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Tag: anatomy

Under The Knife by Arnold Van de Laar

In Under the Knife, surgeon Arnold Van de Laar uses his own experience and expertise to tell the witty history of the past, present, and future of surgery.
From the story of the desperate man from seventeenth-century Amsterdam who grimly cut a stone out of his own bladder to Bob Marley’s deadly toe, Under the Knife offers all kinds of fascinating and unforgettable insights into medicine and history via the operating theatre.
What happens during an operation? How does the human body respond to being attacked by a knife, a bacterium, a cancer cell or a bullet? And, as medical advances continuously push the boundaries of what medicine can cure, what are the limits of surgery?
From the dark centuries of bloodletting and of amputations without anaesthetic to today’s sterile, high-tech operating theatres, Under the Knife is both a rich cultural history and a modern anatomy class for us all.

Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!

I have read many medical history books before but none of them were as gruesomely interesting as this one. The juxtaposition of the gory surgeries and the dry writing makes for an excellent read. So many different surgeries are discussed in this book, it seems, that there should be something for everyone. If you are a fan of spurting blood, swollen intestines, gangrene, and reading about a man performing surgery on himself without anesthesia, then this book is definitely for you. If you are the squeamish type, stop reading immediately and find something else.

Each one of the 28 chapters discusses a different type of surgery, complete with history and famous examples. Some of the people van de Laar writes about are JFK, Bob Marley, Lenin, and Napoleon. I can honestly say that I learned multiple new facts in each chapter. This, plus the straight-up medical language (that may be incomprehensible to most people) made this book a winner for me. I have a medical background so this was an easy read, but I can see most people trying to figure out some of the jargon and getting discouraged. The author does provide many explanations and word sources (such as Latin or Italian) as well as a glossary at the end, but there is also a good deal of medical verbiage. The chapter also brings us into the present time, and how this surgery is performed using clean instruments and updated techniques.

As I mentioned before, the gore factor is extremely high. I don’t recall ever experiencing this level of detail, even in books containing Hannibal Lecter. A simple sentence telling us that the Sun King only bathed once or twice in his lifetime, and generously opened a window so a visitor could have fresh air speaks volumes. Can’t you just smell the stench from here?!?

There are also chapters on eunuchs, ancient Rome, and bloodletting. The detail in which van de Laar describes each procedure is magnificent. Facts just keep unrolling on the page, with minimal asides for the human detail found in so many other books written by doctors (such as Sandeep Jauhar or Atul Gawande). The book is nearly devoid of emotion; there are only procedures and facts.

I absolutely loved this book. I also may never be able to get some of the gory images out of my mind – but that’s ok.

Want your own copy? You can pick it up

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Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski

 

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 An essential exploration of why and how women’s sexuality works—based on groundbreaking research and brain science—that will radically transform your sex life into one filled with confidence and joy. Researchers have spent the last decade trying to develop a “pink pill” for women to function like Viagra does for men. So where is it? Well, for reasons this book makes crystal clear, that pill will never exist—but as a result of the research that’s gone into it, scientists in the last few year have learned more about how women’s sexuality works than we ever thought possible, and Come as You Are explains it all.

 

I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway! Thanks to Emily Nagoski and Simon & Schuster for contributing the book in exchange for an honest review.

There are many books out there claiming to be the best source of knowledge about the female body; but this one is pretty much on the money. Nagoski talks honestly about what women experience, and why. Her tenet is: we are all alike, but different,  we are all normal.

Women may get their knowledge  from social media,  and therefore have an unrealistic image to live up to. Women may feel “broken” because their bodies don’t react the way they think they should. This feeling is insidious and permeates the brain and hinders sexual pleasure.

Nagoski explains that women have a “brake” and an  “accelerator” and that they need to be aware of what hits them, in essence. She talks about “spectatoring” (thinking about yourself in a denigrating way during sex, effectively hitting your brake) and discusses how to love your body.

COME AS YOU ARE is an uplifting, celebrating, and positive book that all women should read.  The ideas she puts forth are simple, and she includes worksheets and questions in the book that the reader can use to help them along their journey to better self awareness.

The author includes a chapter on anatomy, which is very thorough and should educate even the most sexually aware person! She also debunks the myths that women’s pleasure is secondary to men’s, or that the purpose of a female is just to procreate. Her message gives women power on every page.

Intertwined with Nagoski’s wisdom are 4 fictional women, each experiencing a different problem. As the book progresses, each woman’s relationship progresses, concurrent with what the author is saying. This way the reader can see how the principles are applied in real life.

What makes this book different from other self help books is that the solutions are put forth for both the mind and the body. It won’t matter if your sex drive is low or high,  as the tenets will make many women feel better, both about themselves and about what they feel. Education goes a long way, and this is the author’s aim: to let women know they are normal, while teaching them why this is so. There can be no better message, especially in these times where the average female has a lot of negativity surrounding her. Every woman should read this book, then give it to their partner. There would be more happiness in the world if that occurred.

Want your own copy? You can pick it up [easyazon_link identifier=”B00LD1ORBI” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].

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