Thursday, March 28, 2013

The books of M4 year

Over the past eight years, I’ve frequently posted about “The books of…” various portions of my training. There were the books I read during my first summer of medical school in 2006, with the last few listed in a second post. Then there were all of the books I read while in South Africa just before starting graduate school in 2007, so voluminous that they couldn’t be captured in a single post. Then there were the books of the summer of 2008, which also required some wrapping up in an additional post, confirming my tendencies not only to read in binges, but also to post summaries of small portions of my life before they are actually finished. Continuing this trend, I’d like to post about the books I read for pleasure during M4 year, even though there are still some weeks left before graduation.

1. House of God by Samual Shem
I started reading this during 3rd  year, as I’d been strongly recommended to do by several faculty members, but was too overwhelmed by my internal medicine rotation to finish it at that point. I think I struggled through it for a variety of reasons, first and foremost being the volume of reading and studying I was doing for my rotations, but a close second being how disturbingly close it remained to my experiences as a medical student, even as so much about the hospital has changed in the intervening years.

2. Privatizing Poland: Big Business, and the Remaking of Labor by Elizabeth C. Dunn
My introduction to history and anthropology in Eastern Europe, I thoroughly enjoyed this. I was smugly pleased to note that when someone asked why I was reading this book, that I could casually mention knowing someone who is doing engaging and important work in that part of the world…

3. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
What can I really say about this that hasn’t already been said. It was disconcerting to enjoy so much a novel with such a troubling plot. I read this on flights while I was interviewing and creeped out many a neighboring traveler while passing the time. Mission accomplished.

4. Gold by Chris Cleave
This was no Little Bee or Incendiary, but I liked it nonetheless. As I have explained to several folks, I felt that his other two books took impressively extraordinary situations and made them feel intimate and quotidian, while Gold made a rather big deal out of situations that felt a bit like the daily grind. I suspect that some of this was my particular career choice, as the hospitals featured prominently in the book are a much larger part of my daily life than they are of many, but I also didn’t the writing was quite as skillful. Despite this, it was a good read, and motivated me to get on my bike.

5. The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht
I’ve just started this, so I’ll need to write a second post both to maintain parallelism with my previous book posts, and to let you know how this goes. The first thirty pages have been great.

1 comment:

  1. I also did much of my Lolita reading on planes. I think most people were clueless rather than creeped out based on comments I got. "I have heard about that book. What's it about?" "Uhh... stuff..."