Saturday, 13 July 2013

Book Club Update - Summer Films & Essays

Hello, hello one and all.

Sorry for the delay in this posting.... I have been enjoying the lovely sun we Brits are enjoying for a few days. Actually, being a red head I spontaneously combust in sun and start to feel dizzy after about 5 minutes - but - I'm still determined that one day, one fine day, I shall get a tan.


Last months' Book Club Meeting was a joy. We unanimously agreed that we loved Levy's book 'A Brain Wider Than The Sky', indeed several of the group are going to buy it for non-migraine boyfriend/family members as christmas gifts (lucky them) as we all felt it so beautifully, and vividly describes a life with migraine. As always, the chat brought up a myriad of topics from the guilt we feel, relationships and even the use of the word 'migraineur'. I shall be blogging more on that later. To read my initial review of the book click HERE, and for those of you would couldn't make the chat but want to 'join in' - you can read the highlights of her conversations HERE. I'm still thinking about this book - it really resonated with all of us, even though we all decided that the ending was a bit of a let down. But we each found something to connect to. I, for example, was pleased to see that Levy also got nosebleeds when on Topamax...not that I'd wish nose bleeds on another.

So, NEXT time we are going to be watching a film! It's summer, our brains need a break. The film is
'Love And Other Drugs' which actually revolves around a young Parkinson's patient, and is based on the book "Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman". I think it will be fascinating to look at another chronic, neurological problem, as well as watch Jake Gyllenhaal get his kit off.

To give our brains a bit of a stretch we'll be looking at Virginia Woolf's essay on 'Being Ill'. It's quite tricky to find copies. I have, however, found this edition which also features the essay: "Notes from a Sick Room" by Julia Stephen, Woolf's mother - who was a volunteer nurse in Victorian England and wrote a guide to caregivers. This edition also features what look to be fascinating essays by biographers and the director of narrative medicine at Columbia University.

Virginia Woolf

I've wanted to read 'On Being Ill' for a long time, not only because Virginia Woolf suffered with migraines, but because the following is, to me, incredibly profound:

“Finally, to hinder the description of illness in literature, there is the poverty of the language.  English, which can express the thoughts of Hamlet and the tragedy of Lear, has no words for the shiver and the headache.  It has all grown one way.  The merest schoolgirl, when she falls in love, has Shakespeare or Keats to speak her mind for her; but let a sufferer try to describe a pain in his head to a doctor and language at once runs dry.  There is nothing ready made for him.  He is forced to coin words himself, and, taking his pain in one hand, and a lump of pure sound in the other (as perhaps the people of Babel did in the beginning), so to crush them together that a brand new word in the end drops out.  Probably it will be something laughable.” 

We shall be 'meeting' on:
Tuesday August 13th at 6pm UK time and 1pm USA time.
I'll post directions on how to join the chat nearer the time, but more information can be found on the main 'Book Club' page.

Happy viewing and reading. And don't forget to wear a hat, drink lots of water and put on sun screen in this heat!

Here is the trailer for 'Love and Other Drugs'



  1. hooray I have that film on DVD (any excuse to watch Jake get his kit off!) I am determined to make it to this one having missed the last meetings - looking forward to it

    1. Hi Claire - so glad to hear you'll be joining us!


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