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Samantha Harvey's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Samantha Harvey recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Samantha Harvey's favorite book recommendations of all time.


Life and Times of Michael K

In a South Africa torn by civil war, Michael K sets out to take his mother back to her rural home. On the way there she dies, leaving him alone in an anarchic world of brutal roving armies. Imprisoned, Michael is unable to bear confinement and escapes, determined to live with dignity. Life and Times of Michael K goes to the centre of human experience - the need for an interior, spiritual life, for some connections to the world in which we live, and for purity of vision.

'This is a truly astonishing novel... I finished Life & Times of Michael K in a state...
Recommended by Samantha Harvey, and 1 others.

Samantha HarveyAn absolutely devastating read from the first page, but you can’t put it down. It’s a terrible and beautiful story about a man whose mother is dying. (Source)

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A Memoir of Iris Murdoch

Recommended by Samantha Harvey, and 1 others.

Samantha HarveyIt’s not a portrait of Alzheimer’s at all: it’s a portrait of a person, and Bayley treats the disease as if it’s just another aspect of this person. (Source)

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Winner of the 2002 BMA Popular Medicine Book Prize: This is a haunting literary and scientific examination of Alzheimer’s disease and the race to find a cure.

‘A truly remarkable book – the definitive work on Alzheimer’s, both in social and medical terms, “The Forgetting” is incisive, humane, never ponderous, full of dry humour and brilliantly written with quiet, unpretentious authority. As a layman with personal experience of “caring” for an Alzheimer’s sufferer I am well aware of the stages of the disease and its prognosis and ending. Shenk is excellent on all these, and in his...

Recommended by Samantha Harvey, and 1 others.

Samantha HarveyA very lucid and well-written portrait of Alzheimer’s disease. It gives a sort of biography and history of the disease, using medical and anecdotal sources and case histories. (Source)

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From Nobel Prize–winning author José Saramago, a magnificent, mesmerizing parable of loss

A city is hit by an epidemic of "white blindness" that spares no one. Authorities confine the blind to an empty mental hospital, but there the criminal element holds everyone captive, stealing food rations and assaulting women. There is one eyewitness to this nightmare who guides her charges—among them a boy with no mother, a girl with dark glasses, a dog of tears—through the barren streets, and their procession becomes as uncanny as the surroundings are harrowing. As Blindness...
Recommended by Samantha Harvey, Leah Lizarondo, and 2 others.

Samantha HarveyIt because it brings up the question of what conditions are necessary for sanity and what happens when you take those conditions away. (Source)

Leah LizarondoThe version of dystopia in this book is provocative but truly, the style and structure is what makes the book even more memorable. I always think about our humanity and how fallible we are. I love that this book tackles that but ultimately, our true core--what is good--triumphs. That is pretty much how I look at life. (Source)

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Nausea is the story of Antoine Roquentin, a French writer who is horrified at his own existence. In impressionistic, diary form he ruthlessly catalogues his every feeling and sensation about the world and people around him.

His thoughts culminate in a pervasive, overpowering feeling of nausea which "spread at the bottom of the viscous puddle, at the bottom of our time, the time of purple suspenders and broken chair seats; it is made of wide, soft instants, spreading at the edge, like an oil stain."

Roquentin's efforts to try and come to terms with his...

David Heinemeier HanssonExistentialists like Sartre are big on the idea that you can’t just relate a philosophical worldview by simply stating values, techniques, and facts. To understand existentialism, you must feel it. Breathe its ambience. It’s like a tonal curve for life. Yes, we can talk about highlights, shadows, and all the mechanical elements of that tonal curve, but you won’t become an artist just by knowing... (Source)

Samantha HarveyThe question of mental illness comes down to whether Sartre’s right about his philosophy, which is an interesting question. (Source)

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