10 books to read this summer

July 27, 2021 | Author: Royal College Staff

Every summer, we publish a list of books recommended by specialist physicians and residents. Here are this year’s picks.

Have something to add? Leave a comment and continue the discussion!

Disclaimer: All items in this list are recommendations submitted by Fellows or residents; their appearance in this list does not constitute endorsement of the books and/or their contents by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett (2020)

Annie Lyons

“It’s a story about the difference one person can make. Never underestimate kindness.” – Janet Walker, MD, FRCSC, General Surgery, Nova Scotia

Lost Immunity: A Thriller (2021)

Daniel Kalla

“Latest Canadian bestseller by Dr. Daniel Kalla, a well-loved Vancouver emergency doc. Written before the COVID pandemic started, he captures the medical and political elements of dealing with an outbreak that are eerily salient to us all now, while delivering a page-turning thriller that entertains,” says Anna Nazif, MD, FRCPC, psychiatrist at Vancouver General and Burnaby General hospitals. Adds Elizabeth M. Wallace, MD, FRCPC, psychiatrist in Calgary, “The intriguing plot is set in post-COVID times about another epidemic, and the complicated relationships between public health, the public, vaccine makers and anti-vaxxers.”

The Bluest Eye (1970)

Toni Morrison

“This book is written from the perspective of a young African-American girl during the Great Depression in Ohio, and demonstrates pervasive and hurtful racism through the eyes of a child.” – Tara D’Ignazio, MD, PGY-4 in Adult Cardiology, Université de Montréal

Indian Horse (2017)

Richard Wagamese

“A touching and poignant story. In this time of reconciliation between Indigenous Peoples and Canadians, the drama of orphanages for Indigenous youth; this is a very good read.” – Claude Brière, MD, FRCPC, gastroenterologist in Trois-Rivières, Que.

Indigenous Toronto: Stories that Carry This Place (2021)

Denise Bolduc, Mnawaate Gordon-Corbiere, Rebeka Tabobondung, Brian Wright-McLeod, John Lorinc (Editors)

“For those practising and learning in Toronto, a great way to learn about the histories of the land and the people who were here first. Particularly loved reading ‘The Two Lives of Dr. O’ about a Kanien’keha physician who graduated from the University of Toronto in 1867.” – Kat Butler, MD, MSc(A), PGY-3 in Anesthesia, University of Toronto

We Are All Perfectly Fine: A Memoir of Love, Medicine and Healing (2021)

Jillian Horton

“Jillian’s book is a poignant reminder that we as physicians need to care for ourselves so that we can care for others.” – Susan D. Moffatt-Bruce, MD, FRCSC, PhD, MBA, FACS, chief executive officer, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World (2019)

David Epstein

“The book examines the benefits that generalists bring to a world obsessed with specialization. The author takes a broad view and examines sports, science, art and literature to examine the value of generalists in a modern, complex world.” – Brinda Balachandra, MD, FRCPC, anatomical pathologist at Royal Alexandra Hospital, Edmonton

Story, Not Study: 30 Brief Lessons to Inspire Health Researcher as Writers (2021)

Lorelei Lingard, Christopher Watling

“Accessible. A book that all academic researchers should read to improve the quality of our work and interest to our readers.” – Ricardo Viana, MD, FRCPC, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Parkwood Institute, London, Ont.

Five Perspectives on Teaching: Mapping a Plurality of the Good (2nd edition, 2017)

Daniel D. Pratt, Dave Smulders and Associates

“For those teaching medical students and residents, this book presents a framework for thinking more broadly about teaching. It is very eye-opening as it moves well beyond the relatively narrow traditional medical perspective on what it means to be a ‘teacher.’ In doing so, it highlights many ways that we can each become better teachers.” – Stephen Pinney, MD, FRCSC, orthopedic surgeon at Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, USA

Nous, c’est qui? Une Histoire des hommes et des femmes du Québec (2015)

Monique Fournier

“I picked up this book while browsing at the French bookstore between pandemic closures and I enjoy the style and context. Like most of us, I learned history in grade school and missed out on really understanding our roots. I find it especially helpful as we embark on more reflective and actionable work in equity, diversity and inclusion. Great to know a bit more about where each of us comes from and the forces that shaped who we are today. Bonne lecture!” – Guylaine Lefebvre, MD, FRCSC, FACOG, executive director, Membership Engagement and Programs, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada


11 books to read this summer (2020)

More summer reads! (2020)

13 books to read this summer (2019)

More summer reads! (2019)

Your top summer reads – revealed! (2017)


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Arthur Karasik | July 29, 2021
Between Two Kingdoms by Suleika Jaouad is a must read !
Ian MacDonald | July 29, 2021
You missed “Indians on Vacation” by Thomas King 2020 - I have never quite enjoyed a book so much. Called a satire, it is but as a novel, insightful and poignant. The dialogue between Bird and Mimi can be hilarious.
Lawrence Matrick | July 28, 2021
Greetings. I really enjoyed reading your reviews. I would like to introduce my fourth book: M.D. Confidential (2020). The topic is very relevant with all the psychological stress during COVID, with isolation and depression. Here is a brief synopsis: “In his collection of short stories, Dr. Lawrence Matrick explores the topic of mental illness and how it is perceived in society. Our mental health is just as important as our physical well-being; so why, then, don’t we want to talk about it? Why is it kept so very “hush-hush”? Dr. Matrick’s stories examine this phenomenon and how it affects those whose mental health is in jeopardy. From common maladies like anxiety and depression, to greater challenges such as schizophrenia and manic-depressive disorder, contained within this collection are a sequence of stories about mental illness that are designed to both illustrate and educate.” Warm regards, Lawrence Matrick, a U of M Alum M.D. ’57