Life rarely goes to plan, and even when it does, nothing stands still — change is our only constant. This month in our recent health picks you’ll find stories of health journeys (which are life journeys — sometimes we find ourselves places we don’t expect to), and memoirs, plus lots of useful information. Have a browse — sometimes someone else’s story is exactly what we need to situate ourselves and find our way.
Adventures in memory : the science and secrets of remembering and forgetting / Østby, Hilde
“What makes us remember? Why do we forget? And what, exactly, is a memory? With playfulness and intelligence, Adventures in Memory answers these questions and more, offering an illuminating look at one of our most fascinating faculties. The authors–two Norwegian sisters, one a neuropsychologist and the other an acclaimed writer–skillfully interweave history, research, and exceptional personal stories, taking readers on a captivating exploration of the evolving understanding of the science of memory from the Renaissance discovery of the hippocampus–named after the seahorse it resembles — up to the present day” (adapted from Catalogue)
Flash count diary : a new story about the menopause / Steinke, Darcey
“Menopause hit Darcey Steinke hard. First came hot flushes. Then insomnia. Then depression. As she struggled to understand what was happening to her, she slammed up against a culture of silence and sexism. Flash Count Diary is a powerful exploration into aspects of menopause that have rarely been written about, including the changing gender landscape that reduced levels of hormones brings, the actualities of transforming desires, and the realities of prejudice against older women” (adapted from Catalogue)
Lifespan : why we age – and why we don’t have to / Sinclair, David
“…Dr. David Sinclair reveals that everything we think we know about ageing is wrong, and shares the surprising, scientifically-proven methods that can help readers live younger, longer. For decades, the medical community has looked to a variety of reasons for why we age, and the consensus is that no one dies of old age; they die of age-related diseases. That’s because ageing is not a disease – it is inevitable. But what if everything you think you know about ageing is wrong? What if ageing is a disease? And that disease is curable…” (adapted from Catalogue)
A mild touch of the cancer / Downs, David
“An amazing account of Davids battle with terminal cancer, as documented in a highly successful blog, with over 100,000 followers. (Spoiler alert he lived.) With guest sections by some of NZ’s most well-known comedians, including Jeremy Corbett, Michele A’Court and Paul Ego, and an introduction by The Amazing Race’s Phil Keoghan. Written with joy, curiosity and humour, this isn’t a story about cancer, it’s a story about living with optimism.” (Catalogue)
Second lives, second chances : a surgeon’s stories of transformation / Laub, Donald R.
“Second Lives, Second Chances is more than just a memoir; it’s a testament to how the determination of one person can bring others together to make a lasting difference in the world. Through his work in plastic and reconstructive surgery, Dr. Donald Laub changed the lives of thousands of people who had been shunned by society. Dr. Laub’s influence fostered the development of three key areas in the surgical profession: pioneering and influencing international humanitarian medical missions in the developing world, being at the forefront of gender affirmation surgery for transgender people since 1968, and the education and training of over 50 plastic and reconstructive surgeons. His unstinting efforts to surgically correct cleft palates gave new lives to thousands of children in developing countries…” (adapted from Catalogue)
Am I dreaming? : the new science of consciousness and how altered states reboot the brain / Kingsland, James
“When a computer goes wrong, we are told to turn it off and on again. In Am I Dreaming?, science journalist James Kingsland reveals how the human brain is remarkably similar. By rebooting our hard-wired patterns of thinking – through so-called ‘altered states of consciousness’ – we can gain new perspectives into ourselves and the world around us. From shamans in Peru to tech workers in Silicon Valley, Kingsland provides a fascinating tour through lucid dreams, mindfulness, hypnotic trances, virtual reality and drug-induced hallucinations. An eye-opening insight into perception and consciousness, this is also a provocative argument for how altered states can significantly boost our mental health.” (Catalogue)
Mercies in disguise : a story of hope, a family’s genetic destiny, and the science that rescued them / Kolata, Gina Bari
“In Mercies in Disguise, …Gina Kolata tells the story of the Baxleys, an almost archetypal family in a small town in South Carolina. A proud and determined clan, many of them doctors, they are struck one by one with an inscrutable illness. They finally discover the cause of the disease after a remarkable sequence of events that many saw as providential. Meanwhile, science, progressing for a half a century along a parallel track, had handed the Baxleys a resolution not a cure, but a blood test that would reveal who had the gene for the disease and who did not. And science would offer another dilemma; fertility specialists had created a way to spare the children through an expensive process…” (adapted from Catalogue)