Top Ten Top-Tens

Standard

Happy fifth birthday to Top Ten Tuesdays! I first did a TTT in November 2010, but TTT debuted in June 2010. In celebration, this week’s TTT is about our ten favourite Top Ten Tuesdays. So, here you go! Each time I will link to my post and also to the link-up on The Broke and the Bookish.

1. Top Ten Bookish Memories | My Post | TTT

I’m very proud of this one because I did it for a freebie on 10 July 2012, and then it was chosen as a topic for 5 February 2013. Also, I got a lot of interaction on this post and it made me happy.

memoriescollage Continue reading

A Lighter Take on Mental Health | Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Standard

If you’re a regular here, you know how much I care about mental health, not just in the medical sense (although I do LOVE psychiatry!) but also in terms of the way it is presented in popular culture. Including books. Books count as popular culture, right?!

I must admit that before Finding Audrey I had never read a book featuring any of the anxiety spectrum disorders (I think…). Weird I guess. But I’ve had a good number of patients with Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder (with and without agoraphobia) so at least I’m not entirely unschooled.

Sophie Kinsella is kind of a big deal, and this is her first foray into YA. To be honest, I’ve heard of her but I’ve never read her before.  But it could have been anyone who wrote it really, I was still going to request it on NetGalley (thanks, Penguin Random House Children’s UK!). Continue reading

Sea Aliens! Secrets! Coney Island! (Read this Book)

Standard

Every once in a while, NetGalley sends out these emails where the first 500 members get an eARC to READ NOW. I love these, because they are usually from publishers who are notoriously stingy with their review copies, especially to non-US reviewers. So, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, I know I’m not your favourite kind of reviewer, but this South African reviewer is very happy I got the chance to read this. Bring this book to ZA!

Now that that’s done: it’s no cliffhanger that I enjoyed this book. I’ve actually had a spate of poorly-chosen review titles (e.g. this one), so it was really nice to read a review copy that didn’t feel like WORK.

That said, when I first read the blurb (AFTER I already requested this book) I kind of went, “Oh. Shit.” Because the description focuses a whole lot on ROMANCE and if there’s one thing I don’t like, it’s when a good action book is ruined by an overload of romance. Continue reading

The Best Med School Fiction I’ve Read

Standard

I read a lot of medical fiction. I even have some lists about them (fiction and non-fiction, actually). I think I just read one of my favourites: Suicide Med by Freida McFadden, aka Fizzy McFizz. She also wrote The Devil Wears Scrubs, which I reviewed here.

In all honesty, I don’t think the blurb does it justice:

There’s a reason Southside Medical School has been nicknamed “Suicide Med.” For the last six years, every year one student has taken his own life. Except for last year. Last year was a murder-suicide.

The press has pointed to the heavy workload as the culprit in the high suicide rate. Some students believe that the school is cursed. And others believe that the deaths may not be suicides at all—that it’s no coincidence that Dr. Conlon, Southside’s quirky but beloved anatomy professor, joined the staff on the very year that the suicides began.

Either way, the same question echoes through the minds of every first year student at Suicide Med: Who will be next to die? Continue reading

Ten Books Which Feature Characters with Agency

Standard

Sometimes I get really tired of reading books where characters don’t have control. Some of the most popular books out there have plots that happen to people. I don’t want life to happen to me, I want to happen to life, and I like to read books like that too.

agency characters

I first learned about the concept of “agency” during my Illness Narrative class during Semester at Sea. It’s still a concept that is hard to describe, but I think the gist of it is that someone with agency is able to act within and upon their environment.* To illustrate, the conclusion of Mockingjay really annoyed me because it essentially stripped Katniss of any semblance of agency she had (if you’ve read the books, I think you’ll understand). Continue reading

Paired Reading: Refugees and Displaced Persons in Africa

Standard

While on holiday in Zambia I read two absolutely breathtaking books. I bought both of these books myself and was not asked to review them, but I feel the need to share them with everyone.

A prelude: The number of displaced persons in Africa is huge. We have many refugees and many internally displaced persons and in South Africa, the supposed land of milk and honey, many foreigners have been victims of xenophobia. This year especially has seen flares in violence against persons perceived to be foreigners There are a lot of politics underlying the whole story, and it’s not something I necessarily understand well enough to explain in simple terms, but it is tangible in this land.

Abandoned Somali shop, Makause, East Rand. By Richard Poplak. Click for link.

Abandoned Somali shop, Makause, East Rand. By Richard Poplak. Click for link.

Continue reading

Incredible Quotes

Standard

Work has been busy, so I find myself working on an unscheduled Top Ten Tuesday post because how can I let the opportunity to wallow in quotes go by? Brace yourself, you’re getting a fresh post!

1. Words and their Meanings by Kate Bassett

Base image by Deviantart: Holunder. Click for link.

Base image by Deviantart: Holunder. Click for link.

“Everyone gets one last line. But first lines, stories of love and loss and hope floating on backs of paper cranes? We choose how many of those we get to tell.” Continue reading