Sunday, September 13, 2020

Five top books to inspire compassion

A registered nurse for twenty years before becoming a writer and researcher, Christie Watson won the Costa First Novel Award for her debut, Tiny Sunbirds Far Away. In 2017 she published a memoir of her time as a nurse, The Language of Kindness which is currently being adapted for television.

Watson's new book is The Courage to Care: A Call for Compassion.

At the Guardian, she tagged five books that explore kindness and courage in the face of suffering, including:
Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life follows four men over three decades as they navigate New York. When I added this novel to the reading list for a creative writing MA a few years ago, it was a controversial and divisive choice. Half the students found Yanagihara’s descriptions of violence, sexual abuse and suffering made it too traumatic to read. But the story’s most powerful moments are not about abuse, they’re about the power of compassion and friendship. This compassion is not an attempt to fix what is beyond repair – in this case the central character, Jude – or even understanding what he has been through, because we can’t; nobody can. But his friends’ acknowledgement of how much he suffers, their sitting alongside him, reminds Jude that even when he feels most alone, he is not. As with all the best fiction, I was left changed after reading it.
Read about another entry on the list.

A Little Life is among Jason Flemyng's six best books.

--Marshal Zeringue