Friday, May 9, 2014

Brain: The Man Who Wrote the Book That Changed the World

For inspiration, I did some crazy things before attempting to write my review of this book.

- I jumped up and down on the bed like a kid.
- I put my hands into a pitcher of ice water, then splashed some of the water on my face. 
- I tried to run up the hill backwards, to activate dormant parts of my brain. 
- I put the book under my pillow, to help me "dream up" a review while I slept.

In order to get my creativity flowing, I took this book to heart.  Surely I jest!  (Yep, I devised the antics above for dramatic effect.) 

In the book Brain: The Man Who Wrote the Book That Changed the World by Dermot Davis, protagonist Daniel Waterstone is a struggling writer who lives in Los Angeles.  He cares deeply about literature and his artistic integrity as a writer.  Daniel hopes to publish part two of The Impossible Dream series, with the help of his agent, Suzanne. 

In a crazed state of consciousness, Daniel writes a book called You Have a Brain--Use It!, under a nom de plume, Charles Spectrum.  His book is a satire, but people take it seriously, as a self-help book.  Although Daniel calls the book "garbage", people love it, and it becomes a best-seller.

The success of his book becomes a dilemma to Daniel, because he wants people to know the truth, that the book is meant as a parody.  Will his ideals survive in the contemporary world of publishing?  Or will Daniel Waterstone, now known as Charles Spectrum, "sell out" in order to sell books? 

What did I think of Brain?  It's a very funny book (it's won some awards for humor), but it's also thoughtful and thought-provoking.  Published in 2013, set in the present, it's a book about books, with a special appeal for book lovers.  When Daniel visits his elderly librarian friend, Mavis, she is wise and candid, as usual.

'If all we had was a literature section, then I'd be out of a job, along with the rest of the staff.'

It's a book about writing.  There are numerous references to writers in this book, like Melville, Cervantes, Chekov, Hemingway, Hughes, Dickinson, and others.  Daniel describes his experience while writing his best-seller, which made him laugh out loud at times. 

"The entire writing experience was like one he had never experienced before and he would be at a loss in knowing how to or in trying to replicate it."

It's also a book about publishing; Daniel's book is published by BubbledayBrain pokes fun at the publishing industry, which (according to Mavis) favors mystery, thrillers, and romance, rather than literature.  It also pokes fun at overly simplistic, downright zany self-help books.  Brain is quite humorous.  But there's a serious side to Brain as well. This incisive book will make writers think about writing, and it will make readers think about reading.  Along with the ample humor there's a purpose, to make us think about the quality of our writing and reading.  Award-winning playwright Dermot Davis has written a book that illustrates and dramatizes the issues that contemporary writers and readers face.  Brain gives us much to think about. 

Thanks to the author for sending me a complimentary copy of his book, for his guest post, An Insider's Look at Indie Publishing, and for his patience with my review post.  I think Brain could be brilliant on the stage.  For another review of this book, please visit Bookfoolery.

Thanks for reading! Your comments are welcomed.


  1. This sounds like a very entertaining book. With the tremendous growth of self-publishing this seems quite to the point.

  2. This sounds really good.I think that it does speak to modern pop culture's tendency to fall in love with silly and downright bad ideas.

    The beginning of your post made me laugh out loud!

    1. Brian Joseph, thank you for your comment! I had fun composing this review for Brain.

  3. Thanks for dropping by my blog to let me know about your post, Suko! I actually read it this morning and tried to comment but something went haywire. So glad you enjoyed the book as much as I did!

  4. This sounds like great fun for us book lovers -- thanks for posting about it/

  5. Adding this to my list. It sounds like something I'd enjoy a lot.

  6. this book sounds hilarious!! I worked in publishing while at uni, I must read it! ;)

  7. Sounds like such a fun read and I love the cover though the character pictured, presumably Brain, kind of puts me in mind of a slightly older relative of Harry Potter.

  8. It sounds like he created quite a dilemma for himself. Great review Suko.

  9. Thanks for the review - this does sound interesting. I do like reading books that focus ON books and writing.


  10. This sounds refreshingly different - and funny. Thanks for the review.

  11. Hhahaha.. SUko! I actually thought you did ALL that. But I kind of think it would be FUN to do with Aarya! You have just given me some crazy ideas...loL!

  12. I do like books about writing and this one sounds fun and quirky!

  13. This sounds great - funny, but a good book about the writing process. I need to check it out. Thank-you for the review.


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