First Two Books of 2007

We have finally beaten the house into enough submission that I can sit down and read a few pages in good conscience, thank god.

Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life On The Inside by Katrina Firlik is the autobiography of a neurosurgeon. It's well-written and interesting if you're like me and are fascinated by the workings of the human body and the freaky things that happen to it. Sometimes I wish I had done something more brainy in university, and that I was something more impressive now, like a Doctor or a Lawyer (not really), but this book made me glad I'm not a neurosurgeon, or really any of the emergency-oriented medical specialities. I love my easy, predictable, homey life and I would hate to work long hours and be on call all the time. Although the saving people and being really important part would be cool.

I went to Katrina Firlik's website and found these funny little drawings of neurosurgery-related objects juxtaposed with objects in nature. Also the UK title for this book, Brain Matters: Adventures of a Brain Surgeon, is a hundred times better than the North American title.

Cockeyed: A Memoir by Ryan Knighton is another autobiography, this one by a guy who started going blind in his teens and is now completely or almost completely blind. It chronicles the hijinks that ensue when you mix normal teenage stupidity with unreliable eyesight, when you get a bunch of blind people together at Blind People Camp (blind Tai Chi, anyone? Blind canoeing?), and the deep, deep badness of going to South Korea to teach English with your girlfriend and pretend you're not blind.

This book made me laugh until I wept; I could hardly tell Blake what I was laughing at. Knighton is a brilliant writer and has a real knack for describing the inherent slapstick of blindness, without making you feel like an asshole for laughing at it. He is also unflinchingly honest about his own behavour and emotions, and the effect he has on others. I think I will try and find other stuff he has written and see how he deals with other material. I hope he has children and writes about them, actually, because I bet that would be hilarious.


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