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3 Books to Add to Your Summer Reading List

With just over a month of summer left and school on the horizon, it’s a good time to dive deep into a few great books to keep you engaged. I visited my local Boston bookstore and selected three books–two relevant to my career in healthcare and one that’s reminiscent of my family’s immigration experience–and I highly recommend them if you’re searching for the next addition to your library.

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

The winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, The Sympathizer is narrated by a communist double agent who arranges to come to America after the Fall of Saigon and builds a new life with other Vietnamese refugees in Los Angeles. A gripping espionage novel and an exploration of identity and America, The Sympathizer caught my attention as a child of refugees who experienced the Fall of Saigon and who emigrated to flee the Viet Cong.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanith

At the age of 36, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Dr. Paul Kalanith was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. His memoir follows his transition from a doctor treating the dying to a patient struggling to live. As he confronts his mortality, he seeks to answer questions like:

  1. What makes life worth living in the face of death?

  2. What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder towards your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present?

  3. What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away?

Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande

Dr. Atul Gawande–surgeon, writer, and public health researcher–shares accounts of true cases in this New York Times Notable Book. Gawande explores the power and limits of medicine, laying bare a science not in its idealized form but as it actually is–uncertain, perplexing, and profoundly human. Dismantling the myth of medical infallibility, Gawande’s book is essential reading for anyone involved in medicine.


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