Over the last 3 years, I have developed a keen interest in reading. I was a teenager that was repulsed by the sight of books and never quite understood why anyone would ever read a book instead of opting for more digestible packages of the same information such as a movie or a documentary. Three years into my born-again bookworm life, I can confidently say that reading is the hobby that gives me the greatest return on investment. I’ve read about 50 books in 2022 on a range of topics, both fiction and non-fiction. Here are my top 5 recommendations.
- Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond
Have you ever wondered to yourself, why is the world the way it is right now? Why do white-dominated Western powers seem to rule the world when societies elsewhere struggle? This book explains it all. Jared Diamond walks you through the development of the human species as it spread out of Africa and populated other parts of the world. He goes into detail about how the environment shaped human fortunes and played a significant role in the progress that could be made in the fields of agriculture and technology. If you would like to make more sense of the world, start here.
- The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka
This is the winner of the Booker Prize 2022 and was written by Sri Lankan author, Shehan Karunatilaka. Based in the midst of the Sri Lankan Civil War, the protagonist, Maali Almeida, reflects on his life from a realm between life and death as he tries to figure out how he died (not a spoiler, I promise!). It surgically exposes many of the prejudices that still riddle South Asian culture and keeps you hooked throughout.
- Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
I read this book for the second time this year. Reni Eddo-Lodge eloquently explores the reality of living at the intersections of several marginalised groups and takes us through the frustrating barriers that arise whenever she attempts to discuss issues relating to race. It helped me realise that the prejudice faced by an individual is not based solely on their race, but also on their class, gender, sexual orientation and more. It helped me challenge my views and engage in more productive conversations about race.
- War Doctor by David Nott
Given that I work as a doctor, I rarely read medical books in my spare time. War Doctor, however, is far from a medical book. David Nott is a Welsh surgeon who has spent his life working in some of the most dangerous conflict zones in the world. In this collection of memoirs, he reminisces upon his incredible career and opens up about the psychological strain placed on him by the horrifying events he bore witness to. Inspiring read for anyone, medic or not.
- Queer Intentions by Amelia Abrahams
Amelia Abrahams is a journalist who has dedicated a significant proportion of her career to exploring issues relating to the LGBTQ+ community. This book contains a catalogue of interviews that she has conducted with people from various parts of the world as they openly discuss the unique challenges they face as they strive to live their best lives.