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Andy Levy's headache book no headache

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The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post have chosen Butler Professor of English Andy Levy's memoir A Brain Wider Than the Sky as one of the best books of 2009.

In the book, Levy writes about his history with, and the history of, migraines.

The Post called the book "a harrowing descent as Levy changes from a man who has suffered from occasional headaches into the victim of an unremitting, four-month-long, life-altering migraine." The Journal said Levy "provides an eloquent treatise on a malady that affects more than 1 in 10 Americans."

Levy said the migraine "completely takes over your brain, and then it goes away and leaves your brain refreshed. It's like: What just happened? And why do I have no control over this?"

To find out, Levy wrote, he scoured "everything from two-thousand-year-old medical textbooks to medieval religious texts translated from Latin to semi-autobiographical novels by surrealist painters. Glossy art books. Thick biographies. Books of ancient incantation and of cutting-edge neurology. And lots of letter collections."

Levy has suffered from serious episodic headaches since his early 20s (he's 46 now), A Brain Wider Than the Sky deals mostly with a debilitating four-month period during 2006 when his recurring migraines made even simple acts like eating painful.

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