One thing I’ve learnt in lockdown is how much I actually love reading. I didn’t read much growing up, so it’s something I’ve had to learn, find the time to do and acknowledge I really want to get better at it. I’m definitely enjoying non-fiction more than anything else at the moment, so I thought I would share the non-fiction books I’ve read recently.
This is up there with one of the best books I’ve ever read. This memoir completely pulled me in. It covers Westover’s journey from a remote town in America to enlightenment after she is able to study at Cambridge and Harvard. Despite not setting foot in a class room until she was 17 years old. Her dad had very non-mainstream views, meaning no contact with modern medicine or the American schooling system. There were moments that this book left me taking a moment before turning the next page. It’s an amazing account of self-discovery, unlearning views passed on by parents and family loyalty.
As much as it’s often overlooked, artificial intelligence and machine learning have quickly become a huge part of all of our lives. Fry explains how perfectly in this book, and the implications that AI can have. I found it really accessible and easy to follow whilst also being interesting and providing a good insight into computer algorithms. There’s real life stories showing where AI has gone right and wrong, and the differences between humans. Examples include an accident that took place at Alton Towers, and how human error took hold, and disasters stopped by humans, despite computer systems advising there’s a threat. It’s quite a niche topic area, but overall I found it really interesting, and a good subject area to know more on in general.
Notes To Self is a series of essays by Emilie Pine. They’re a raw, honest account of her experience and the emotions that come with tackling topics such as addiction, fertility and feminism. Honestly I found a couple of these memoirs a little triggering at first, but they were incredibly relatable, especially if you have experienced any of the issues Pine covers. It’s not one to read if you’re feeling down or having an off day, it’s uncomfortable in parts. However, on the flip side it’s refreshing to read such an honest account on issues that impact millions of people.
I picked this up on a whim from a supermarket a few months back, purely on the basis that I love a good medical memoir and an insight into people’s medical careers. I’ve always been intrigued by midwifery and birth stories in general, and this gave a really good account of what it’s like as a midwife, and the many highs and lows of the profession. I loved reading the different stories about different women, all going through the same thing with very different experiences.
It was definitely emotional in parts, but my only gripe, I did feel like it lacked the depth I wanted when it came to discussing women, childbirth and the social and economic issues.
Ok, another thing. We all know and love Adam Kay’s, This Is Going To Hurt. Honestly, it’s hard to not compare any medical memoir to that. Adam Kay injects so much humour into his writing that it added another layer, which I’m understanding now is one of the reasons I loved it so much. I think if you enjoyed This Is Going To Hurt you will like this memoir, it just didn’t grip me quite as much as that did.
The systemic racism across the world has been highlighted more than ever over the past few weeks through the Black Lives Matter Movement, and it really shone a light on my own white privilege. I haven’t done enough in the past to further educate myself and take action, but I’m changing that. Moving forward I want to learn, try to understand as much as I can and become better at calling this out.
I know I learn best through reading so I’m starting with Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race. I want to link to some amazing resources that are helping me navigate this at the moment.
Anti-Racist Reading List by The Stacks (I’ve got a few of these books bookmarked to go onto next)
I’ve heard really brilliant things about this book. It’s centred around self confidence and achieving what you’re capable of. From having a flick through it seems to be quite practical with tools to follow along the way. I’m good at playing small and staying in my comfort zone so I’m excited to see whether it can help me change that.
And that’s a wrap. What have you been reading lately?
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