Rating: 3 stars Genre: Literary, Semi-autobiographical Summary: Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a semi-autobiographical bildungsroman novel that draws upon the author's own childhood and life experiences. In a small Northern town in the 1950s and 60s, Jeanette is being raised by her formidable mother as a good Christian girl who dreams of becoming a missionary. However, after falling in love with one of her female converts, Jeanette embarks on a series of lesbian love affairs that will force her to confront the darker sides of her community. Determined not to choose between her love of women and her calling as a preacher, she must fight to retain her identity, sexuality, and faith intact.
Rating: 3.5 stars
Category: Non-fiction, Autobiography, Memoir
Synopsis: Sir Trevor McDonald's career as a journalist began at Radio Trinidad in his home country, where he tried his hand at everything from reading the news to commentating on water polo! When he moved to London to take a job at the BBC World Service, he had no idea that he was soon to become one of the top journalists of his day.
Working for ITN and Channel 4, his reporting work has taken him from a South Africa stricken by Apartheid to Barack Obama's inauguration in Washington, and he has interviewed people as diverse as death row inmates and the dictator Saddam Hussein.
Rating: 4 stars
Category: Non-fiction, Memoir
Synopsis: After the frustrations and bureaucracy of working as a GP cause Dr Amanda Brown to impulsively walk out of her practice, she is looking for a change. Her compulsion to challenge herself and make a difference lands her where she never thought she'd end up - treating prisoners in some of Britain's toughest criminal institutions.
The Prison Doctor is the story of the incredible people she meets, as well as a compassionate insight into the individual lives that are placed into the hands of the justice system - for better or worse.
Questioning the Canon is a new feature in which I hope to bring to light lesser-known books about a certain issue, which can be read alongside or instead of infamous 'classics'.
People are starting to discuss whether the authors we hold up as cultural icons - Shakespeare, Dickens, Wordsworth - should be accompanied by previously marginalised writers. Our idea of what constitutes 'great literature' is becoming broader.
This can only be a good thing, as it means more diversity and social representation in what we read!
This Is Going to Hurt is the diaries of junior doctor Adam Kay in the years before he leaves medicine, disillusioned by the gruelling hours, bureaucracy and lack of support. The diary entries document the funny and heart-wrenching anecdotes from his medical career, showcasing the best and worst of humanity along the way. The reason why Adam Kay is able to convey the seriousness of the issues facing the NHS so well is, paradoxically, his unique brand of humour. He now works in comedy and it's easy to see why! So without further ado, here are the funniest moments of This Is Going to Hurt that had me laughing out loud in public places...
It is hard to imagine two worse things that could happen to someone, let alone happen within days of one another. Ray's husband has been diagnosed with a rare terminal illness. The couple has also lost their cherished family home and business following a financial catastrophe.
With nothing left besides their independence and connection to nature, they decide to walk the South Coast Path from Minehead to Land's End. Ray tells the story of their journey in this potent, emotional memoir. Following the path becomes their only purpose, as the two prepare to face whatever it is leading them towards.
Zami is a Carriacou word that can be loosely translated to 'love between women'. It is difficult to imagine a more fitting title for Audre Lorde's memoir: a story of the pursuit of love. As a Black lesbian coming of age in 1940s/50s New York, she fights to belong in a world that unrelentingly seeks to push her to the margins.
Rating: 4 stars
Synopsis: ‘Memoir’ seems far too simple a word to describe I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Maya Angelou, a writer and civil rights activist (among numerous other careers) recounts her childhood experiences growing up first with her grandmother in the poor, isolated small-town Stamps and later with her mother in the lively glamour of San Francisco. However, she also relates these experiences to much wider issues from oppression to women’s sexuality. Someone asked me what the book is about and I found it so hard to summarise – it is a kaleidoscope of social exploration, perception, complex relationships, powerful moments and wisdom.