Books that put the focus on the body and the mind
Here is MetroPlus’ pick of diverse books for the year that will have you reducing your screen time, too
‘It’s All In Your Head, M’
By Manjiri Indurkar, Westland Publications
An unapologetic narration of the author’s struggles with mental health, this is a story of strength and resilience and the ultimate potion of self-care and acceptance. It delves into a life plagued with various mental illnesses brought on by the sexual abuse she suffered as a child.
In her twenties, when Manjiri Indurkar started living away from home she began to suspect that all wasn’t well with her. She grew up with a loving and supportive family, but grappled with the trauma of the past. The books speaks of how she learnt to lead a balanced life.
‘Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond’
By Sonia Shah, Harper Collins India
Where do pandemics come from? How do microbes turn into deadly pathogens? What does our future hold in store? Science journalist, Sonia Shah explores these and many more questions in this timely and extensively researched book. Her epidemiological reportage refers to over 300 infectious diseases that have either emerged or re-emerged over the past 50 years. Though alarm bells had been sounded, scientists could not foresee which pathogen (Ebola, avian flu,the drug-resistant superbug, or the novel Coronavirus) would cause the next global outbreak.
Shah emphasises on the need to understand and unravel the stories of pandemics to be in a state of preparedness in future. She builds her script delving into science and politics, interweaving history, first-hand reporting, and personal narrative to explore the origins.
She believes there’s much we can do to prevent pandemics from happening in the first place.
‘The Invention of Surgery’
By Dr David Schneider, Hachette India
The biography of surgery through centuries, from the instinctive practice of the ancient Greek physicians to the implant revolution and robotic surgeries of the 21st century comes from Dr Schneider, a leading shoulder and elbow replacement surgeon with decades of experience of holding the scalpel. He talks of surgery as a practice in progress that transforms with new technologies, the evolution of medical education and the development of medicines.
The author explains the dramatic progress by linking historical figures with pioneering scientists who first understood what causes disease, how organs become infected and how surgery intercedes in peoples’ lives.
‘Between Life and Death: From Despair to Hope’
By Dr Kashyap Patel, PenguinBooks
An oncologist of two decades in the US, Dr Kashyap Patel sensitively weaves together true stories of hope and fear in order for us to have a deep understanding of the anxieties that those with terminal illness face.
The protagonist is Harry, who, after a life full of adventure, is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. He leans on the doctor while undergoing the process of death. His doubts are addressed caringly through the stories of other patients treated by Dr Patel. He is eventually prepared to exit the world gracefully.
‘Sit Your Self Down: A Novice’s Journey into the Heart of Vipassana’
ByGayatri Jayaraman, Hachette India
When the author embarked on a 10-day vipassana course in the Himalayas, she had no inkling to how it would transform her. Her inward journey during the programme made her want to share her experience, so others considering it could get a clearer understanding of what it entails.
The former journalist-turned counsellor gives a witty account of self-exploration with humility and honesty. Through her own journey, where she puts the chaotic world behind, along with mobile phone and dinner (!), she advocates for silence that often gives us a clear perspective and a revelation of inner strength.
‘The Food Mood Connection’
By Dr.Uma Naidoo, Hatchette India
Most people tweak their diets for weight loss, fitness, cardiac health and longevity. This book tells us how what we eat affects our brains more than our bodies. For instance, how Vitamin C and antioxidants such as flavonoids in blueberries help the body cope with the after-effects of trauma. Or, how Vitamin D intake helps in the treatment of anxiety.
Psychiatrist and nutrition specialist, Dr.Uma Naidoo draws on research to explain the connection between the food we eat and our varying moods. Quoting several studies on the profound impact of diet on mental health: conditions from ADHD to depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, OCD and dementia, Dr.Naidoo shows how a healthy diet can help treat and prevent a wide range of psychological and cognitive issues.