Happy July! Since it’s no longer June, I wanted to make a post on the books I’ve read this month and write a blurb about what I thought of them. I’m not writing summaries, since those can be found Goodreads or Amazon. I’m also forever traumatized by writing lengthy summaries for book reports back in elementary school…so again, no summaries.*
Book recommendations are always welcome and appreciated! Let me know what else I should read this summer!
*If you would like to pay for my med school tuition, I will gladly write a summary or two.
What I finished:
1) I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
Ever since the Golden State Killer was caught, I’ve been on my library’s waiting list to read this book. I had high expectations for this book; My Favorite Murder raved about how amazing the book is, as well as several people at the yoga studio I go to approached me when they saw me with this book. However, I was disappointed when I finished the book. While I enjoyed reading parts of it, I wasn’t a fan of how choppy the book was and I found some chapters to be incredibly dry. (Note: I know other people complied Michelle McNamara’s research and writing to create this book, but still). Definitely an unpopular opinion, but I’m hoping someone else felt the same way I did.
2) Life Inside My Mind by Maureen Johnson et al.
This book is a collection of authors sharing their experiences with mental illness. I loved each and every single one of these stories because there would be a sentence or two or even a paragraph, that deeply resonated with my own personal experience with depression and anxiety. I was shocked to find out that some of my favorite authors have mental health challenges. I think I still buy into the idea that if one is successful, their lives must be perfect…which is obviously wrong and often far from the truth. I am grateful for their courage to share their struggles and am inspired by their resilience to continue producing meaningful work, despite what may be going on in their lives. I wish there was a book like this with physicians writing about their physical and mental health challenges.
3) I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
I technically finished this book today (7/1), but since I started it a week ago, I’m counting it as one of my June books. I’m Still Here should be a mandatory reading requirement for all medical students. Racial disparities in health has been well-studied and as future physicians, I think it is important to engage in these conversations as well as confront our own implicit biases as we learn to become healers.
One reason why it took me over a week to finish this book was because I would find myself getting mad, so I could only read a few pages at a time. Each chapter further drove home the point that racism is still alive and rampant in our country today. I worry about relocating to the mid-West because I am a person-of-color and while the med school I am attending is in a city, it is predominantly white. Having visited the area for my interview and the accepted students open house, I realized that I am more aware of my race, simply because I found myself to be one of the only POC wherever I went. I don’t expect that feeling to go away, but I hope I don’t let it bother me too much.
4) The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind by Barbara Lipska, Ph.D
This memoir was fascinating and terrifying at the same time. Dr. Lipska writes beautifully and honestly about her mental decline as a brain cancer attempts to kill her. It was a fast read and while it doesn’t make my all-time favorite memoirs, it’s still worth a read. I’m also convinced she is the most physically fit neuroscientist in the US and I wonder if her dedication to exercise played a role in her recovery.
What I started, but didn’t finish:
1) How to Walk Away by Katherine Center
I saw this book on Brené Brown’s Instagram and decided to request it from my library. I made it through 30 or so pages, but I wasn’t a fan. The characters weren’t interesting and reading about the physical and emotional aftermath of a plane crash before bed isn’t my thing.
It has a high rating on Goodreads, but it just wasn’t for me.
I really like this book, even though slow-reads are a bit challenging for me. I’ve always been interested in Benedictine spirituality (thanks to Kathleen Norris‘ books) and I really like how Joan Chittister edited the Rules of Benedict, so the text is gender-inclusive. Their views on non-violence and obedience was eye-opening…I wish I wrote down some of the quotes! I had to return the book before I finished, since it was a inter-library loan book and renewals weren’t allowed. I’m thinking about purchasing the book, so I will finish it by the end of the year!
3) How to Fall in Love with Anyone by Mandy Len Catron
I’m still debating whether or not I want to continue reading this book. Maybe I’m currently not in the mood for memoirs, since I just finished one (see above). I’m only 20ish pages in, so I haven’t formed any solid opinions yet. The idea of examining love from multiple perspectives sounds interesting, but it makes me sad to read about how love sometimes doesn’t work out and people separate after being happily married for over a decade or two.
4) The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg
This might be my favorite fiction I’ve read this summer. It’s a light-read, with likeable and heart-warming characters. If you’re looking for a beach-read, this is it. I am 3/4th of the way through (will probably finish the book tomorrow morning) and am already sad that I would have to say goodbye to these characters soon. Highly recommend.