Briefly Noted

Another year is slipping by, and I haven't read nearly as much (non-medical) literature as I would have liked. Still, a number of noteworthy books have come to my attention, and if you're looking for a medically-themed gift for someone on your list, consider some of the following:

  • The Man with the Iron Tattoo: Two neurologists, John Castaldo and Lawrence Levitt, recount their lives in medicine, with interesting cases, memorable patient interactions, and some mild pontification about the importance of reaching out to one another. Well-written, and an interesting look at how medicine and standards have changed in a generation.

  • The Diagnosis of Love, by Dr. Maggie Leffler. I must say, this book was much better than the title or blurb (about a young female physician resolving family and relationship crises) would lead me to expect. The book featured snappy pacing and dialog, well-developed characters, and captured some of the frustration and opportunity inherent in a scientifically-trained physician interacting with some of the stubborn and less rational people around her.

  • Know Your Numbers, Outlive Your Diabetes by Dr. Richard Jackson and noted journalist and blogger Amy Tenderich of DiabetesMine. When I think of all the diabetic patients I see with repeat visits to our emergency rooms, I can only hope some of newly diagnosed pick up this book before it's too late. With straightforward text, and easy-to-read bullet points and tables, this book can give patients a strategy on to manage this challenging disease. And it might give the patients, and their caregivers, some hope as well.

  • The Alchemy of Grief by Emily Ferrara. One of my former professors has produced a book of poetry, borne of a parent's worst pain, the loss of a child. One review reads:

  • This is excellently controlled craftsmanship, conveying deeply felt emotion. The grief of loss is sharply poignant and real, yet never maudlin or self-indulgent. The music of the lines is subtle and fine. The tension between the controlled craft and the poignancy of the theme makes the reader participate in the poems and feel with the poet, sharing the human despair and transcendent emotions that bring us through to survival. - Daniela Gioseffi