August Reading List

If anyone wants some books to read, here are a few of the best books I’ve read in the past month or two:

  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat by Oliver Sacks. 

This book gave insights into personal identity that were both unexpected and humanising.

Many people have heard of the titled case where a man has a neurological disorder which means he loses the ability to recognise faces and ends up thinking his wife is a hat. Many of the other cases presented by Sacks are sometimes as comical but more importantly, he does a brilliant job of making every person he sees a real person. It’s surprisingly easy to just see them as  the unfortunate or people with super abilities (cue all the documentaries about savants).

He gets to know his patients and views them much more holistically than a mere diagnosis or popular documentary might.

Amazon.

  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

I wrote in my journal that this was a ‘funny, absurd, entertaining and astonishing depiction of war in WWII’. The more I think about the book, the more I laugh.

The book mainly follows Yossarian who doesn’t want to fly any more missions because he doesn’t want to die. Yet, everything around him seems to force him to fly more like the infamous catch-22 which means regardless of the scenario, he has to fly. For example, he’s a good pilot so is told to fly more. When he flies, he evades enemy fire with great urgency because he doesn’t want to die. Because of this, he’s seen as a good pilot that should fly more.

It may take a while to understand the humour but I found it helpful to imagine them as characters in a sitcom. Many jokes are carried across chapters with seamless ease. The characters are ridiculous and enjoyable. The style is incomparable to any book I’ve read recently.

Nothing else has made me laugh more about some of the worst parts of history.

Amazon.

  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote 

This details the murder of the Clutter family in 1964, Kansas by the Perry Smith and Dick Hickock.

To describe the book, I’d call it a non-fiction story. It’s very immersive and quite easy to forget that it isn’t a complete fiction. If I had to compare this to another book I’ve read before it’d be To Kill a Mockingbird. Not for the content but for the overall feel. The court case at the end of the book was one of the best chapters of any book that I’ve had the pleasure of reading. I felt as if I was sitting in the audience of the trial.

The only thing I had against the whole book was the length but that might be a comment on my concentration rather than the length.

Amazon.

A final note

I said nearly two years ago that I’m going to review Earth Abides. I never finished it. I gave it to a friend and she didn’t finish it.

That’s all I’ll say about it.

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