Loughborough PhD Social & Support Network

#BLOG Favourite books – Part 1

Since we are now advised to avoid public spaces and stay home as much as we can, our time previously spent commuting or going to the gym can now be spend reading! YEY!

So, here is a list of books I loved and that I thought you might want to read too.

List of books

*Disclaimer: I am not a professional book critic, nor a writer. I am just a book lover who likes to share her favourite reads and if we can get a discussion going on one of them, I’m up for it*

Non-fictions:

  • Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure by Tom Harford (must read for PhD students). In his book, Harford uses concrete examples of companies’, governments’, organizations’ and people’s successes to highlight the importance of accepting and even valuing failure.
  • Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez. An eye-opening book where Perez gathered hundreds of statistics and studies from gender-biased search engine algorithms to car crash tests all showing that the society we currently live in was designed with only one gender in mind and that a lot of people are unfairly paying the price of that omission.
  • Talking to Strangers by Malcom Gladwell. Armed with the state-of-the-art research in psychology and headline stories such as the Amanda Knox’s case, Gladwell takes us on a journey of understanding why it is so hard for us human to understand the people around us and how it can sometimes put us in life-changing situations.
  • Unthinkable by Helen Thompson. For her book, Helen Thompson, a neuroscience journalist, traveled thousands of miles around the world to interview 9 people with rare brain disorders, from the man who thinks he is a tiger to the woman who can’t forget anything.
  • Factfulness by Hans Rosling. Are you better than Nobel price laureates at guessing the current state of the world? Chimpanzees are… If you’re in need of some fact-based positivity, Factfulness is a great book to start with!
  • The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore. The book traces the real stories of women working for two dial-painting factories in the US between the first and second world wars and their fight for justice after many of them suffered and died from radium poisoning from the paint they were using and the companies refused to take any responsibility for it.
  • Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker. This book literally changed my life! Matthew Walker is a professor in neuroscience and psychology whose research focuses on the impact of sleep on human’s health. By reading this book you’ll get a good understanding on how sleep deprivation affects your moods, ability to fight disease, concentration, memory and even your libido.

Fictions:

  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. To be fair, anything Toni Morrison wrote is gold, but I guess I chose this one because it’s the first novel she published in 1970. In this novel, the reader follows Pecola in her struggles with her own self-esteem as a young African-American in Ohio, United States, after the second world war, which is going to fuel her obsession for blue eyes that she associates with the beauty standard of whiteness. Because the novel rises issues on racism and abuse, it was regarded as highly controversial when it was first published.
  • House Rules by Jodie Picoult. This book made me realise how harmful a system that doesn’t take into consideration the neurodiversity of human beings can be to people on the autism spectrum and their families. Jodie Picoult is definitely one of my favourite authors!
  • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo. This novel is about 12 different characters, most of them black British women, whose lives are randomly inter-connecting, giving the reader multiple opportunities to be confronted to different views about relationships, feminism and politics.
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (incredible in Audiobook format). Honeyman uses Eleanor’s hilarious and very attaching character to draw our attention to serious matters that aren’t talked about enough: loneliness and isolation.

Autobiography:

  • Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love by Jonathan van Ness (amazing in Audiobook format). “You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll come away knowing that no matter how broken or lost you may be, you’re a Kelly Clarkson song, you’re strong, and you’ve got this”. This is one of the most uplifting books I read. JVN uses his humour, positivity, fearless determination and immense kindness to take us through the struggles and pains he faced in his life.

I personally bought most of these books secondhand (cheaper and better for the environment), either in charity shops or on online secondhand book shops such as worldofbooks.com

If you end up reading or have already read, any of these books, please let me know in the comments below! Would love to know what you thought about them! 😊

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