More summer reads!

August 11, 2020 | Author: Royal College Staff

Last month’s list of “11 books to read this summer” motivated eleven more members to submit their recommendations. If you are looking for something new to read, you might find some inspiration from the list below. Happy reading!

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.

Girl, Woman, Other

Girl, Woman, Other (2019)

Bernardine Evaristo

“This is a brilliant, layered story of the intertwined lives of twelve black women/individuals, spanning multiple generations, set in contemporary UK. It is written in unusual syntax, missing punctuation and capitalization – but don’t let that put you off, it is surprisingly effective and may be ideal for our faltering attention spans recently. A novel for our times in its treatment of race, gender, sexuality, humanity.” – Deepa Wadhwa, MD, FRCPC, medical oncologist at BC Cancer, Kelowna

Being Mortal

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End (2014)

Atul Gawande

“The title says everything that readers need to know. Dr. Gawande writes in a very insightful manner about his personal and professional experiences related to aging, illness, and death.” – Robert Nolan, MD, FRCPC, DABR, diagnostic radiologist (retired)

The Tenant

The Tenant (2016)

Katrine Engberg

“An enjoyable mystery; the first book translated into English for this Danish author. The interactions between the two police investigators keep this book light.” – Peggy Sagle, MD FRCSC, gynecologist at the University of Alberta, Edmonton

Just MercyJust Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (2014)

Bryan Stevenson

“Written in 2014, it provides insight into the present problems that dominate U.S. internal affairs – profiling the many cases of Black American teenagers and adults on death row. The social commentary is deep and allows one to appreciate the problems experienced by minorities who are marginalized in Canada.” – Ian M. MacDonald, MD CM, FRCSC, ophthalmologist, Royal Alexandra Hospital


Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (2010)

Timothy Snyder

“Compellingly written history of the mass killings that took place in Eastern Europe. Eloquent and disturbing.” – Terrill E. Theman, MD, FRCSC, cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon (retired), Pennsylvania


Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance (2007) 

Atul Gawande

“Describes why and how we err with ideas for prevention and being better.” – M. A. Jason, MD, FRCSC, urologist (retired), reading three books at a time


Legacy: Trauma, Story, and Indigenous Healing (2019)

Suzanne Methot

“An amazing, inspirational personal story of an Indigenous woman’s recovery journey from complex PTSD. Extremely well researched, discussing Canadian history, current events, determinants of health, PTSD treatment, and culturally competent medical care across medicine. This book is accessible to any reader, insightfully reflective and hopefully offering valuable and insightful suggestions of directions our health care system and country can take.” – Helen Lowry, MD, FRCPC, psychiatrist, Saskatoon


Sapiens (2011)

Yuval Noah Harari

“Very illuminating read about how we evolved. It brings together so many valuable insights, covering the beginning of our human species right through to the present.” – Anne Galipeau, MD, FRCPC, psychiatrist at University of Ottawa Health Services, Ottawa

Red River Girl

Red River Girl (2019)

Joanna Jolly

The Ballad of Danny Wolfe

The Ballad of Danny Wolfe (2016)

Joe Friesen

“These two books are about Indigenous youth from Winnipeg; both of their lives ended early and tragically. Although these realities seem “on the fringe,” there is much to be gleaned and absorbed from their stories.” – Randy Friesen, MD, FRCSC, general surgeon, northern Saskatchewan


Humankind – A Hopeful History (2019)

Rutger Bregman

“It presents ample examples of the goodness inherent in much human behavior. In particular, the author documents the evidence that in time of war, many (most?) soldiers do not want to kill others and in fact go to some lengths to avoid doing so. He shows how “Lord of the flies” is pure fiction and in the one, real world incident of seven teenage boys marooned on a tropical island off Samoa in the 1960s, their real life behaviour was supportive and caring and completely at odds with that which was depicted in Lord of the Flies. A very engaging and informative read backed by considerable research which the author dissects quite thoroughly.” – Paul Thiessen, MD, FRCPC

The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch (2013)

Donna Tartt

“Exciting plot. Very well written. Difficult to put down because you keep wanting to know more.”– Ramon Roman MD, FRCPC, anesthesiologist  (retired), Montreal


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