Reading, lately

As this semester of medical school progresses, I find myself reading more and more.  (And more).  But I've been finding myself having an increasingly difficult time finding great books to read.  In the past, I could pick up almost any book and simply devour it, cover to cover in a matter of days.  (My Hubby always tells me that I read much to quickly to even absorb what I'm seeing.  I have to explain to him that reading a novel is slightly different reading a neuro textbook).  Lately, however, I have seriously been striking out. Either my taste in reading has become much more sophisticated or the reading material I have been choosing has been sub-par (who's going with the latter?).

At the suggestion of a friend, I started reading Ishmael by Daniel Quinn.  I'm sure that it's a lovely, thought-provoking book, as it is incredibly deep and philosophical.  However, I had a very difficult time getting past the fact that there is a talking gorilla as the main character.  Well, not a talking gorilla - a telepathic gorilla.  (Can you sense why I had any difficulties?).  I tried to read it.  Really, I did.  And very, very seldom do I ever not finish reading a book once I've started it, even if I don't enjoy it.  But this one was just a little bit too out there for me.  (Plus I took about a month-long hiatus from reading it, tried to pick it up and start reading it again, and then realized I'd forgotten most of what had happened and this is the type of book  to which you must pay very close attention.  So maybe someday I will re-read/finish it.  Or maybe I will put it at the back of the bookshelf and stop worrying about it). 

As for my husband's suggestion?  He was appalled that I had never read 1984 by George Orwell ("MJ! It's a classic!") and insisted that I read it.  I've actually started to get into it somewhat, but seriously - the print is so tiny and the chapters so long that I'll admit that I sometimes just use it to help me fall asleep at night (not that I ever need help with that - I am what you might call a champion sleeper). I will finish that one.  At some point. 

We're pretty much 0/2 on my choices.  My mother-in-law reads quite a bit of James Patterson and offers his books to read.  I do enjoy parts of them, but sometimes they are just, well...a little bit much for me.  When books are too realistic about really scary things happening to women, I start to hear things go bump in the night.  My imagination always gets the best of me.   So she found a tamed down version of James Patterson for me to read (I know-I'm such a baby).  It was called Predator by Terri Blackstone.  This is the best book I've read lately (could it be because of what I have to compare it to?  A talking gorilla and an old novel based in the "future"?).  Anywho - that one was good.  I'd recommend it.

For my bible study, we are reading Radical by David Platt.  It is a very good read, and I have very much enjoyed going through it with the girls in my group.  But I only recommend reading it if you are ready to feel convicted and take a serious look at your life, your responsibilities, and your wealth (yes, if you are reading this, you have access to a computer.  So you, my dears, are wealthy by all worldly standards).  

Quite a few med-wife-blogs that I stalk on a daily basis and wonder why they haven't put up a post in a week then realize that neither have I peruse occasionally have been talking about reading memoirs of doctors.  Then, at my bible study, one of the ladies brought Bryson City Tales by Walt Larimore, MD to offer if any of us wanted to read it.  It's about a brand spanking new doctor, living and working in a rural mountain town.  As one of the wives in our group has a husband who is just now finishing his residency and will soon be moving to such a little town, I let her take it.  Then immediately came home and requested it from the library.  I just got it the other day, but I'm already sucked in.  I love it - but is it really SO GOOD?  Or is it because it's the first glimpse that I've had into the life of a medical couple, instead of a medical school couple?

Either way - I'm hooked on medical books.  I downloaded Gray Matter by Joel Kilpatrick, which promises to be "a perfect blend of medical drama and spiritual insight."  (It's still free for download from Amazon).  I'm fairly certain that it's a memoir, but I can't distinguish for sure from the little blip on Amazon.  Nevertheless, I'm excited, and it's next on my "Medical-to-Read" list.

Another medical memoir to which I'm looking forward to reading is In Stitches by Dr. Anthony Youn, which debuts this spring.  Dr. Youn is a plastic surgeon who resides in the same great state as the hubby and I currently do.  I had already read the excerpt on his website, and thought that it would be a good read, when he emailed me the In Stitches book trailer on YouTube to watch.  (I know -a trailer, for a book??  I've never heard of such a thing.  For thoughts on trailers for books, please see this post by Lauren which pretty much sums up what I think on that subject.  No need to repeat, right?). 

I watched it - and it was cute.  Maybe a little nerdy, but that seems to go with the premise of the novel.  So I deemed it fitting.  I enjoyed hearing the synopsis in Dr. Youn's own words, and own voice.  But I really can't get past the thought of a trailer for a book!  So beyond me.  But I suppose that is the way of the future?  I am definitely looking forward to reading Dr. Youn's memoir.  You can read the book's excerpt on his website here.

So fill up my comments with reading suggestions!  (If they are medical memoirs - awesome.  If not, just note that if they are super gory or scary, or have vampires, I will probably thank you for your suggestions but not take them!).   

Happy March!

Disclaimer: Please note that while Dr. Youn did send me the link to this video and ask me to watch it, I was not compensated for this post, and the opinions are mine alone.  Also, I cannot guarantee that I agree with or endorse the content of In Stitches, as I have not yet personally read it.  


  1. I just read The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. Well we listened to it from Itunes, it was so good. I also have a few books here you can choose from. Have you read Water for Elephants? The movie is coming out, I haven't read it but Dennis did, he loved it.


  2. I was just about to do a book post! I'll probably still post, but just in case I'm not on the lucky daily stalk list, here are a few books on my list. :)

    "Complications" by Atul Gawande (I really like this author. He is a doctor, but it's not about daily life and does have some medical procedures (I'm not sure that counts towards gore)).

    Not medically related I like books by Malcolm Gladwell, especially "Blink."

    And the The Rani Adventures Series (starting with "It's A Jungle Out There") by Ron Snell. (The series is about missionary life in Peru)

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  4. MJ! send me your email address. I made a book list last summer with 50 titles. I've read most of them and own most of them.

    I did NOT like Eat, Pray, Love, so I would not recommend that one.

    You definitely should read 1984. If you have ever seen the movie V for Vendetta, I think some of the premise is similar (theme of being watched by government, etc.)

    The Help is excellent. It is a heavy book, so get comfy on a big chair or couch.

    Send me your email and I will send you the list to you. :)



  5. A few of my favorite books listed here -


    I've also heard The Help is excellent, haven't read it yet, but it's definitely on my list to check out.


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