Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness

A beautiful book about the power of narrative and what literature and art can teach us about how to engage in humane practice as health providers. Relevant to medicine, social work, nursing, physical therapy and other care-giving fields. Written by renown professor of medicine, Rita Charon, founder of the program in Narrative Medicine at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. 

My Stroke of Insight

The author is a Harvard-trained brain scientist who experienced a massive stroke and, based on her training, described how her own mind deteriorated. Her experience emphasizes the fascinating dichotomy between our “left” and “right” brain since the right side of her brain was much less affected. Taylor’s compelling writing captures first-hand how the brain functions and recovers from such damage, and is also a good introduction for those interested in learning more about the brain. As a researcher in this area, I consider Taylor’s book a must read.

Me and You

From internationally best-selling author Niccolò Ammaniti, comes a funny, tragic, gut-punch of a novel, charting how an unlikely alliance between two outsiders blows open one family’s secrets and how they are forced to confront the very demons they are each struggling to escape. In this novel, Ammaniti focuses on the themes of transformation and the passage from adolescence to adulthood. Published in 2010 in Italian, translated in English in 2012.


Shortly before her thirtieth birthday, cartoonist Ellen Forney was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Flagrantly manic and terrified that medications would cause her to lose creativity and her livelihood, she began a years-long struggle to find mental stability while retaining her passion and creativity. Searching to make sense of the popular concept of the crazy artist, she finds inspiration from the lives and work of other artists and writers who suffered from mood disorders, including Vincent van Gogh, Georgia O’Keeffe, William Styron, and Sylvia Plath.

Make it Stick, The Science of Successful Learning

This is a well-written little book on learning. It reports real research, not guesses, conjectures, and opinions–as most books of this sort have done in the past. It is the most useful book I have ever seen for students, teachers and lifelong learners. This book will change your life. I can’t wait to find out how it will impact your career as a student and beyond!

Life’s Greatest Lessons: 20 Things That Matter

In this wise, wonderful book, award-winning teacher Hal Urban presents twenty principles that are as deeply rooted in common sense as they are in compassion. The topics, gathered from a lifetime of teaching both children and adults, span a wide range of readily understood concepts, including attitudes about money, success, and the importance of having fun. Classic in its simplicity and enduring in its appeal, Life’s Greatest Lessons will help you find the best in others and in yourself.

Homosexuality in Islam

Homosexuality in Islam… there seems to be something odd or maybe even wrong about that phrase, right? It would seem like the two terms can’t go with each other, just as for very long this seemed to be true for Christianity and homosexuality. But what if there actually is a legitimate way to be at the same time a Muslim and identify as LGBTQ?

Hillbilly Elegy

This New York Times bestselling memoir is a touching lament chronicling life in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky and the rustbelt of Middletown, Ohio. The difficult childhood in a dysfunctional family, the struggles with schools, poverty, and a culture truly in crisis, paint a dramatic picture of the challenges the author faced. If you’ve been fortunate to have a more comfortable, supportive upbringing, you’ll find it enlightening to see life in a poor working-class home, and watch Vance’s journey from childhood through the Marine Corps, college, and law school.

Go Set a Watchman

In this controversial sequel, set two decades after the events in Pulitzer-prize winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird, 26-year-old Jean Louise “Scout” Finch returns home to Maycomb, Alabama to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights era that was transforming the South, Scout’s homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family and the small town that shaped her.