Your top summer reads – revealed!

July 13, 2017 | Author: Royal College Staff

Last month we asked for your book recommendations. This month we present the final list. If you’re still looking for that perfect beach read, settle in and look no further…

Here are some top book recommendations, as suggested by your colleagues.

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.


Do Not Say We Have NothingDo Not Say We Have Nothing (By: Madeleine Thien) | Publisher: Knopf Canada

“An epic book covering Chinese history from the civil war to the Cultural Revolution to the Tiananmen Square massacre and the present day through the eyes of interlocking characters and their music.” – Perry Maerov, MD, FRCSC, comprehensive ophthalmologist and refractive surgeon in Vancouver

Stone Mattress: Nine StoriesStone Mattress: Nine Tales (By: Margaret Atwood) | Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

“The stories present everyday life with a layer of (surprisingly logical) surrealism on top. You can even avoid the guilt of non-medicine reading – there’s a reference to Charles Bonnet syndrome.” – Vamana Rajeswaran, MD, PGY2 Internal Medicine at the University of Toronto

LifeLife (By: Keith Richards) | Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

“It is an incredible musical journey of the history of American Blues (& artists) that influenced the Stones. You’ll keep saying, ‘Damn, I wish I was in the Stones!’” – R. Patel, MD, intensivist at The Ottawa Hospital

When Breath Becomes AirWhen Breath Becomes Air (By: Paul Kalanithi) | Publisher: Penguin Random House

“Fantastic story of a young surgeon – autobiography, true story; life lived fully.” – N. Chandra Narayanan, MD, FACS, FRCSC, Surgical Oncology in Hartford, CT, U.S.A.

They Left Us EverythingThey Left Us Everything (By: Plum Johnson) | Publisher: Penguin Canada

“A memoir written about dealing with the physical belongings after parents’ deaths, but also resolution of grief and relationships.” – Sue Babensee, MD, FRCPC, radiologist at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital

A Gentleman in MoscowA Gentleman in Moscow (By: Amor Towles) | Publisher: Viking

“It is hilarious, delightful, well-written and partly historical.” – Karen Scully, MD, FRCPC, dermatologist in Charlotte, NC, U.S.A.

43214321 (By: Paul Auster) | Publisher: Faber & Faber

“This is a great read that explores who we are or what we might have been had our lives turned our slightly differently.” – Perry Maerov, MD, FRCSC, comprehensive ophthalmologist and refractive surgeon in Vancouver

Cutting for StoneCutting for Stone (By: Abraham Verghese) | Publisher: Vintage Canada

“Long read that spans the life of Siamese twins separated at birth in an exotic country that few of us have traveled to. Two of the main characters are physicians and part of the story takes place in the United States, which makes it easier for us to relate to.” – Nita Scherer, MD, FRCSC, Otolaryngology, Ottawa

The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner (By: Khaled Hosseini) | Publisher: Riverhead Books

“This book provides a good picture of the real Afghanistan.” – Markus Martin, MDCM, FRCSC, Montreal

Dante’s War: A NovelDante’s War: A Novel (By: Sandra Sabatini) | Publisher: Key Porter Books

“An emotionally rich love story about a couple falling in love but separated by war that forced them to go through trials and suffering before they become reunited. There are many books from the Second World War but this one is exceptional by giving us perspectives of ordinary people living in Italy under Mussolini, sent to fight the British in North Africa and enduring Nazi occupation at home. It is a joy to read this fluid, fresh, rhythmical prose of a contemporary Canadian writer.” – Jaro Kotalik, MD, MA, FRCPC, bioethicist at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont.

The Last PlaneThe Last Plane (By: Robert Hirzer) | Publisher: Servus Books

“Written by a Canadian physician, telling the partially fictionalized story of his parents, their struggles growing up in Austria, their experiences with World War II (including being a prisoner of war in Russia), immigrating to Canada; interspersed with his own very different struggles. A unique perspective, an intricate and compelling read.” – Maria Kidney, MD, radiologist in British Columbia

The 48 Laws of PowerThe 48 Laws of Power (By: Robert Greene) | Publisher: Penguin Books

“Valuable tips for professional and personal life.” – Waleed Alqurashi, MD, MSc, FRCPC, pediatric emergency physician at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) in Ottawa

“All I Want to Know is Where I'm Going to Die so I'll Never Go There.” Buffett & Munger - A Study in Simplicity and Uncommon, Common Sense“All I Want to Know is Where I’m Going to Die so I’ll Never Go There.” Buffett & Munger – A Study in Simplicity and Uncommon, Common Sense (By: Peter Bevelin) | Publisher: PCA Publications

“An outstanding book on critical thinking and mental models. So much fun to read.” – Waleed Alqurashi, MD, MSc, FRCPC, assistant professor at the University of Ottawa

The BreakThe Break (By: Katherena Vermette) | Publisher: House of Anansi Press

“This is a beautifully written page-turner set in Winnipeg’s north end. It tells the story of a multigenerational [Indigenous] family and their support of each other in the face of a horrific crime. Heartbreaking but eye-opening, it should be mandatory reading for all those who want to better understand the realities that [Indigenous Peoples] face in today’s Canada.” – Jocelyne McKenna, MD, FRCPC, anesthesiologist at The Ottawa Hospital

Strange Shores: Murder in ReykjavikStrange Shores: Murder in Reykjavik (By: Arnaldur Indridason) | Publisher: Harvill Secker

“Indridason writes compelling mysteries set in Iceland, which I started reading following a trip to Reykjavik several summers ago. The story starts with a cold case of a woman missing for decades. The protagonist, Erlender, discovers much about himself during this search.” – Peggy Sagle, MD, FRCSC, reproductive endocrinologist at The University of Alberta in Edmonton

Better Now: Six Big Ideas to Improve Health Care for All CanadiansBetter Now: Six Big Ideas to Improve Health Care for All Canadians (By: Dr. Danielle Martin) | Publisher: Allen Lane

“I’ve been a physician for 13 years and never realized how much I didn’t know about health policy and our patients’ access to drugs and procedures. It was an easy and inspirational read. The individual case stories made a huge impact on me and my desire to change how we do medicine. A must read for all physicians.” – Tamara Miller, MD, FRCPC, anesthesiologist at St Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg

A Fine BalanceA Fine Balance (By: Rohinton Mistry) | Publisher: Emblem Editions

“Excellent read! Long but definitely worth it!” – Hajira Danial, MD, OB-GYN in Edmonton

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird LaneThe Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane (By: Lisa See) | Publisher: Scribner

“Beautifully researched tale that whisks you away to the minority Akha group in Southwestern China, weaving in a tale about the tea industry, American adoption of Chinese babies, contrasts of urban and rural China, value systems and love. It is an enlightening and enjoyable read with themes that apply far beyond the Akha tribes. A well-crafted tale like this one deepens our humanity, the fuel from which we derive our best healing practices.” – Latifa Yeung, MD, FRCPC, pediatric gastroenterology at Scarborough and Rouge Hospital, Toronto

The Rocks: A NovelThe Rocks: A Novel (By: Peter Nichols) | Publisher: Riverhead Books

“An enjoyable read.” – Arthur Rosenberg, MD, hematologist in Montreal


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