ASK Musings

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March 2024



Mustn’t Grumble by Graham Lawton

Written by , Posted in Reviews

4 Stars

Best for:
Anyone who enjoys learning about little science facts and who enjoys a bit of humor with their writing.

In a nutshell:
Author Lawton examines the minor ailments that afflict all of us at one point or another, looking at their causes and treatments.

Worth quoting:
“Back in the day, before we caught up with our European neighbours and realised taht food was something to be enjoyed rather than endured, the only place in Britain where olive oil could be purchased was a pharmacy.” (this comes from the section on earwax)

Why I chose it:
I enjoy little pop science books.

The whole point of this book is that it explores MINOR ailments, so he doesn’t get into the big things like cancer or chronic illness unless as mentioned in passing (e.g. cancer briefly comes up when he’s talking about sunburn). The

This book took me much longer to get through than it should have, and that’s up to me and my attention space, not the writing. Lawton is a talented writer, able to make things like varicose veins and sneezing fits entertaining.

The book is divided into sections that look at pain; skin issues; ear, nose and throat issues; digestive concerns; illnesses; and what he calls self-inflicted wounds (this is where things like hangovers and razor burn are discussed).

I found the book to be genuinely interesting. I learned a few things, and just appreciated Lawton’s style of writing. I also appreciate the amount of research that went into this; overall he covers over 80 different types of ailments and injuries, which meant he had to know learn about over 80 different types of ailments and injuries.

I’d recommend this to anyone who finds such a topic interesting but who isn’t looking to dive super-deep into any one area.

CN: Suicide
An absolutely wild thing I thought I’d mention is that the front of the edition I purchased included a note about the author’s wife, who ended up with a very major illness called musculoskeletal nociplastic pain syndrome, which basically means her brain’s pain receptors got all fucked up, she was in horrible pain with no cause or treatment, and chose to end her own life. Like I said, wild, and I figured perhaps it would be worth mentioning as a warning to anyone who might pick up this book. The book was originally written before this happened, so his wife’s minor ailments are referenced a few times.

What’s next for this book:
I’ll keep it – might refer back to it on occasion when I’ve got a minor health issue that is bothering me.

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