I am back in South Africa! Only for a week, but here I am, unable to resist a quick TTT. This week’s topic is “Top Ten Books I Recommend the Most. On Semester at Sea, I constantly find myself recommending books to students, professors and other voyagers.
1. Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide – I rave about this book to business majors, students in health sciences, professors, and anybody who lends me half an ear. I want everybody to read it. The ship has had a screening of the documentary of the same name. I did not watch it, and can’t say how it measures up. I like to think the book is always better.
2. PostSecret books edited by Frank Warren – I am always surprised how few people know about these books. Even bookshop clerks! At university, you cannot visit my room without being shown a PostSecret book. Also, my Broke and Bookish Secret Santa, at The Book Club Blog, sent me a PostSecret book! So awesome! Also, here’s a thought-provoking secret from this week’s PostSecrets.
3. The Karma Suture by Rosamund Kendal – I usually recommend this one as well as The Angina Monologues together, because some people prefer one plot synopsis over the other. I recommend this to medical students, premeds, anybody interested in health care or illness narratives, and when I have a good gut feeling about it. By the way, you should totally read it.
4. Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend – for people who like different POVs. This recommendation usually goes to people with whom I have intriguing conversations.
5. A Dry White Season by A.P. Brink – when traveling, I find that people often have a very one-dimensional view of South Africa. I recommend this book to people so that they can understand the dynamics of Apartheid, such as the fact that Apartheid was not wholly supported by every white person in the country.
6. 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa – it’s the book that made me decide to study medicine, and I usually recommend it when I am asked about my choice. I’ve always had good feedback about this book.
7. The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters by Rose George – people laugh when I recommend this book, but it is amazing. I don’t think you can understand humanity before you understand waste and its disposal. Also, as much as this is a work of research and journalism, it is written with sensitivity, wit, and interesting anecdotes.
8. Shades by Marguerite Poland – another book to illuminate more of South African history. I suggest this to South African locals and foreigners alike. The history, and the analysis of the effects of displacement, makes this a worthy book.
9. Anything by Roald Dahl – because he remains one of my biggest literary heroes, and I am shocked when somebody hasn’t read him – I feel that they miss out! The book I recommend really depends on the person in question.
10. The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge – for a scientific text, I find myself recommending this a lot more than one would anticipate. It really is worth a read, whether you are scientifically inclined or simply interested in the workings of the brain.