Have a good book to recommend to fellow readers? Found something that made those long hospital stays bearable? It doesn’t have to be a medical book, it could be any subject – books to make you laugh, cry, gripping novels to while away those boring hospital hours, health-related, history etc. etc. If you’ve enjoyed it, why not recommend it to others?
If you wish to recommend a book, please email Irene at email@example.com. Let us know the title and author and give us a few lines to tell us what made it stand out as a good reader you’d think other visitors to this site might also enjoy.
Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag
Recommended by Natasha
I would go as far as to say that this should be compulsory reading for everyone. It’s a short book which means that every word has to count and justify its place on the page. At its simplest this is a tale of a multi-generational family set in Bangalore with a rags to riches theme but in reality it is so much more. It is a moral tale with the underlying theme of be careful what you wish for. I absolutely loved this book and what at first appears to be a very simple story is thought provoking throughout, beautifully written and totally engaging.
The Amazing Story of the Man Who Cycled from India to Europe for Love by Per J Andersson
Paperback; Recommended by Irene.
This is a remarkable true story and engaging read about a young man from an untouchable background in rural India in the 1970s. Seemingly destined for failure because of extreme poverty and the Indian caste system (he is an untouchable), he constantly strives to overcome adversity, driven by his passion to study art and by his love of a young Swedish woman. Whilst living on the streets of New Delhi and funding his studies by drawing portraits, he meets a young Swedish hippy on her travels and they fall in love. Unable to be with his love, he sets about planning the 7,000 mile journey to join her in Sweden. The ultimate love story and an interesting account of life as an untouchable in 1970s India.
Dadland by Keggie Carew
Paperback; Recommended by Carine
This book is about the author’s father, both as a war hero and as an elderly man with dementia. It provides an interesting and entangled account of his involvement in the Second World War special unit known as the Jedburghs, recounting his action in both France and then Burma. As the historical aspect of the story unfolds, the reader is frequently returned to the present to witness the father’s gradual descent into the fog of his dementia. And as the story flicks from past to present, often disconcertingly, it catches the reader off-guard in the same way as the disease catches the father. The writing conveys really well the atmosphere and emotions of both aspects of the story, and I learnt a lot from the book historically, as well as it stimulating me to revise a bit my geography of Asia!
Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls
Recommended by Natasha
This is a love story and I know that fact may put lots of people off but it shouldn’t! It’s set in a way back summer in the life of a 16-year-old and covers the pain of first love. I was immediately transported back to my 16-year-old self and reminded that love actually physically hurts. As you get older and more confident and forget to care what other people think, you totally forget that pain of what if he doesn’t like me back. The torture! This is one of the best things I’ve read this year. Look it up and read all the great reviews online. Don’t let my four-word synopsis of “it’s a love story” underplay the depth, humour and nostalgia in this novel.
Tuppence to Cross the Mersey by Helen Forrester
Paperback; HarperCollins: Recommended by Irene.
A fantastic autobiography of a woman whose upper middle class parents became bankrupt and destitute in 1930 and were forced to move into the slums of Liverpool with their seven children. Helen was the oldest, aged twelve and became responsible for childcare and housework. It’s a fascinating look into how people survived incredible deprivations. The story unfolds more like a novel and is never dry and boring.
Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
Paperback: Vintage. Recommended by Pan
This is the sort of book that changes how you think about the world. Or it would if you stopped laughing for a minute. This is one of the funniest novels ever written – and that means funny as in laugh out loud funny. Set in the second world war, this isn’t a book about war so much as a book about the ridiculousness of the world we live in. Perfect for those grim moments when you desperately need to switch off with a good old fashioned therapeutic laughing session.
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
Paperback: Abacus. Recommended by Zoe B.
This is definitely one of the top 3 books I have ever read. Based on true events in the author’s life, (escape from an Australian prison, opening a medical clinic in a Bombay slum, becoming involved with the Indian Mafia, cause fighting in Afghanistan), this book grips you from start to finish. Shantaram is extremely well written, poetic and vividly colourful, entertaining, emotive and immerses you in the author’s adventures alongside him. I love this book!
Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss
Paperback: Bantam. Recommended by Helen Ryder
An inspiring holistic view of life.
A Kick-Ass Fairy: A Memoir by Linda Zercoe
Paperback: Hidden Oak Press. Recommended by Elizabeth
This is a memoir written by and about a truly inspirational woman, who battles multiple cancers, but never gives up on living life to the full. It is the first book I read that gave me a look into the life of someone with LFS and I highly recommend it.
Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss by Hope Edelman
Paperback: Yellow Kite. Recommended by Elizabeth
This book is about losing a mother at a young age. However, the feeling of grief it conveys is universal. It was nice to read about loss in the form of interviews with people who had also lost loved ones, and to hear about both their struggle and their coping mechanisms. Definitely a good self-help book.
The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Paperback: Fourth Estate. Recommended by Irene
This excellent book is described as a biography of cancer because it attempts to do more than just track the history of the disease; it explores the very nature and character of cancer. Through medical and scientific discoveries and personal stories, Mukherjee weaves an engaging account of a relentless disease. But he shows equally the heroic fight against cancer by scientists, doctors and patients and gives us hope for the future. I found it an engaging and fascinating read. Siddhartha Mukerjee is a cancer geneticist, stem cell biologist and cancer physician and researcher. And if you like this book, then consider reading ‘The Gene’, by the same author.