Your summer 2022 book recommendations
Every summer, we publish a list of book recommendations from our members. Ranging from fiction to memoir, fun to thrill, here are this year’s picks.
- Fun/heartwarming reading
- Learning and reflection
- Indigenous voices
- Medical musings
Have something to add? Leave a comment and continue the discussion!
FOR FUN, HEARTWARMING READING
The Music of Bees (2021)
“An actual uplifting book. Joy and love after sadness and tragedy. And family is who you choose.” — J. Walker, MD, FRCSC, general surgeon, Nova Scotia
Behind the Scenes at the Museum (1995)
“Witty and clever writing from the perspective of a girl who tells the stories of six generations of women in her family in the first person. Hilarious footnotes tell the backstory of Ruby’s family via objects in her life.” — Alexa Caturay, MD, FRCPC, associate medical officer of health, Toronto
Anxious People (2019)
“Really funny and relaxing read about the foibles of people in everyday life. (This author is Sweden’s biggest export since Larsson & Abba!)” — M.A. Jason, MD, FRCSC, urologist (retired), Seven Oaks and Victoria hospitals, Winnipeg, Man.
FOR LEARNING AND REFLECTION
Probable Impossibilities: Musings on beginnings and endings (2022)
“A collection of short essays written by a physicist that reflect on science and self. Beautifully written, powerful and the perfect springboard for a summer day when you aren’t keeping track of time and can let a thought take you away.” — Jesse Kancir, MD, CCFP, FRCPC, regional medical officer of health, Eastern Zone, Nova Scotia
Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest (2021)
“The author, with a PhD in Forest Sciences, describes in straightforward description ‘that trees are not simply the source of timber or pulp but are a complicated, interdependent circle of life; that … [they] communicate their vitality and vulnerabilities with communal lives not that different from our own.’ The story of this research and discovery is woven into the story of her family and how this may impact climate change.” — Susan Babensee, MD, FRCPC, radiologist and Nuclear Medicine physician, Trail, B.C.
All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis (2020)
Editors: Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson
“A hopeful and illuminating anthology of writings by women at the forefront of climate action — a transformative and powerful community of changemakers that can lead humanity in healing ourselves and the earth.” — Tanya Wulff, MD, CCFP(LM), FRCPC, retired child psychiatrist, Vancouver
A Matter of Death and Life (2021)
Irvin and Marilyn Yalom
Publisher: Albin Michel
“Irvin Yalom, a psychiatrist who has written extensively on anxiety and grief, reflects with his wife Marilyn, a scholar and writer, on her impending death. A valuable insight into death and the loss of a loved one.” — Luc Morin, MD, FRCPC, Psychiatrist, Sherbrooke
Women who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype (1997)
Clarissa Pinkola Estés
“A balm for the soul; a source of feminine empowerment and a reminder to trust your intuition.” — Savita Rani, MD, MPH, PGY4 in Public Health and Preventive Medicine, University of Saskatchewan
FOR A THRILL
The Disappearance of Stephanie Mailer (2018)
“Another stellar book by the author. Unfurling the layers to find the culprit.” — J. Walker, MD, FRCSC, general surgeon, Nova Scotia
The Accursed Kings (series published between 1955–1977)
“These historical novels recount the disastrous adventures of the heirs of King Philip IV of France, known as “Philip the Fair.” A series of misadventures and unfortunate events told through real historical facts. A truly captivating story!” — Samuel Dubé, MD, FRCSC, Gynecologic Oncologist at CHUM, Montreal
Fall of Man in Wilmslow (2009)
“A bio about Alan Turing who invented the ‘thinking machine,’ breaking the German code in WWII and helping win the war. (Enigma by Robert Harris is more fictional).” — M.A. Jason, MD, FRCSC, urologist (retired), Seven Oaks and Victoria hospitals, Winnipeg, Man.
Hunter with Harpoon (1970, original; 2020, new English translation)
Translators: Valerie Henitiuk and Marc-Antoine Mahieu
“Markoosie Patsauq’s novel helped establish the genre of Indigenous fiction in Canada. A classic! A captivating tale of arctic hunting of the polar bear and human survival. A great short read.” — Françoise P. Chagnon, MDCM, FRCSC, Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Montreal
Permanent Astonishment: A Memoir (2021)
“So great to read; the style is entertaining. I find it exciting with some great humour thrown in. Indigenous perspective and experience.” — B.D. McLeod, MD, FRCPC, rheumatologist, Kelowna, B.C.
Seven Fallen Feathers (2017)
“On Reconciliation Day, I decided to read a list of related books and this one was one of my favorites. It covers systemic racism issues in Canada and specifically events taking place in Thunder Bay.” — Aleksandra Mineyko, MD, FRCPC, pediatric neurologist, Alberta Children’s Hospital
FOR FANS OF MEMOIR/BIOGRAPHY
The Book of Small (2004)
“Fascinating perspective of childhood in Victoria in the late 1800s/early 1900s. Lovely prose. I never appreciated Carr as an author; had only know her as a painter.” — Ingrid Vicas, MDCM, FRCPC, Emergency Medicine, Medical Toxicology and Addiction Medicine, Calgary, Alta.
We Are All Perfectly Fine: A Memoir of Love, Medicine and Healing (2021)
“Dr. Horton is a wonderful writer, but also brutally honest clinician and teacher, who shares her journey into medicine, through burnout, and back again.” — Jolie Ringash, MD, MSc, FRCPC, radiation oncologist, The Princess Margaret/UHN, Toronto
Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. (1998)
“A good, but long read, about the dichotomy of a business tycoon and philanthropist. It details a life and times in America during the last half of the 1800s and first part of the 1900s.” — Eric S. Leith, MD, FRCPC, specialist in Clinical Immunology and Allergy and Internal Medicine
FOR MEDICAL MUSINGS
The Premonition: A Pandemic Story (2021)
“This is an inspiring story of a determined group of epidemiologists, public health and infectious disease experts who — through modelling and historical analysis (of the 1918 Flu Pandemic) —developed pandemic mitigation strategies, only to be confronted by ivory-tower gatekeepers and a disinterested, apathetic American government apparatus until it became too late. It champions the ideals of being a fierce advocate for your patient’s and community’s health, and remaining resolute in your convictions, despite powerful opposition.” — Jaideep Kanungo, MD, FRCPC, neonatologist, Victoria General Hospital
Fertility: 40 Years of Change (2022)
“This is a very informative, accessible and well-written book on reproductive and genetic technologies by author and lawyer Maureen McTeer. After providing us with the necessary background, she challenges us to look into the future of research and clinical care in this field. This is an exceptional book on one of the most complex health policy questions facing Canadians.” — Arthur Leader, MD, FRCSC, emeritus professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Ottawa
This is Assisted Dying: A Doctor’s Story of Empowering Patients at the End of Life (2022)
“This point-of-view on medical assistance in dying from a Canadian doctor pioneering this work is brave, honest and helps meaningfully advance our dialogue on assisted dying.” — Jesse Kancir, MD, CCFP, FRCPC, regional medical officer of health, Eastern Zone, Nova Scotia
Looking for more picks? Check out these other lists.