The musings of a final year medical student

Thursday, 29 October 2015

3 books everyone should read

Confession time: I hate reading. I have always been a restless person with a rather short attention span. Anyone who has sat next to me in a  lecture will find me extremely annoying because I can't keep still! I am also a very literal  realist person, in that I can find it quite hard to escape into a novel's story line. Consequently, after I finished my GCSEs in English Language and English Literature, I barely read any fiction at all. The only books I now read (and only occasionally) are non-fiction. 

However, in spite of my lack of interest, there are 3 books that have changed the way I think massively. Throughout life, traditions are forgotten, culture updates itself and society evolves new ways of being politically correct. For this day and age, the 3 books I want to discuss really help ourselves to see the world for what it really is, rather than how it is portrayed; the heresay and the stereotypes and the misconceptions. 

1 - Bad Science by Ben Goldacre

Every day we are bombarded with news. News from our towns, news about celebrities, news about crises across the globe. Stories come out, research gets published, and sometimes it's hard to tell fact from fiction. This is particularly true when it's shared by irritatingly inaccurate newspapers like The Daily Mail and The Telegraph. By reading Bad Science, I began to see newspaper articles for what they really are. Goldacre decodes and educates us to think twice and look closer at poorly mediatised research claims. If you read this book, Goldacre will explain many phenomena like the MMR vaccine, do anti-ageing creams really work, the lies of Gillian McKeith and a lot more. Once you read this book, you will never read a newspaper article the same way. His writing is easy to understand and concentrate on, and the chapters do not have to be read in order. He has also written another book called Bad Pharma, which I think every medical student MUST READ. It's all about the lies behind the pharmaceutical industry and a more complex sequel to Bad Science, and a bit trickier to follow. 

2 - How to be a woman by Caitlin Moran

Regardless of gender, everyone needs to read this book. Moran has no shame into delving into all the hidden parts of what it's really like to be a woman in scarily graphic detail. When I read this book, I thought "Thank God someone has actually made it okay to talk about this". When you read this book you will be angry that you ever felt obliged to shave your legs in P.E, and everyone will see why feminism still matters today. 

3 - Depressive Illness, The Curse of the Strong by Dr Tim Cantopher

When I saw this book, I was very underwhelmed. Quite gimmicky book title and shitty cover art. But the content is brilliant. One of the biggest problems we have in society is the fact that so many people think depression is either a fallacy or not a real illness. Dr Cantopher studied medicine at UCL and is a psychiatrist. He knows his stuff. He explains depression thoroughly and accurately, and whether you have depression or not, it will teach you to be more understanding and empathetic. 

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