Book Review: This is London: Life and Death in the World City by Ben Judah

What side of London do you never get to hear about in general media? This book is a literary masterpiece, as journalist Ben Judah takes the reader on a tour around London, meeting the people who make the city live and move and who are usually ignored (literally – bus drivers, the homeless, shop keepers, amongst others).

Even residents of London will learn about a side of London they may have not previously encountered. Judah enlightens us with the immigrant side of London including those rich, poor, and everyone in between. This book is highly recommended for anyone who wants to understand London beyond the tourist attractions.

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Book Review: Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

This book explored on a deeply philosophical level, what really matters at the end of life? How can we have a good death? By cleverly combining the science of medicine with the philosophy of life, Gawande explores how modern medicine has changed over time. He shares his personal story from his own family and personal life, as well as examples from his patients. This book confronts difficult conversations around death and human mortality up front.

Book Review: Do No Harm by Henry Marsh

This book is written by Henry Marsh who shares his unconventional journey into neurosurgery after studying medicine as a second degree. The title of the book is reminiscent of the first hippocratic oath, which is an oath often taken by medical physicians: “first do no harm”.

The book is littered with candid examples of his patients and his reflections, through his time in medical school to becoming a neurosurgeon. The book tries to address how to deal with the consequences if everything goes wrong, but this time in a life and death situation. It crosses the fields of philosophy, ethics, and medicine.

Book Review: The Language of Kindness: A Nurse’s Story by Christie Watson

A book about kindness, compassion, and hope. Watson takes the reader on a journey through her nursing career, when she was deciding what to do with her life, through learning what it means to be a nurse, and twenty years of nursing career. A beautiful message is awaiting in this book about love, kindness, and hope.

Three non-fiction books to help you understand India

Here are three book recommendations to help you understand India from the past and present. Each one offers a different perspective on this big, diverse country.

Book Review: A Woman of Firsts by Edna Adan Ismail

This book would be very suited to someone who wants to read a book about female empowerment, or is interested in medical memoirs, FGM, or international aid. Overall, this book has two particular strong points. Firstly, her story is inspiring as a strong-willed woman who relentlessly pursues what she wants, fighting against societal norms and the many barriers in her way. Secondly, it is a story of caring for others with compassion and kindness, a true story of humanity.

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Book Review: We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: Voices from Syria by Wendy Pearlman

The book is a collection of first person stories of Syrians who have shared their experiences at different stages of the Syrian revolution. This book would be interesting to anyone who cares about human rights, the refugee crisis, the Middle East, and forced human migration. It is accessible to all audiences.

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Book Review: The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream by Barack Obama

This book would be of particular interest to those interested in American politics, in Obama’s early career, and in some of America’s social and political areas of concern. Regardless of political leaning, it is interesting to see Obama’s perspectives on politics being formed at the earlier stages of his political career, as well as his growth before presidency.

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Book Review: The Ungrateful Refugee by Dina Nayeri

Nayeri fled Iran with her mother and brother when she was eight years old. In Iran, her mother was a doctor and they fled their relatively comfortable livelihoods in order to protect their lives. She spent some time in refugee camps in Italy, where she describes how stories became the backbone of their existence.

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Book Review: Dear Life: A Doctor’s Story of Love and Loss by Rachel Clarke

This book is a must read for everyone. Rachel Clarke is a palliative care doctor, who worked as a journalist before retraining as a doctor. She shares her personal and professional journey with the reader through this transition and her eventual specialisation in palliative care.

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