#WIRT: Broadcaster Noelle McCarthy

Radio host Noelle McCarthy shares two of her latest good reads

Broadcaster Noelle McCarthy. Picture / Supplied

In a world where the question ‘Who are you wearing?’ has become the new normal, we decided to ask the question ‘What are you reading?’ instead. Broadcaster Noelle McCarthy shares two of her most recent reads in our regular #WIRT series.

Two of the interviews on Summer Noelle this year came from great books. Gloria Steinem's My Life on the Road is a travelogue of her journeys across the USA, organising the meetings, protests and happenings that created second wave feminism from the 1960s on. The breadth of Steinem's memories — she heard Mahalia Jackson urging Martin Luther King to tell the crowd about 'the dream' during the 1963 march on Washington, she watched JFK walk towards that final, fateful flight to Dallas the same year — make her a sort of feminist Forrest Gump. And she makes you think about things differently. Until I read the chapter detailing her conversations with air hostesses down through the years, I'd never realised how their experiences exemplified the feminist struggle. Right up until the 1970s they weren't allowed to gain weight, get married or even age past 32 if they wanted to keep their jobs.

My other stand-out book of the summer was Henry Marsh's Do No Harm. Marsh is a brain surgeon, mostly retired now except for the charity work he does in Ukraine and Nepal. In his day he was one of the most prominent surgeons in the UK, now he's having an unlikely second act as a bestselling author and media star. His fellow bestseller, the Norwegian Karl Ove Knausgaard recently followed him to Albania for a New York Times profile The Terrible Beauty of Brain Surgery. It's a magnificent read, but not as good as Marsh's book, which is an extraordinary revealing, unflinchingly honest account of a life spent cutting into peoples brains, and the terrible consequences when surgery goes wrong.

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