9 of my favourite non-fiction reads of 2013.
Confessions of a GP by Benjamin Daniels
Everything you could want to know about being a GP in the NHS. I read this to understand things from the other side. As patients, we don’t know anything about what goes on behind the scenes and what’s expected of doctors other than to assess the problem, prescribe any treatment or refer you on to a specialist. Much, much more is involved and I appreciated Daniels’s candid confessions. Some are highly embarrassing and hilariously funny, and others are genuine mistakes from which he learned.
The Purity Myth by Jessica Valenti
An eye-opening insight into the state of feminism in America and the awful sex education programmes forced on children. Valenti is passionate and forthright in her arguments. She paints a vivid picture so disturbing it’s almost Orwellian in its dystopian nature.
I Have a Dream / Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King Jr.
Reading this was a rite of passage for me being that I probably owe King for my existence, as a mixed race individual. It’s amazing to think he had no autocue or a script, just a few hastily written notes from which he created his most famous speech. I’ve never known someone to be so eloquent and forthright.
Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss
Reading this opened my eyes. It spurred me on to read several other food books, specifically about British food. I switched to organic whole-fat dairy, and when I can get it, organic meat. I’ve stopped drinking fruit juice (too much sugar), I eat more veg, and I try to avoid anything artificial. I happened to read this when the European Horsemeat Scandal hit the press.
While this isn’t perfect, everyone should read it. Every myth and assumption is quashed. When I received the ARC, Jimmy Savile had been revealed to have been the most prolific rapist Britain had ever seen, and the first gang-rape victim in India to have hit the media headlines died of her injuries in Delhi.
Gulp by Mary Roach
I learned how Elvis really died. It’s not funny, it was incredibly painful. More mythbusting with Roach’s trademark weird and funny tidbits. Science is always fun when she’s explaining it. Plus, there are some great tips on how to punch someone and not lose a finger.
In Rude Health: The funniest and most explicit stories from the NHS by Robbie Guillory
I read this in the evening of Christmas day and spent an hour laughing and repeating what I read out loud for others to enjoy. Humans should’ve gone the way of the dodo with antics like these. Bestiality, chilli in vaginas, lightbulbs and hamsters in rectums, and the list goes on and on.
Guns by Stephen King
King is honest and brave to have removed one of his books from sale because it was found, more than once, to have been reading material and possible inspiration for mass-shootings by lone gunman. He presents a balanced opinion on what Americans should do to limit the casualties in those shootings which should satisfy, to an extent, those that won’t be separated from their beloved weapons.
Off-Topic: The Story of an Internet Revolt by G.R. Reader
I’m choosing this one for its uniqueness in how it was produced. It’s not something I’m likely to forget in a while.