Maggie O’Farrell – I Am, I Am, I Am.

What an amazing book! Seventeen brushes with death, and at the end of it I felt how wonderful it is to be alive! Maggie O’Farrell has created an emotional narrative experience through the occasions when she contemplated death, occasions that included her own childhood encephalitis, near drowning (twice), road traffic accidents (twice), severe perinatal haemorrhage, miscarriage (several), and so on. Perhaps we all have near-misses and are unaware of them – such as walking through the site of a terrorist attack an hour (or two weeks, or two years) before it happened. But the thoughts that arise if we become … Read more...

Christian Donlan – The Unmapped Mind

What a curious journey! Journalist Christian Donlan casts himself as an explorer of the brain in the aftermath of getting diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. He commits to a series of expeditions in order to learn more about dealing with a neurological disease, only to discover that it was all an avoidance strategy. Or was it? Nothing is ever certain for long as he investigates the shifting sands of MS and his reactions to it.

For sure, Donlan expands his (and our) knowledge of the brain, and myelin, and scans, and the history of MS. There is a brief exposition of … Read more...

The Man Who Lost His Body – BBC Horizon 1997

IanWatermanStillIan Waterman is famous for relearning how to walk and function despite having no sense of proprioception. He lost all his sensation below the neck at the age of 19 after contracting a virus when working as a butcher, but after years of effort and persistence he made himself independent again. This film (and book) is his portrait and story, the product of a detailed collaboration with neurologist Jonathan Cole.

Jonathan Cole has written a detailed portrait of nearly 200 pages (Pride and a Daily Marathon), comprising not simply the story of Ian Waterman’s recovery, but a … Read more...