13 books to read this summer

July 17, 2019 | Author: Royal College Staff

Every summer, we publish a list of books recommended by our members. Here are this year’s picks. Have something to add? Please leave a comment or use the form at the bottom of this page!

Disclaimer: All items in this list are recommendations submitted by Fellows; 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.

Book cover: Meltdown: Why Our Systems Fail and What We Can Do about ItMeltdown: Why Our Systems Fail and What We Can Do about It (2018)

Chris Clearfield and András Tilcsik

“This book describes why systems fail by giving examples from various walks in life. It is an easy read with lessons that can be applied to the medical field.” — Bijoy K. Menon, MD, FRCPC, stroke neurologist at the Calgary Stroke Program


Book cover: Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good CookingSalt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking (2017)

Samin Nosrat

“A fun in-depth look at how one can play creatively around the kitchen with a bit of ‘evidence-based knowledge’ and feed others well. It’s the latest of a few REALLY worthy books about the ‘basics’ for home cooks. Also look up Michael Pollan’s books, as an accompaniment, for example.” — Robert La Roche, MD, FRCSC, ophthalmologist at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax


Book cover: The Spy and the Traitor: the Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold WarThe Spy and the Traitor: the Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War (2018)

Ben Macintyre

“A great read about a senior KBG officer who worked for the British MI6 during the height of the Cold War (the Reagan-Thatcher era).” — Maurice (Mo) Bent, MD, FRCSC, Orthopaedic Surgery at North York General Hospital in Toronto


Book cover: Happy City: Transforming our Lives through Urban DesignHappy City: Transforming our Lives through Urban Design (2013)

Charles Montgomery

“Urban design (cars, commuting, urban density vs. sprawl) affects physical and mental health.” — David N. Malm, MD, FRCPC, anesthesiologist in Vancouver


Book cover: Love and Other Consolation PrizesLove and Other Consolation Prizes (2017)

Jamie Ford

“The tender-hearted story of a young man who was sold at a World’s Fair in 1909 and how he finds love in an era of syphilis, racialization and gender inequality.” — Vamana Rajeswaran, MD, resident in Endocrinology at the University of Toronto


Book cover: The Curious Charms of Arthur PepperThe Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper (2016)

Phaedra Patrick

“A light and hopeful novel.” — Janet Walker, MD, FRCSC, general surgeon


Book cover: The Perfect Predator: A Scientist's Race to Save Her Husband from a Deadly SuperbugThe Perfect Predator: A Scientist’s Race to Save Her Husband from a Deadly Superbug (2019)

Steffanie Strathdee (@chngin_the_wrld) and Thomas Patterson

“A real-life, edge of your seat, sci/med-thriller/drama about a wife who hunts the globe for a life-saving phage as her husband is slowly dying from antibiotic resistant A. baumanni (iraqibacter). Highly recommend.” — Jane Bailey (@peakpilot)


Couverture : Un été avec HomèreUn été avec Homère (2018)

Sylvain Tesson

« A witty author and an eternal subject: man. A re-reading of the Iliad and the Odyssey. » — Nicole Beccat-Latourelle, MD, FRCPC, retired psychiatrist


Book cover: The Magic MountainThe Magic Mountain (1996)

Thomas Mann

“This is a classic book and should be a requirement for all physicians. I learned so much about the experience of convalescence from this book. Although the ailment (chronic TB) is not so common today, and of course we do not treat it the same at all, the emotional and psychological experience of a lengthy (and possibly fatal) illness experience is probably not so different today. It is also beautifully written and rather philosophical, with descriptions of the beautiful outdoors suitable for summer.” — Jolie Ringash, MD, FRCPC, radiation oncologist at The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto


Book cover: The Death of Expertise: The Campaign against Established Knowledge and Why It MattersThe Death of Expertise: The Campaign against Established Knowledge and Why It Matters (2017)

Tom Nichols

“Interesting take on the current wave of ignorance, from an expert perspective.” — Rayan Ahyad, MBBS, pediatric radiologist


Book cover: On the Nature of ThingsDe Rerum Natura (The Nature of Things)


“Dated 95 years BC; precursor of the infinitely small to the infinite, of the universal through human psychology and its illusions, through the history of civilization.” — Rèal Lagacé, MD, FRCPC, retired anatomical pathologist from the CHU in Quebec City


Book cover: A Gentleman in MoscowA Gentleman in Moscow (2016)

Amor Towles

“This is a most unusual book. It’s slow to start and promises initially to be a dull recounting of disconnected anecdotes about people who don’t matter. Then it picks up pace and the anecdotes get connected and the people matter very much. The excitement mounts and there’s no end of surprises at the end. It is beautifully written and, along the way, the reader learns a lot about 20th Century Russia.” — Mary V. Seeman, MD, FRCPC, retired psychiatrist in Toronto


Book cover: The Second MountainThe Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life (2019)

David Brooks

“Gives insight into how professionals buy into a career at the start and then realize how other factors may be of more and equal importance in life.” – Saleem Malik, MD, PhD, FRCPC, general internist in Thunder Bay, Ont.

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