Showing posts with label books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label books. Show all posts

Friday, July 29, 2016

Summer Book Recommendations

Ah, summer. There's nothing like the joy of sitting with an iced tea and a book on the deck... or waiting in the dentist's waiting room reading tiny print from a reading app on your phone.

1. Vaccinated by Paul Offit. It was completely fascinating to learn about the early days of immunization. Even if you've learned the science before, reading about the social context is so interesting.

2. Overdiagnosed by H. Gilbert Welch. This book changed the way I look at my practice, every day. Welch is an epidemiologist and explains the principles in a very accessible way.

3. Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche, by Ethan Watters. A must-read, especially if you work in mental health. I see a lot of refugee and newcomer patients, and do some element of cross-cultural mental health most every day. It's challenging because our entire mental health assessment is rooted in the culture in which it was created, and the very definitions of mental illness vary so widely in different contexts.

4. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. I know you are hearing about it everywhere. It is beautifully written and helped me reflect on medicine in a different way. "But if I did not know what I wanted, I had learned something, something not found in Hippocrates, Maimonides, or Osler: the physician's duty is not to stave off death or to return patients to their old lives, but to take into our arms a patient and family whose lives have disintegrated and work until they can stand back up and face, and make sense of, their own existence."

I was on a female memoir kick last year, and thoroughly enjoyed the following:

5. Julia Child's My Life in France. Transport yourself to France and witness the early days of her love affair with French cuisine.

6. Nora Ephron's books of essays, I Feel Bad About My Neck and I Remember Nothing were, of course, hilarious.

7. Laughing All the Way to the Mosque by Zarqa Nawaz. Zarqa Nawaz is the creator of the TV show Little Mosque on the Prairie. She diverted from her parents' expectation for her of a career in medicine and found her way to journalism and the arts instead. As a fellow Canadian Muslim woman, I loved hearing her always-funny perspective on issues she faced along the way.

8. I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids by Trisha Ashworth and Amy Nobile. A down-to-earth book about the real issues we face every day as mothers, I found it totally affirming to read.


9. On Beauty by Zadie Smith. "And so it happened again, the daily miracle whereby interiority opens out and brings to bloom the million-petalled flower of being here, in the world, with other people. Neither as hard as she had thought it might be nor as easy as it appeared". Filled with breathtaking passages but also dry humour and wit, On Beauty was captivating.

10. Everybody Has Everything by Katrina Onstad. Following years of infertility, a young professional couple takes guardianship of a young child when their friends suffer a terrible accident. The struggles of being thrust into parenthood of a unique sort; with the same truth that we all live with - the uncertain future.

What books would you recommend?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Book Review: Burning The Short White Coat by Eve Shvidler, M.D.

I love reading books written by other doctors. Especially when I actually have time to read them. When I read the P.R. blurb on OB/GYN Eve Shvidler's Burning The Short White Coat: A Story Of Becoming A Woman Doctor, I knew I HAD to make time to read this book:

"What happens when Sex and the City meets Grey's Anatomy?… A medical chick-lit novel, Burning The Short White Coat exposes the personal battles that single women must overcome in balancing a demanding profession and the desire to find a trusting and loving relationship…"

I've been waiting my whole life for the female House of God. I was very excited to know: Could this be it?

Well, not quite. But, this light read is definitely engaging, funny, and fun.

The story follows relatable Elle Gallagher (and BFFs) through four years of medical school, and much romance. The action of the prologue draws in the reader (Overnight call! Crash c-section!). The first chapter, "The Gross Lab", is so gross, it's great. I was having formaldehyde flashbacks, myself. There are such nice touches here: the dissection of the penis by the retired surgeon is worth the price of admission.

But, the issues that plague this book also begin here: spelling and grammatical errors. Lots of them.

Now, I also write for publication, and I hate when some reader expresses extreme annoyance over a couple of typos. But there are ALOT of typos, misspellings, and incomplete sentences throughout this book, so many that even I was extremely annoyed. If I wasn't almost at the end of the book, I would have put it down at "introidus". Which appears twice. These errors make the book read more like a rough draft.

There is also heavy use of clich├ęs, which I can forgive because at the same time, there is also plenty of fresh, unique material.

The chapter titled "Psych" is a fascinating little story-within-a-story featuring one of the creepiest cases I've ever heard. If what is described really happened, that's crazy disturbing. If it didn't, that's crazy good imagination.

One surprise for me is that my favorite character in this book isn't one of the female protagonists at all, it's the slightly immature but lovable surgeon Samy. We all know that attendings who hang out with medical students… well, that's just wrong. But this guy, he's complex, and he has some great lines. His advice to Elle on booty call vs. relationship girls is right on, and I'm not sure I've seen it done so well in a book that wasn't intended for teenagers.

The best part by far, though, was the chapter titled "Good Vibrations". I believe I had a similar hilarious conversation with my medical school BFFs. I would never have dared to write about it, though. I'm impressed!

In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed what was overall a refreshing, real-deal, feminine take on the modern medical school experience. (Yes, people, med students DO party that hard.) I just wish someone had run a spell check and an editor's eye over the text prior to publication.

Hot off the presses! Addendum! As of 6/27/15 I have just heard from the author that she had already realized there were many errors in the original manuscript, and she put the whole thing through a copyediting process. There will be a new release in about 2 weeks from now, sans errors.


As an aside, I have to say, the author's blog on Wordpress ( is VERY good reading. Her articles and essays are enormously informative and entertaining. Moms in the audience, do yourselves a favor and read her post Where's My Orgasm from June 8, 2015.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Brain Candy

I met Fizzy here years ago, and long ago posted one of her first cartoons on my blog when she spun off this blog to create her own space at The Cartoon Guide to Becoming a Doctor.

I was amazed by this cartoon. It spoke to me about my experience as a resident/mom in such a good way. She made light of the angst and agony that I had recently been through, and made me laugh about it. I was already hooked to her writing here on MiM, but that cartoon drew me in to her blog and made me an avid follower to this day.

She's funny. She's droll. But most of all, she's unrelenting. I have periods in my blogging where I lag and shut down. She never stops. She's like the Energizer bunny of blogging, and her constant wit and presence amaze me. Not just me - she has built up an enormous following of readers that also recognize her talent. I like to secretly pat myself on the back for being one of her first readers. It doesn't surprise me in the least that she has come this far.

I bought her first book (see above) and it sat on my coffee table until I caught my daughter reading it and asking me questions I wasn't ready to explain. Now it's tucked away in the reading cabinet for easy access. And I had the privilege to beta read her first novel - The Devil Wears Scrubs. Do you read brain candy? I do. I don't watch brain candy on TV, but I read it religiously during stressful times in my life. Chic lit - it takes the edge off. The Devil Wears Scrubs is the best kind of chic lit. It draws you back into that horribly abusive space in time of training when you have no control and you are at the mercy of warped personalities. It allows you as a reader, like the viewer of her cartoons, to make lemonade out of lemons. Her razor sharp wit and her sarcasm brings a new element to the genre. She's a pioneer.

If you haven't read her book, you're missing out big time. I hear there's more coming down the pipes. I remember standing in line for hours waiting to see Guns N' Roses at the Memphis Pyramid (I had to pee really bad - good training for OR cases). I remember camping out all night in front of BeenAround Records to get my college boyfriend Metallica tickets (his band not mine). I remember pre-ordering the next Harry Potter book during residency and counting the days until it was released. Here I am again at 40 dying to read Fizzy's next book. I hope there's lots more to come. I can't wait.

*This post was based off of one I wrote last week on my blog.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Book Review: The Devil Wears Scrubs by Freida McFadden

I love to read books written by other doctors. I think doctoring can be kind of isolating sometimes, but reading about the experiences of our colleagues can be so... validating.

This book, which was written by Mothers in Medicine blogger Fizzy McFizz under the second pen name Freida McFadden, is a humorous account of an intern's first month in an internal medicine residency. It's light, it's a quick read, and it really is funny.

The story follows newly minted Dr. Jane McGill as she tries to figure out how to survive and thrive on the floors at a county-style hospital, with little to no instruction or guidance on what, exactly, to do (sound familiar?), and all the while being picked on by a seemingly sadistic senior resident. The senior, however, has a human side as well, and a few good lessons to teach.

While this fun little book is fiction, I get the sense that it's House Of God-style fiction, meaning, alot of it is likely sort of true. I don't know this, I'm just guessing, and it made the book so much more interesting to me, as this intern's experience is largely miserable, and it reminded me of my own miserable intern experience (and I blogged about those memories in a post titled "How a fun little book dredged up buried memories of my intern year" ).

I was again reminded of this book at a recent medical conference, a Virginia Mason seminar (all about running a more humane, efficient practice) and one of the speakers was describing how setting basic work protocols and standards is so key to a positively functional work environment. She asked us how we can expect people to do tasks if they have no formal instruction in how to do them, saying: "Asking people to do things that they have not been trained to do is an exercise in frustration: theirs, and yours. Most people want to do a good job, and if you repeatedly put them in a position where they are likely to fail, they become demoralized, angry, and difficult."

I sat there thinking: Well, that's medical residency in a nutshell.

And Dr. McGill's experience in this book exemplify this: An experience so miserable, it's funny.

The book is available on, here is a link.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Devil Wears Scrubs

I did it! I wrote that book about my intern year!

It's fiction. But it kind of isn't. You know? In any case, if you enjoy my writing, I feel certain you'll really enjoy reading it. Here's the blurb:

Newly minted doctor Jane McGill is in hell.

Not literally, of course. But between her drug addict patients, sleepless nights on call, and battling wits with the sadistic yet charming Sexy Surgeon, Jane can’t imagine an afterlife much worse than her first month of medical internship at County Hospital.

And then there’s the devil herself: Jane’s senior resident Dr. Alyssa Morgan. When Alyssa becomes absolutely hell-bent on making her new interns pay tenfold for the deadly sin of incompetence, Jane starts to worry that she may not make it through the year with her soul or her sanity still intact.

Please buy it!

It's available for the Kindle. For now, I've kept it at the low, low price of only $2.99, although that is subject to increase in the future.

Also, you can get it in paperback!

It's short, it's fun, it's deliciously evil, and if you buy it, you'll make me really happy. And it also does involve a mother in medicine. What other incentive do you need?? :P

If you're not sure, you can read an excerpt.

(Cross-posted to my blog)

Monday, May 2, 2011

MiM book giveaway: In Stitches, by Anthony Youn

5/3/11 1:30 pm update: The two winners were randomly selected and emailed. Will keep working on SpaFinder...


It's been two years since our first book giveaway (Remember "Match Day" by Brian Eule? Fizzy and I reviewed it here and here.) That was fun, and we're ready to do it again with the newly released memoir by Detroit-based plastic surgeon Anthony Youn. Why? Because Mothers in Medicine deserve free things.* And to read. And to win free things to read. (Also, mani-pedis, but haven't worked out that deal for you all yet. SpaFinder, call me.)

A little about the book from

Tony Youn grew up up one of two Asian-American kids in a small town of near wall-to-wall whiteness. Too tall and too thin, he wore thick Coke-bottle glasses, braces, Hannibal Lecter headgear, and had a protruding jaw that one day began to grow, expanding Pinocchio-like, protruding to an unthinkable, monstrous size. After high school graduation, while other seniors partied at the shore or explored Europe, Youn lay strapped in an oral surgeon’s chair as he broke his jaw, then reset it and wired it shut for six weeks.

Ironically, it was this brutal makeover that led him to his life's calling -- and the four years of angst, flubs, triumphs, non-stop studying and intermittant heavy drinking that eventually earned him an M.D. Thanks to a small circle of close friends and an obsessive drive to overachieve, Youn transformed from a shy, skinny, awkward nerd with no confidence and no clue into a renowned and successful plastic surgeon.

In Stitches is a heartfelt, candid, and laugh-out-loud memoir of one man's bumpy road to becoming a doctor and learning to be confortable in his own skin.

To score your copy, just send us an email ( with the title "In Stitches" between now and tomorrow (5/3), noon EST. We'll randomly draw 2 names to receive a copy of the book. There are no risks to entering besides the normal risks associated with everyday life.**

For more info, you can read an excerpt on, visit the In Stitches Facebook page, or see

* You don't need to be an actual Mother in Medicine to enter! Any reader is welcome.
**That line was for anyone who has had to submit something to the IRB.