Lifestyle

SO Readers - Dr Claudine Leiwis

Cardiologist

Sunday, January 13, 2019

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1 August Town by Kei Miller: Kei is a talented storyteller, his characters are well developed and the intricate details pull the reader in, while creating compelling satire about everyday Jamaican life and the complexities of colourism and classism in our society. For anyone who has been curious about the story of Alexander Bedward, and the history of August Town, this is required reading.

2 A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles: One of my most favourite reads of 2018. Amor Towles tells the story of a former Russian aristocrat who is sentenced to house arrest in the fabulous hotel Metropol (across from the Kremlin) by the Bolsheviks. It is an intricate look at life during the communist regime and the survival tactics and relationships that the protagonist has during the course of his “house arrest”. It is a historical novel that is anything but boring!

3 Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi: Kweku Sai is dead. A renowned surgeon and failed husband, he succumbs suddenly at dawn outside his home in suburban Accra. The news of Kweku's death sends a ripple around the world, bringing together the family he abandoned years before. Ghana Must Go is their story. Electric, exhilarating, beautifully crafted, it is a testament to the transformative power of unconditional love, from a debut novelist of extraordinary talent. Ghana Must Go is at once a portrait of a modern family, and an exploration of the importance of where we come from and who we are. In a sweeping narrative that takes us from Accra to Lagos to London to New York, Ghana Must Go teaches that the truths we speak can heal the wounds we hide.

4 Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi: an intricately woven tale about the Atlantic slave trade, which follows the lives of three Ghanaian women from the Gold Coast to life in America and the complex issues surrounding the slave trade and identity.

5 We Should all be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Must-read for all women, even women who do not consider themselves feminists. This is a personal, eloquently-argued essay — adapted from her much-viewed TEDx talk of the same name. With humour and levity, Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the 21st century — one rooted in inclusion and awareness. She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviours that marginalise women around the world, in order to help readers of all walks of life better understand the often-masked realities of sexual politics.

6 A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf: This is an extended essay first published in 1929, based on a series of lectures Ms Woolf delivered at Newnham and Girton colleges, two women's colleges at Cambridge University in 1928. While this extended essay employs a fictional narrator and narrative to explore women both as writers of and characters in fiction, the manuscript for the delivery of the series of lectures, titled “ Women and Fiction,” and hence the essay, are considered non-fiction. The essay is seen as a feminist text, and is noted in its argument for both a literal and figural space for women writers within a literary tradition dominated by patriarchy.

7 Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: This was my second Adichie book, after Purple Hibiscus. Like most of her other novels, Adichie skirts the line between fiction and autobiography. Americanah tells the story of an immigrant student in the US tertiary education system and is a sort of coming-age-story, as well. It is topical, and relatable, particularly for any of us who have experienced tertiary education in North America.

8 A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James: The novel spans a few decades starting with the political tensions in Jamaica in the mid-to-late 1970s to New York in the 1980s and a changed Jamaica in the 1990s. The characters are numerous, but well developed such that you feel a particular intimate knowledge of each. The story is raw and fast-paced. That it won the prestigious 2015 Man Booker Prize (reportedly by unanimous decision in under two hours) adds to the intrigue of this novel — considering that James expertly switches from Queen's English to Jamaican dialect with ease. Warning: explicit language.

9 The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: clearly one of my favourite authors, with three of the 10 booked on my list authored by her. The Thing Around Your Neck is a collection of short stories that highlights Adichie's superb story-telling abilities. Like most of Adichie's fictional world there's a certain tension between fiction and autobiography. Adichie established herself as a literary voice of our generation.

10 Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes: A definitive straightforward guide to facing your fears and saying yes. Written by arguably the most powerful woman in TV at the moment. Shonda Rhimes, who lives an unconventional life and plays by her own rules, used personal anecdotes to encourage the readers to be bold, and say yes more to life.


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