The Medical Reader’s Miscellany

After I read Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder in 2007, I knew that my life would be different.  Awakened in me was a newfound ambition, something I had never really had before.  Finally, everything I felt about the world, all my frustations and concerns and ideas had an outlet, a GOAL.  I would work in public health.  And so I kept reading.  Before this, I had not read much nonfiction, being a student of theater and preferring Shakespeare and 19th centuryBritish novels to books about dead presidents and their wars.  But now I was voracious.  My new favorite section at the bookstore is medical writing.

Here is an overview of my (mental) medical bookshelf:

I’ve included links to the Amazon page for each book.  I will be posting book reviews of each over the coming months.  I invite you to read along with me.  I am also taking suggestions!  What should I read next?  What books have moved you or influenced your career?

Currently Reading
Hope in Hell: Inside the World of Doctors Without Borders by Dan Bortolotti
And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic by Randy Shilts

Books I’ve Read
Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder
What Patients Taught Me: A Medical Student’s Journey by Emily R. Transue
Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande
Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance by Atul Gawande
Becoming a Doctor: A Journey of Initiation in Medical School by Melvin Konner
How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman
The Soul of a Doctor: Harvard Medical Students Face Life and Death edited by Susan Pories, Sachin H. Jain, Gordon Harper, and Jerome E. Groopman
The Intern Blues: The Timeless Classic About the Making of a Doctor by Robert Marion
Match Day: One Day and One Dramatic Year in the Lives of Three New Doctors by Brian Eule
The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic—and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by Steven Johnson

Books to Read
Next on My List
The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande
Safe Patients, Smart Hospitals: How One Doctor’s Checklist Can Help Us Change Health Care from the Inside Out by Peter Pronovost, Eric Vohr
Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor by Paul Farmer
General Medical Memoir
Kill as Few Patients as Possible: And Fifty-Six Other Essays on How to Be the World’s Best Doctor by Oscar London
What Patients Taught Me: A Medical Student’s Journey by Audrey Young
Intern: A Doctor’s Initiation by Sandeep Jauhar
Patient by Patient: Lessons in Love, Loss, Hope, and Healing from a Doctor’s Practice by Emily R. Transue
The Doctor Wore Petticoats: Women Physicians of the Old West by Chris Enss
The Soul of Medicine: Tales from the Bedside by Sherwin B. Nuland
Code Blue: A Katrina Physician’s Memoir by Richard E. Deichmann
This Side of Doctoring: Reflections from Women in Medicine edited by Eliza Lo Chin
Walk on Water: The Miracle of Saving Children’s Lives by Michael Ruhlman
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
The Changing Face of Medicine: Women Doctors and the Evolution of Health Care in America by Ann K. Boulis and Jerry A. Jacobs
Hospital: Man, Woman, Birth, Death, Infinity, Plus Red Tape, Bad Behavior, Money, God and Diversity on Steroids by Julie Salamon
Med School Confidential: A Complete Guide to the Medical School Experience: By Students, for Students by Robert H. Miller and Dan Bissell
Infectious Disease
Infections and Inequalities: The Modern Plagues by Paul Farmer
The Great Influenza: The story of the deadliest pandemic in history by John M. Barry
Virus Hunter: Thirty Years of Battling Hot Viruses Around the World by C. J. Peters and Mark Olshaker
Polio: An American Story by David M. Oshinsky
The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance by Laurie Garrett
The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years by Sonia Shaw
International Focus
Six Months in Sudan: A Young Doctor in a War-Torn Village by James Maskalyk
There Is No Me Without You: One Woman’s Odyssey to Rescue Her Country’s Children by Melissa Fay Greene
Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali by Kris Holloway; Consulting Editor John Bidwell
The Hospital at the End of the World by Joe Niemczura
Where Soldiers Fear to Tread: A Relief Worker’s Tale of Survival by John S. Burnett
Another Day in Paradise: International Humanitarian Workers Tell Their Stories by Carol Bergman
Emergency Medicine
Something for the Pain: Compassion and Burnout in the ER by Paul Austin
Emergency!: True Stories From The Nation’s ERs by Mark Brown
Rescue 471: A Paramedic’s Stories by Peter Canning
Paramedic: On the Front Lines of Medicine by Peter Canning
999: True Stories of My Life as a Paramedic by Lysa Walder
My Ambulance Education: Life and Death on the Streets of the City by Joseph F. Clark
EMS: The Job of Your Life by Devin Kerins
Ambulance Girl: How I Saved Myself By Becoming an EMT by Jane Stern
Blood, Sweat, and Tea: Real-Life Adventures in an Inner-City Ambulance by Tom Reynolds
Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside by Katrina Kirlik
Hot Lights, Cold Steel: Life, Death and Sleepless Nights in a Surgeon’s First Years by Michael J. Collins
Blue Collar, Blue Scrubs: The Making of a Surgeon by Michael J. Collins
The Real Grey’s Anatomy: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Real Lives of Surgical Residents by Andrew Holtz

Don’t forget to make your reading suggestions! What’s on your bedstand or in your bag right now?  Comment below.


2 thoughts on “The Medical Reader’s Miscellany

  1. Wow, that’s a lot of books. I just read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks– I highly recommend it! I was also going to recommend The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, but I think that’s already on your list. Have fun reading 🙂

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