• Sun. Apr 14th, 2024

Susannah Cahalan’s Brain on Fire


Every so often there comes a book that changes your life: The Bible, Harry Potter,  The Bhagavad Gita, you know, books that really impact you.  Brain on Fire is that book.  Young Susannah Cahalan develops these outrageous biological and psychiatric symptoms that put her in the hospital.  From memory disturbances, to seizures, to full on paranoid behavior, Susannah throws her loved ones into complete chaos.  Brian on Fire is the account of these experiences as she recreates them from notes, interviews and other sources.  The problem is, she has absolutely no memory of this experience to draw from.

You can imagine how delighted I was to discover that we were going to get to host her at Towne Book Center and Cafe!  Here’s a link to my Youtube channel to watch her read an excerpt from her book.  Click here to go to my Youtube channel.  There’s also a short video of Susannah answering questions. Check it out!

Do you know what the greatest bit was about meeting Cahalan?  She’s a complete DOLL.  Like wanna be your bff type of person! She’s easy to talk to, real SMRT, and has a great sense of humor.  I told her that I was very excited to impress her with my outfit and had even tweeted that I hoped she liked leopard and plaid.  While I did not wear leopard and plaid, she was sweet enough to personalize my book:


Not sure if we had a good time or not? Here’s a collage I put together of the jocularity. We have two camera-shy employees so I covered their faces but the pics are too good not to share.

brain on fire Collage.jpg

Cahalan is a very busy young woman.  She’s writing her next book (more about medicine) does TedTalks, does grand rounds with docs, and has even worked with the doctor who invented her disease! Check out her website to see what she’s up to.  Check out this and other interesting videos about her strange illness here.

If you liked The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, this is the book for you!