What an incredible few weeks? With some even more incredible things to come. I am not sure how the next few months will pan out – but I can tell you that after spending 12 months at home on chemotherapy, with much reduced contact with people and the outside world, that the any level of isolation feels pretty draconian. While I have been off work I have done a reasonable amount of reading so I have put together a list of a few books you might like to read while we ride this out –
1. Brief Answers to the Big Questions – Stephen Hawking (Non Fiction)
This book leaves us with Stephen’s final thoughts on the universe’s big questions. Such as ‘Is there a God?’ and ‘How did it all begin?’. Broken down into short essays, Stephen has made the content easy to digest, while tackling some very big questions. It takes great talent to write for an audience that does not have the same level of technical understanding as the author – but Hawking’s book is both graspable for the average bear, like me, and charming in its approach, he achieves this while writing with great compassion and elegance.
2. There was still love – Favel Parrett (fiction)
This is the story of sisters separated in WW2 and the incredible lives they lead through war, poverty and separation. This book finds its magic in the quiet moments, those interactions between characters that occur in their daily movements but tell so much about the people they are.
3. The Dutch House – Ann Pachett (fiction)
This book starts out as a classic ‘evil stepmother’ story but weaves complex family relationships and story line that unfolds over five decades. The book moves quickly and keeps readers entirely engrossed.
4. When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi (non-fiction)
At the age of 36, Paul Kalanithe was diagnosed with Lung Cancer, just after having finished over a decade of training to becomes a neurosurgeon. Tragically, Paul died before this book was published, but he has left an indelible mark on the world with this one publication. Throughout the book, Paul asks the critical questions – what makes life worth living? How do you react when life is catastrophically interrupted?
Before he became a neurosurgeon, Paul was a writer. His writing is so profound in its observations that you immediately relate to the author and his family. I read this book before I was first diagnosed and then several times after. Its has had an immense impact on how I take on my own diagnosis. I can only hope to show half as much courage as Paul did.
5. Phosphorescence: On awe, wonder and things that sustain you when the world goes dark – Julia Baird (non fiction)
This book is going to be released on Monday 23 March – so pre-order today, so I have not read this book, but I have been following the author in her day job on ABC tv. In these incredible times that we are living and are about to experience, this book may offer some release and light to ward off the darkness.
The below text is the descriptor from the website.
In the muck and grit of a daily existence full of disappointments and a disturbing lack of control over many of the things that matter most – how do we find, nurture and carry our own inner, living light – a light to ward off the darkness?
If you have any suggestions for me – please post them here in the comments!