Reading List of Success

Reading List of Success

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

This moving true story of troublemaker Louis “Louie” Zamperini, a young Italian-American boy raised in California, captures hearts with his story of resilience, redemption and survival. Destined for greatness in more ways than one, Louie’s life is derailed by World War II. An Olympic qualifier with big dreams of winning gold, Louie joined the Army Air Forces as a bombardier in 1943, was sent on a search and rescue mission with a spare plane. Stranded with only three survivors of their subsequent crash, they set a survival record, spending 47 days at sea. Captured by the Japanese and now POWs, the journey of Louie’s and his friend Phil’s plight is a remarkable and devastating ones. Louie finally was able to return to the Olympics although not in the way he dreamed in January 1998. An amazing and moving story about how one’s life may not turn out how they dreamt but can still inspire greatness is revealed.

MiddleSex by Jeffrey Eugenides

A dazzling triumph about the astonishing tale of a gene that passes down through three generations of a Greek-American family and flowers in the body of a teenage girl. In the spring of 1974, Calliope Stephanides, a student at a girls’ school in Grosse Pointe, finds herself drawn to a chain-smoking, strawberry blond classmate with a gift for acting. The passion that furtively develops between them — along with Callie’s failure to develop — leads Callie to suspect that she is not like other girls. In fact, she is not really a girl at all. The explanation for this shocking state of affairs takes us out of suburbia — back before the Detroit race riots of 1967, before the rise of the Motor City and Prohibition, to 1922, when the Turks sacked Smyrna and Callie’s grandparents fled for their lives. Back to a tiny village in Asia Minor, where two lovers, and one rare genetic mutation, set in motion the metamorphosis that will turn Callie into a being both mythical and perfectly real: a hermaphrodite. Spanning eight decades — and one unusually awkward adolescence — Jeffrey Eugenides’s long-awaited second novel is a grand, utterly original fable of crossed bloodlines, the intricacies of gender, and the deep, untidy promptings of desire.

A Lesson Before Dying By Ernest J. Gaines

Set in a small Cajun community in the 1940s, Jefferson is unwittingly involved in a liquor store shoot out. The lone survivor, Jefferson, a black man, is convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Another man, Grant Wiggins that recently returned to his hometown to teach. Grant’s aunt and Jefferson’s godmother subsequently convince him to visit Jefferson and teach him before his death. The two men become fast friends and realise the rewards of standing up for that in which they believe, and for others. Gaines illustrates a deep understanding of human nature and an endless compassion for people who are struggling.

Welcome to Braggsville by T. Geronimo Johnson

Welcome to Braggsville. The City That Love Built in the Heart of Georgia. Population 712. This scathing novel features four best friends dubbed the “4 Little Indians.” These friends couldn’t be more different. D’aron, borne and raised in a small Deep South town and constantly harassed for his academic prowess begins his academic journey at UC Berkeley where he meets Louis, a “kung fu comedian” from California, Candice, an earnest do-gooder from Iowa with Native roots, and Charlie, an inner city black teen from Chicago. When D’aron reveals his hometown hosts an annual Civil War re-enactment, righteous anger makes Candice suggest an intervention. These 4 travel to Georgia, where their zeal and makeshift slave costumes take them to backwoods churches, Waffle Houses, backroom politics and family BBQs. At first hilarious but unforeseen challenges and consequences are soon revealed. This recently published satire challenges everything modern Americans hold dear: class, race, intellectualism, politics, Obama, Semitism, social media, liberalism, conservatism, and views about the deep South. This must read novel is destined to challenge, if not change, your perspective no matter what side of the political spectrum you identify with.

The Year Of Magical Thinking

From one of America’s iconic writers, a stunning book of electric honesty and passion. Joan Didion explores an intensely personal yet universal experience: a portrait of a marriage — and a life, in good times and bad — that will speak to anyone who has ever loved a husband or wife or child. Several days before Christmas 2003, John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion saw their only daughter, Quintana, fall ill with what seemed at first flu, then pneumonia, then complete septic shock. She was put into an induced coma and placed on life support. Days later — the night before New Year’s Eve — the Dunnes were just sitting down to dinner after visiting the hospital when John Gregory Dunne suffered a massive and fatal coronary. In a second, this close, symbiotic partnership of 40 years was over. Four weeks later, their daughter pulled through. Two months after that, arriving at LAX, she collapsed and underwent six hours of brain surgery at UCLA Medical Center to relieve a massive hematoma. This powerful book is Didion’s attempt to make sense of the “weeks and then months that cut loose any fixed idea I ever had about death, about illness… about marriage and children and memory… about the shallowness of sanity, about life itself.

Hot Lights, Cold Steel by Michael J Collins, M.D.

The memoir of an Orthopedic surgeon’s four year residency at the Mayo Clinic, Hot Lights, Cold Steel is an excellent book that takes you inside the operating room in the eyes of a natural overachiever who still feels unprepared compared to  his colleagues. Quickly evaporated his enthusiasm was replaced with feelings of being inferior and a fraud. Collins challenges many of the current big issues facing medical students, residents, and board directors alike. He dissolves the perceptions of a doctor’s glamorous life and divulges the real story of financial issues, feelings of loneliness, feelings of failure, and the long gruesome hours.  This novel discloses some of the challenging issues students and residents don’t realise and schools don’t teach how to deal with: life or death decisions, the reality of suffering and death, the guilt, the imperfections, and the loss of idealism. In a time that places so much demand on students, this memoir could provide insight to those students challenging with many such issues and more.