For many people, myself included, winter break is the time to curl up in the comfiest chair you can find with a stack of good books. If this sounds like your idea of heaven, here are a few books to get your stockpile of holiday reads started.
The books named here are the favorite reads of some of Stanford Medicine's leadership, staff and faculty. Our list begins with a suite of stories selected by Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the medical school. He recommends:
- The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD
- Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
- When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, MD
- Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock by David Margolick
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- The Prize: Who's in Charge of America's Schools by Dale Russakoff
Pamela Lynch, executive assistant to Stanford Bio-X Director Carla Shatz, PhD, chose two award-winning books. Lynch recommends The Sellout, by Paul Beatty and All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. This book received two thumbs up: After seeing Lynch's book recommendations Shatz remarked, "This is one of my all-time favorite novels!"
Anna Lembke, MD, a psychiatrist and addiction researcher, shared her list of favorite books with me saying, "reading both high and low is how I roll." She recommends:
- The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, by Stephen Greenblatt
- The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg
- The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism, by Robert William Fogel
- The Twilight Saga, by Stephenie Meyer
- Firethorn, by Sarah Micklem
- Uprooted: An Anthology on Gender and Illness, edited by Stanford graduate Megan Winkelman, Hayley Beckett, Megan Collins and Liat Litwin
- The Social Sex: A History of Female Friendship by Marilyn Yalom with Theresa Donovan Brown
- Keeping Reflection Fresh: A Practical Guide for Clinical Educators, edited by Allan Peterkin and Pamela Brett-MacLean
- Sixteen Anatomic Mnemonics, written and illustrated by Nick Love. "The hardcover edition would be a great gift for a med student, aspiring med student, or to brighten up a coffee table," says Shafer.
David Relman, MD, professor of medicine and of microbiology and immunology recommends, Thank you for your Service, by David Finkel. Relman writes, “This is a sobering and necessarily painful but gripping account of the cost of war on mental health of soldiers and their families. This is not just a book for VA physicians (of which I am one) or veterans support groups, but rather a book that every single American must read who votes for elected officials who then make decisions about taking our nation to war, let alone those officials themselves. Not exactly a book to bring cheer for the holidays, but a book that is even more important now as we face the beginning of a new administration and period in our nation's history."
And V.J. Periyakoil, MD, a palliative care expert, liked Taming Time, Timing Death: Social Technologies and Ritual, edited by Rane Willerslev and Dorthe Refslund Christensen. She told me, "I believe that time, death, and love are all interlinked concepts. To be aware of time is to be aware of our limited lifespan. In fact, you cannot make the most of the time you have left until you come to grips with the fact that you have a limited amount of it."
Previously: Recommended holiday reading for the medicine and science enthusiast, Stanford study shows how the brain responds to different types of reading instruction and Stanford Storytellers: Medical students write a children’s book to comfort and educate
Photo by jamelah e.