Today for Top Ten Tuesday FREEBIE I discuss ten books that I believe everyone hoping to study medicine, nursing, physiotherapy (and so on) should read. Last year I wrote a post about nine things students should do before deciding to study medicine. I also made a list of books for fans of medicine. This new list adds to that. Most of these books may also appeal to the non-medical reader.
1. Molokai’i by Allan Brennert
Historical fiction based on truth: the story of a seven year old girl in Hawai’i who is sent away to a leper colony after being diagnosed with Hansen’s Disease. It is a great novel for ANYONE, interested in healthcare or not, but it is also important for future healthcare practitioners to understand their role in the creation or abolition of stigma.
2. The Angina Monologues by Rosamund Kendal
Maybe one day I’ll stop raving about these books. But not yet. Kendal illustrates perfectly what it is like working as a junior – in the South African setup, but I think that non-South Africans could also relate to it.
3. Hospital Babylon by Imogen Edwards-Jones
This one is not as funny as the other Babylon books, probably because it has a lot of gore and dying in it. It also focuses on the healthcare professions in the UK. Regardless, it offers useful insights into the less-glamorous aspects of working in the public sector.
4. The Radiation Sonnets: For My Love, in Sickness and in Health by Jane Yolen
It is unlikely that any healthcare practitioner will not have an encounter with a patient and family in the throes of cancer. These sonnets are not only beautiful, but also offer an important glimpse into the life of a family member and caretaker of a patient with cancer. Important lessons can be gleaned here.
5. Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron
This chronicles the author’s struggle with severe clinical depression. There are many good books on the topic, but this is short and unlikely to plunge the reader into a similar mood. Read it with Rose Styron’s essay about the same topic, Strands.
One of the wittiest pieces of research I have ever read. This book explores toilets and waste-disposal habits around the world – from the squatting Eastern toilets to Japan’s smart toilets and the evolution of our mundane toilets. George gives a good justification for the importance of this topic. A highly enjoyable book, which offers important insight to the future stakeholders in public health.
7. Hope in Hell: Inside the World of Doctors without Borders by Dan Bortolotti
I did not “enjoy” this book. I do not think it is particularly well-written. However, for a long time I considered working for Medecins Sans Frontieres and this book definitely changed my perspective. Unless you have worked for MSF (or read the book, or spoken personally to one of their volunteers) whatever you think of MSF is wrong. Seriously. I think a lot of people study health sciences because of MSF, and it is important to get all the facts before making such a decision.
An heartbreaking true story of Hmong refugees and how the inability of their doctors to understand their culture (and vice versa) lead to complete treatment failure. Incredibly important, as the possibility of having to treat someone of an unknown language and culture is huge in our global society.
A book about the decades-long fight for a cleaner environment – ranging from the workplace to the air we breathe. This book is very statistical and scientific, and not the easiest read, but incredibly interesting. You will be shocked how government and big corporation have corroborated in hiding information that could save lives.
Paul Farmer is an incredibly doctor and human being. I tried to read his book, Infections and Inequalities, and I admit that I could not finish it. It went over my head. This biography is incredible though. Inspiring, easy to read, even fun to read (and biographies are rarely fun or easy to read).