When my exams finally finished and I was free to whatever I pleased with my time, I decided to set myself a challenge and try to read at least a book a month for 12 months. I installed an audiobook app and decided that I would try to make my regular 40minute commute fun by reading in the car. I have read a few books in that time that have significantly changed my perspective on life and these here are the ones I would recommend as great reads.
Year of Yes – How to dance it out, stand in the sun and be your own person (Shonda Rhimes). From the creator of Grays Anatomy, How to get away with Murder, Scandal etc, this book outlines what can happen by including one word in your vocabulary- YES!!!. Although I have not fully committed to a full year of saying yes and doing things that scare me, the few times I have told my husband I am doing a “week of yes” have been really great weeks of walking off the beaten path especially with my little family. I look forward to being able to do a month of yes and eventually a full year of YES knowing that my husband will end up making me do the most outrageous things.
#Girlboss (Sophia Amoruso)– This book outlines how someone can strike it rich not by being lucky but by finding a true love and persisting despite life’s setbacks. This book talks about networking, knowing your worth and most importantly believing in your dream and working your butt off to make this a reality. She is the one who set me on a path of trying to work very hard now to enable me to retire early and look into making income in my sleep- something I still try to work on every day.
When breath becomes air (Paul Kalanithi). This book is truly AMAZING. It talks about life, love, sacrifice, medicine, fatherhood, purpose and everything in the middle. It forces you to treasure the moments with your family which for me currently include a lot of 2-year-old tantrums and just be happy to be alive. Some peoples passing is truly a loss to humanity and this is an example of such a loss.
Don’t sweat the small stuff- and it’s all small stuff (Richard Carlson). We interact with people in all our days and with each interaction risk being drawn into people’s dilemmas and dramas. This book has helped me put such interactions into perspective- a common question I ask is “will this matter in 12 months?”. If the answer is no then I try and regulate my reaction which has been great when dealing with angry patients, poor drivers who clearly don’t follow road rules or dealing with everyday stressors. I will be the first to admit that sometimes I still stress the small stuff which shouldn’t matter in 12 months but having the ability to step back and evaluate such situations has been immensely helpful for all my relationships.
Small great things (Jodi Picoult)– working as a chocolate medical profession in a mostly non-chocolate society, this book struck a particular chord with me as I could essentially relate to what Ruth was going through during the whole book. It talks about racism, privilege, and things that are sometimes unspoken but truly implied. Sadly even though we are probably living in very different times, the running thread of race is not too unfamiliar, although not to the same extremes, and probably something we are often not keen to talk about openly
To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)– classic literature talking about race relationships of years gone by. This book to me was like watching Django, 12 years a slave etc which are just really highlights of the so called societal hierarchy of yester year and the bad hand one was dealt based on the colour of their skin. When movements like #blacklivesmatter are still necessary, and the current rates of incarcerations and shooting of un armed chocolate men in the USA, it scares me to think things may not be as different to years gone as we had hoped they would be now.
Adnan’s story (Rabia Chaudry)– I was one of the people who got addicted to the podcast SERIAL after everyone had already moved on to bigger and better things and following that ASTONISHING podcast, I was intrigued to hear what else could be added to what I thought was a complete story. This book, which is about the “justice” system of incarcerating chocolate people based on either the colour of their skin, their heritage or their faith, was still a great read about injustices and prejudices we live with daily.
Thanks for the feedback – the science and art of receiving feedback well (Douglas Stone, Sheila Heen)– We receive feedback in all aspects of life. From our toddler spitting out our lovingly prepared dinner, patients telling you what impact you have had in their lives, having an argument with your spouse, asking for a pay rise etc. Dealing with this feedback and truly understanding why feedback is important, how to understand it and how to give it are things that I feel are important in helping you can grow as a person. So I thought this book was really great in improving communication pathways and also improving my listening skills in my private and work life.
I have managed to read minimum 3 books a month since August last year woooohooooo and yes, some of them were mainly fiction or autobiographical or just interesting books that looked great on the library list etc but these top 8 are ones that I would advise people to seek out to read and gain some insight into a few things. I never thought I would look forward to doing the dishes, cleaning, laundry and all those chores I did whilst momentarily escaping into my audiobook but I find myself enjoying these somewhat as they come with the added benefit of finishing off a book. I am always on the lookout for more books to spice up my commute, chores or my lunch break, so let me know below, which books you would recommend I read next and I will try to add them to my wish list and hopefully read in the near future.
*Cover illustrations sourced from Google