Summer 2017 reading, viewing and listening recommendations by SPH faculty
We asked SPH faculty members what they would be throwing into their beach bags and picnic baskets this season, and what podcasts and television shows they would be enjoying. What a great list!
The Great Influenza by John M. Barry (2005)
Dean Boris Lushniak recommends The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History by John M. Barry. Dr. Lushniak says, “The first half of this book is the history of the teaching of medicine and public health in the country in the early years of the 20th century. The second half goes into detail about the Spanish Influenza epidemic, which began in an army camp in Kansas and ultimately took more than 100 million lives worldwide.” The New York Times Book Review calls it “Easily our fullest, richest, most panoramic history of the subject.”
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande (2014)
Kinesiology Professor and former Dean Jane Clark plans to revisit Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. She says, “I recommend this book to all my friends–no matter their age. My book club took it up this spring and I plan to re-read it this summer. The book has been around for a while (2014), but I just caught up with it. Gawande, himself a physician, writes of the medicalization of aging. Medicine now has the ability to keep us alive longer and longer, but at what cost? And by cost, it is not just financial, but also our personal cost as we have to ask, what is the quality of life that medicine has bestowed upon us? Aging–the gerund of ‘to age’–is something we all need to think about as we are all ‘aging.’ Gawande offers a lot to think about–and I look forward to the re-read.”
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (1997)
Dr. Elizabeth Maring, assistant clinical professor in Applied Environmental Health (MIAEH) and Family Science, and director of Global Health Initiatives, says, “I re-read A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry this year and still think it might be the best book I've ever read about humanity.”
In the Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor's Journey in the Saudi Kingdom by Qanta Ahmed (2008)
Dr. Maring also recommends In the Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor’s Journey in the Saudi Kingdom by Qanta Ahmed. Gail Sheehy said in her review, “In this stunningly written book, a Western trained Muslim doctor brings alive what it means for a woman to live in the Saudi Kingdom. I've rarely experienced so vividly the shunning and shaming, racism and anti-Semitism, but the surprise is how Dr. Ahmed also finds tenderness at the tattered edges of extremism, and a life-changing pilgrimage back to her Muslim faith.”
Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink (2013)
Behavioral and Community Health Associate Professor Kerry Green recommends a few books that she “loved reading with my honors students” during the spring semester. An account of the choices made at a New Orleans hospital immediately following Hurricane Katrina, Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital, by doctor and journalist Sheri Fink is “a stunning feat of journalism.” (New York Review of Books)
Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder (2009)
Another of Dr. Green's recommendations: Tracy Kidder’s Mountains Beyond Mountains, about infectious disease specialist Paul Farmer’s work in Haiti and around the world “will move you, restore your faith in the ability of one person to make a difference in these increasingly maddening, dispiriting times.” (San Diego Union-Tribune)
The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by Steven Johnson (2007)
Dr. Green and her students also enjoyed learning abou the outbreak of cholera in 1854 London, in Steven Johnson’s The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World, which is “more than a great detective story. It's the triumph of reason and evidence over superstition and theory, and Johnson tells it in loving detail.” (Chicago Tribune)
The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism by Edward E. Baptist (2016)
Environmental Health Professor Don Milton recommends The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism by Edward E. Baptist. He calls it “a must read for white Americans.”
The First 1,000 Days: A Crucial Time for Mothers and Children—and the World by Roger Thurow (2016)
On Family Science Assistant Professor Marie Thoma’s reading list is The First 1,000 Days: A Crucial Time for Mothers and Children—and the World, by Roger Thurow. Melinda Gates writes, “Malnutrition is often called a silent emergency, because it can be hard to see the damage it does to children around the world. In The First 1,000 Days, Roger Thurow makes readers sit up and take notice. He takes us to the four corners of the world—from the streets of Chicago to the villages of northern Uganda—to show how the right nutrition helps children not just survive, but thrive.”
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (2016)
Health Services Administration Assistant Professor Neil Sehgal has a few books on his summer list, all a bit “science-y,” he says. His first recommendation: “When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, in which a neurosurgeon confronts his own mortality as a patient diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer."
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (2011)
Dr. Sehgal also recommends “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, which details the story of the most significant cell line in clinical research, and unweaves the complicated tale of how individuals may be forgotten in the face of scientific progress."
The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age by Robert Wachter (2015)
Dr. Sehgal says, “Bob, who has written some of the great applied books about the healthcare system's shortcomings, tells the story of medicine’s next chapter, and how health informatics and digital technology will transform patient care."
The United States of Europe: The New Superpower and the End of American Supremacy by T.R. Reid (2005)
Dr. Negin Fouladi, assistant research professor in the Department of Health Services Administration, recommends The United States of Europe: The New Superpower and the End of American Supremacy by T.R. Reid. Dr. Fouladi says, “The book reviews the EU’s efforts and impact on the global economy, politics, and power as a counterbalance to the U.S. A very timely read due to the changing U.S. political landscape.”
Fever by Mary Beth Keane (2014)
Dr. Jessica O'Hara from Public Health Science at Shady Grove is reading Fever by Mary Beth Keane. "It's a historical fiction that looks at the story behind the immigrant cook that would infamously be known as Typhoid Mary," Dr. O'Hara says. "Even though the true story is almost stranger than fiction, this book aims to put us in the mind of a woman that was imprisoned against her will based on science she didn't understand."
Dr. Sehgal recommends several podcasts. “I pored through S-Town, and am a This American Life and Radiolab devotee. Whenever I travel, I also listen to 99% Invisible, which shares stories of the unnoticed architecture and design that shape the world around us."
Dr. Green is also a fan of a few podcasts. She writes, “Crimetown is a fascinating look at politics in Providence. I also love Up and Vanished. It is great for true crime fans. Also Season 1 of Offshore was amazing.”
Dr. Sehgal: "I'm looking forward to binge-watching Master of None and House of Cards on Netflix, and catching up on Season 4 of Silicon Valley (because my best friend stars in this season!)"