Top Ten #Booknerd Characters

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Top Ten Tuesdays are on a roll these days, with topics I adore. In line with the diversity theme, what’s the best moment in reading? Discovering a character you can relate to. For me, this is often when I find a character that loves books/words/geekiness just like I do.

These are my favourite fictional bookworms, in order of when I first met them (because I just can’t rank them!).

1. Jo MarchLittle Women by Louisa May Alcott (free on iTunes!)

I don’t think I ever finished reading the full-length version, but I did read the abridged version as a little girl and definitely identified with Jo. I, too, used to love writing plays that my siblings and cousins had to act out.

2. Hermione GrangerHarry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Does she even need any introduction? Hermione was the first character that showed me that being a bookworm could be admirable, rather than embarrassing.

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A Sequel That Isn’t A Sequel | Another Day

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Two years ago almost to the day, I read David Levithan’s Every Day, with a protagonist who wakes up in a different body every day. I loved it so much that I read large sections to my non-reader boyfriend. Every Day became a frame of reference for me and changed the way I looked at the world around me.

If you have read it, you’ll know that it ends on a MASSIVE cliffhanger. We all want to know what happens to A after he does… the thing! (No spoilers allowed.)

But you should know right off the bat that Another Day won’t tell you what happens to A after Every Day. In fact, Levithan is pretty insistent that Another Day is NOT a sequel, but instead a “companion novel.” The same events occur in this book than in the first; except from Rihannon’s point of view. I can totally see this novel being combined with the first, back to back, and readers will have to decide which to read first (because you can absolutely read them in whichever order). Continue reading

Another Disability Grant Request

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“Uyagoduka namhlanje!” I say with the biggest smile. You can go home today! It’s one of my favourite things to tell patients. Sometimes I think it’s the only time they ever like me.

And she does smile. The physiotherapist discharged her day one post-op and she wanted to go home so badly, but I felt day one was a bit soon. What can I say: I’m an intern, I’m too careful.

Then she asks, “So what thing did you put in my leg?”

She injured herself playing contact sports and sustained a mean distal femur fracture. I tell her the basics: we put some hardware in her leg to keep the bone together.

And her neighbour, a middle-aged woman, says, “So that means she can get a disability grant.”

Copyright Faheema Patel 2010, “Human Inside” | Click image for link.

NO. Continue reading

Cadaverish Tales

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tumblr_n94hlvcFOs1tpw2ero1_1280It’s been a long time since med school dissection, and I must say I never really enjoyed it. I appreciated it, sure; but just like I rarely enjoy surgery, I rarely enjoyed dissection. It’s something that just WAS.

I had a lot of thoughts about our cadavers though. I wished we had a dedication ceremony, as many med schools abroad have. Our professor’s reasoning was “there are too many religions to accommodate”, but I thought that was a silly excuse because whoever said that a dedication ceremony had to be religious at all?

When we teamed up for dissection groups, we were told to ensure there was a male in each group to help with some of the “tougher” work. Of course, some of us disagreed with such old-fashioned suggestions and teamed up in all-girl group anyways. Continue reading

Top Ten Diverse Books

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This is going to be my favourite Top Ten Tuesday! Right in line with the We Need Diverse Books campaign, here is a list of my favourite books that celebrate diversity (example: features minority/religious minority, socioeconomic diversity, disabled MC,  neurotypical character, LGBTQ etc etc.).

It’s kind of sad how few books are truly diverse. When I was going through my books, I noticed that although a lot of books had diverse characters, many of them were fairly flat and seemed to be little more than tokens. I mean, it’s kind of like movies having the token female scientist and then thinking they’re sorted for diversity. Uhm, no. Not that this is at all a groundbreaking realisation, so moving on to the books: Continue reading

Land of the Disability Grant

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Despite my love of clinic days, Orthopaedic Clinic Days are proving extremely demotivating.

On a clinic day we see more than 200 patients. We are an extremely stretched department but we try extremely hard to keep our patients functional. By far the majority of South Africans are reliant on their hands and feet for their daily work, and so it is important that we preserve their ability to make a living. And we make a massive effort to do so.

Susan Dorothea White, "Right Hand" 2010

Susan Dorothea White, “Right Hand” 2010

And yet on clinic days every second patient tells me that they want a Disability Grant. A measly grant that brings 1,1 million South Africans at the most ZAR1,400 (USD112) per month. Hardly a worthy income. Continue reading

Top Ten Recently Acquired Books

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The thing I hated most when I started book blogging was seeing “book hauls” on people’s blogs. Mostly because I was a little jealous… as a South African I do not get access to many ARCs at ALL, and as a student I could hardly ever afford to purchase new books.

Anyway, I haven’t bragged about books in a long time – so I’ll use this week’s Top Ten Tuesday to do so.

1. Frog by Mo Yan (bought)

China’s one child policy, feticide, and midwifery sounds like things I need to read about. Also, Mo Yan is a Nobel Literature Prize winner, so I’d like to read it. I got this book for less than $5 (ZAR50). The cover I got is not exactly the most gorgeous, but that’s hardly why I bought the book.

Continue reading