second book. It's a different one compared to his first. He talks more about Nepal and the work he's done overseas and there is an edge of frustrating to a few of the chapters. It's definitely not a light-hearted read but I wouldn't call it a heavy one either.

Mr Marsh practised at my medical school's hospital and knowing the area pretty well, I could actually picture parts of his book in my head quite vividly! He writes very well and is very engaging when it comes to telling stories from his own life as well as the story behind some of his patients too. 8/10


** all book covers from Amazon.co.uk **

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