35. Patient H.M. : A Story of Memory, Madness and Family Secrets

By Luke Dittrich

Rating: 5 out of 5

“Patient H.M. was, above all else, patient.”

H.M. is a famous patient.  In 1953, he was lobotomized in an effort to cure him of debilitating seizures.  I have heard of this man before, but I haven’t heard the whole story. This book is written by the grandson of the doctor. who performed this surgery.

The book is kind of jumping around in the first section, but this section ends like this:

The story of what they learned from patient H.M. and his incomplete brain, however, is itself greatly diminished without first learning the story of what led my grandfather to make those devastating, enlightening cuts.  That story is a dark one, full of the sort of emotional and physical pain, and fierce desires, that Patient H.M. himself couldn’t experience.  It’s a story that’s never been told, and even now, fingers on the keyboard, I hesitate. 

That emphasis at the end is mine.  I love that phrase.  It is just makes me want to read on.

I am really enjoying this book.  It is ostensibly about this famous patient H.M., but it covers a lot of the history of brain surgery, the history of trying to find out how the brain works, and the history of the author’s family.  I have a little trouble keeping track of all the scientists and doctors involved, but there is an index that helps me keep track.

This guy is a great storyteller, and he has some amazing stories to tell.

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33. Last Days of Night

By Graham Moore

Rating: 5 out of 5

This is a book of historical fiction about the events surrounding the development of the electric light bulb.

This book is excellent.  Most of it was information I didn’t know.  It is fictionalized, but it tells the story of this amazing rivalry in a manner that kept my interest.  It was hard for me to put the book down.

31.Orphan #8

By Kim Van Alkemade

Rating: 4 out of 5

I think I found this one on the local library book-club list.

This is pretty well written.  It is one of those books that alternates between the past and the present.  It does this reliably – one chapter in the past, the next in the present.  It has a theme running through it that I don’t care for, but that is my own personal taste.  It gets a little cheesy for me in chapter 20.

The last chapter is kind of cheesy, too.

30. Son of Hamas

By Mosab Hassan Yousef with Ron Brackin

Rating:  hmm…3.5 or 4 out of 5

This one was recommended by my pastor.

This is a pretty interesting story.  The author is a Palestinian Muslim by birth.  Later in life, he became a spy for the Israelis, then he became a Christian and moved to the US.  He has a very interesting perspective on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

 

29. Maisie Dobbs

By Jaqueline Winspear

Rating:  4 of 5

This month’s book club selection.  Said to be like The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, which I like.

Pretty interesting in the beginning, but starting to drag in the middle.

It got interesting again at the end.  Pretty well written and kind of based on experiences of the author’s family.  I would read the next one in the series.