becausethenight
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So given we're all in lockdown with not much to do other than UCAT prep or angsting about calculated grades (depending on how far you are along the medicine journey), I for one am looking out for interesting books about medicine/life science.
What books have we been enjoying in lockdown or before? The more esoteric the better - loving Adam Kay is practically an entry requirement now

To start the virtuous circle: I've really enjoyed Daniel Davis's The Beautiful Cure, about how the immune system works and the scientific discoveries over the last 40ish years that have lead to a greater knowledge of it. It's an area not really covered by A level biology, but it's fascinating (at least to me) and painfully complicated, as all great biological systems are. It finishes with a clinical chapter about immunotherapy to treat cancer, if you're not so into basic science.

Under the cut: a list of books recommended so far! (as of 28/05/20)

Spoiler:
Show
1. Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole, Ropper & Burell
2. The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, Sacks
3. Unnatural Causes, Shepherd
4. Your Life in my Hands, Clarke
5. This Is Going to Hurt, Kay (obligatory )
6. The Nightshift Before Christmas, Kay
7. Phantoms in the Brain, Blakeslee & Ramachandran
8. Seven Signs of Life, Abby
9. Being Mortal, Gawande
10. A Fortunate Man: The Story of a Country Doctor, Berger
11. When Breath Becomes Air, Kalanithi
12. The Prison Doctor, Brown
13. War Doctor, Nott
14. Shapeshifters and Adventures in Human Being, Francis
15. The Idiot Brain, Burnett
16. The Emperor of All Maladies, Mukherjee
17. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Skloot
18. Adventures in Human Being, Francis
19. Fragile Lives, Westaby
20. Critical, Morgan
21. Life at the Extremes, Ashcroft
22. The Logic of Life, Boyd & Noble
23. Conversations with Neil's Brain: The Natural Nature of Thought, Ojamann & Calvin
24. Microbe Hunters, De Kruif
25. Elegance in Science, Glynn
26. Bad Science, Goldacre
27. Do No Harm, Marsh
28. Blood of the Isles, Sykes
29. The Knife’s Edge, Westaby
30. The Lady Doctor, Williams
31. The Bad Doctor, Williams
32. One in Three, Wishart
33. I Contain Multitudes: the Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life, Yong


Last edited by becausethenight; 6 months ago
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username4247768
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I loved Reaching down the rabbit hole and The man who mistook his wife for a hat and also Unnatural Causes they were all sooooo good.
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stereotypeasian
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I've enjoyed your life in my hands by Rachel Clarke
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becausethenight
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(Original post by Amelia 123)
I loved Reaching down the rabbit hole and The man who mistook his wife for a hat and also Unnatural Causes they were all sooooo good.
I've not heard of Reaching down the rabbit hole! Tell me more?
Also lovely mix of neuro and pathology
(Original post by stereotypeasian)
I've enjoyed your life in my hands by Rachel Clarke
Me too, it was recommended to me as 'a book that will put you off medicine' by my bio teacher
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(Original post by becausethenight)
Me too, it was recommended to me as 'a book that will put you off medicine' by my bio teacher
lol that is an amazing bio teacher you have

lets not forget the classic that is Adam Kay's this is going to hurt :cool:
I'm honestly just working myself down this list of lovely medic books.....
https://www.medsci.ox.ac.uk/study/me...plying/reading
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becausethenight
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(Original post by stereotypeasian)
lol that is an amazing bio teacher you have

lets not forget the classic that is Adam Kay's this is going to hurt :cool:
I'm honestly just working myself down this list of lovely medic books.....
https://www.medsci.ox.ac.uk/study/me...plying/reading
Hahaha yes I'm very lucky - if you're reading this, sir, you know who you are

And let's not forget the seasonal classic the nightshift before Christmas (I have to admit that with that one I was more amused by "I'm the sort of Jew that has to google the spelling of synagogue" than the medicine though lol)

Thanks for the list - I typically avoid oxbridge like the plague but I'm clearly missing out on stuff! Funnily enough I'm reading one of the books on there right now lol...
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username4247768
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(Original post by becausethenight)
I've not heard of Reaching down the rabbit hole! Tell me more?
Also lovely mix of neuro and pathology

Me too, it was recommended to me as 'a book that will put you off medicine' by my bio teacher
reaching down the rabbit hole is another neuro book! Its actually free with amazon prime at the mo
its really good, has a bit of ethics mixed in too and talks about when a doctor gets a diagnosis wrong
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becausethenight
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(Original post by Amelia 123)
reaching down the rabbit hole is another neuro book! Its actually free with amazon prime at the mo
its really good, has a bit of ethics mixed in too and talks about when a doctor gets a diagnosis wrong
Ooh that's a plus - good to know prime is still useful when one day delivery is dead
That sounds really interesting, thank you very much
If you're interested in neuro, have you read it's all in your head, btw? I really enjoyed that
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username4247768
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(Original post by becausethenight)
Ooh that's a plus - good to know prime is still useful when one day delivery is dead
That sounds really interesting, thank you very much
If you're interested in neuro, have you read it's all in your head, btw? I really enjoyed that
just read a sample
that looks great thanks
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becausethenight
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(Original post by Amelia 123)
just read a sample
that looks great thanks
Let me know what you think if you do read it
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ecolier
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I see someone deleted their post which contained my recommendation.

As a neuro doctor I would recommend Phantoms in the brain.
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becausethenight
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(Original post by ecolier)
I see someone deleted their post which contained my recommendation.

As a neuro doctor I would recommend Phantoms in the brain.
Thank you
I read that a few months ago and it absolutely blew my mind - I had no idea the brain was that complex and flexible (or, well, I did, but I didn't understand what that meant, if that makes sense).
Do you think we've made much further meaningful progress in understanding the brain since it was published in 1998, as a neurologist? (just curious, if it's a silly question I apologise)
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ecolier
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(Original post by becausethenight)
...Do you think we've made much further meaningful progress in understanding the brain since it was published in 1998, as a neurologist?
Oh a lot more. I mean neurology is such an advancing specialty (another reason why I chose this specialty).

For example this disease (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-N...r_encephalitis) was only discovered in 2007, and a book was written about it (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_on_Fire). This disease is now regularly looked for when someone comes in confused.

Surgical specialties - I mean yes you may discover a new technique but you don't discover a new organ or new piece of bone.

I personally presented the world's second case of a secondary cause of what-was a primary headache last year at an international conference (https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=6124108) <- you may not have read this since you came to the forum recently, this was me last September.

(just curious, if it's a silly question I apologise)
Not at all! Keep the questions coming.
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becausethenight
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(Original post by ecolier)
Not at all! Keep the questions coming.
Well now you've said that..
(Original post by ecolier)
Oh a lot more. I mean neurology is such an advancing specialty (another reason why I chose this specialty).
Is that because there's more opportunity for research, since it's advancing, or more because it's more interesting clinically (not seeing the same things every day, etc)? Or both?
This is going to sound a bit vague, but could you say a bit more about the link between clinical medicine and research? I know that some people do medicine and then head off to the lab, but it's much harder to get a picture of what life might look like combining research and clinical medicine. One of the doctors I shadowed (a consultant) spent 3 days a week in the lab, but it seemed pretty unrelated to his clinical work (to my baby work experience student eyes, at least lol - I wasn't allowed in the lab anyway, so I was going off what he said)

(Original post by ecolier)
For example this disease (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-N...r_encephalitis) was only discovered in 2007, and a book was written about it (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_on_Fire). This disease is now regularly looked for when someone comes in confused.
Thank you, I'll be interested to have a look at that

(Original post by ecolier)
I personally presented the world's second case of a secondary cause of what-was a primary headache last year at an international conference (https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=6124108) <- you may not have read this since you came to the forum recently, this was me last September.
Well done! (a bit belated) The biscuits looked amazing
Do you often go to conferences? Are they 'required' as part of your junior doctor job, or more of a separate thing?
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ecolier
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(Original post by becausethenight)
...Is that because there's more opportunity for research, since it's advancing, or more because it's more interesting clinically (not seeing the same things every day, etc)? Or both?
Opportunity for research (you have a lot of time! Work-life balance is pretty amazing) and advancing of course. There are still plenty of neurological diseases where we are not 100% sure of the pathology (e.g. migraines), let along the treatment (e.g. Rabies).

This is going to sound a bit vague, but could you say a bit more about the link between clinical medicine and research?
It's about writing up case reports, doing clinical trials, helping with drug research or new modalities of management of a disease, for example

I know that some people do medicine and then head off to the lab, but it's much harder to get a picture of what life might look like combining research and clinical medicine.
Yes, there are some specialties like that (e.g. haematology - you literally take the blood / bone marrow, smear it onto a slide and look at it yourself).

One of the doctors I shadowed (a consultant) spent 3 days a week in the lab, but it seemed pretty unrelated to his clinical work (to my baby work experience student eyes, at least lol - I wasn't allowed in the lab anyway, so I was going off what he said)
That's a shame. I worked 4 months in haematology. There are other specialties like that too, e.g. infectious diseases, clinical pathology - their lab work is related to their clinical work.

If you are interested in research, you can do academic foundation programme after med school, and then academic clinical fellow on your way to training to be a consultant. Both AFP and ACF are much more competitive than standard foundation programme or just standard specialty trainining though, for obvious reasons!

Do you often go to conferences? Are they 'required' as part of your junior doctor job, or more of a separate thing?
Seperate, but it adds some value to your speciality interviews to say you were committed to the specialty. Extra kudos if you got to present - that actually counts for points during specialty applications!
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becausethenight
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(Original post by ecolier)
Opportunity for research (you have a lot of time! Work-life balance is pretty amazing) and advancing of course. There are still plenty of neurological diseases where we are not 100% sure of the pathology (e.g. migraines), let along the treatment (e.g. Rabies).
Thank you very much You're selling me on neurology (work-life balance yay), and I've definitely got a better idea of how medicine and research might interact - it sounds very exciting! I didn't realise there was a special foundation scheme for research, I'll have to have a look (they say, before even starting med school)
Thank you so much for your time and the insight
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ecolier
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(Original post by becausethenight)
Thank you very much You're selling me on neurology (work-life balance yay), and I've definitely got a better idea of how medicine and research might interact - it sounds very exciting! I didn't realise there was a special foundation scheme for research, I'll have to have a look (they say, before even starting med school)
Thank you so much for your time and the insight
No problem, feel free to PM or tag me ecolier if you have any more questions!
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Marathi
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Seven Signs of Life by Aoife Abbey, and Being Mortal by Atul Gawande are my favourite 2 books atm.
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Angury
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A Fortunate Man: The Story of a Country Doctor by John Berger is one of my all-time favourite books. It follows a rural GP in 1966. Beautifully written and covers the emotions of what it is like to work as a GP and have the trust of your community.
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becausethenight
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(Original post by Marathi)
Seven Signs of Life by Aoife Abbey, and Being Mortal by Atul Gawande are my favourite 2 books atm.
Thank you
Seven Signs is very recent - I wonder if it'll be very different to earlier A&E memoirs...
(Original post by Angury)
A Fortunate Man: The Story of a Country Doctor by John Berger is one of my all-time favourite books. It follows a rural GP in 1966. Beautifully written and covers the emotions of what it is like to work as a GP and have the trust of your community.
Thank you, that sounds lovely and p ossibly a bit more cheering than your average medical memoir?
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