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Ideas for Reading

This list followed a call from some of our students during a PBL session. They wanted to know if we could recommend reading that wasn't text book but had some resonance with their professional learning. A call was put out to our Facebook followers and here's what we came up with.... Happy Reading!!


My Year OffRobert McCrumOn the morning of July 29, 1995, Robert McCrum--forty-two-years old, newly married, at the top of his profession as one of British publishing's most admired editors, and in what he thought was the full bloom of health--awoke to find himself totally paralyzed on the left side, the victim of a stroke brought on by a massive cerebral hemorrhage. In My Year Off, McCrum takes readers through his own education about strokes and the frustrating reality that medical science can neither pinpoint the cause of his stroke nor offer any guarantee of recovery. He poignantly writes about his life being irrevocably changed, and, in a new afterword, how his book has touched others. McCrum's recovery is beset by anger and depression, but also marked by the love of his wife, Sarah Lyall, a love that proves equal to their dismaying circumstances. With excerpts from both their journals sprinkled throughout, My Year Off is much more than a story of recovery: It is a love story of the most realistic--and hence, inspiring--kind.
Venus on WheelsGelya FrankIn 1976, Gelya Frank began writing about the life of Diane DeVries, a woman born with all the physical and mental equipment she would need to live in our society - except arms and legs. Frank was 28 years old, DeVries 26. This remarkable book - by turns moving, funny, and revelatory - records the relationship that developed between the women over the next twenty years. An empathic listener and participant in DeVries' life, and a scholar of the feminist and disability rights movements, Frank argues that Diane DeVries is a perfect example of an American woman coming of age in the second half of the twentieth century. By addressing the dynamics of power in ethnographic representation, Frank - anthropology's leading expert on life history and life story methods - lays the critical groundwork for a new genre, 'cultural biography'. Challenged to examine the cultural sources of her initial image of DeVries as limited and flawed, Frank discovers that DeVries is gutsy, buoyant, sexy - and definitely not a victim. While she analyzes the portrayal of women with disabilities in popular culture - from limbless circus performers to suicidal heroines on the TV news - Frank's encounters with DeVries lead her to come to terms with her own 'invisible disabilities' motivating the study. Drawing on anthropology, philosophy, psychoanalysis, narrative theory, law, and the history of medicine, "Venus on Wheels" is an intellectual tour de force.
The Yellow Wallpaper

Charlotte Perkins Gilmore"The Yellow Wallpaper" is written in epistolary style, specifically as a collection of first personjournal entries written by a woman whose physician husband has confined her to the upstairs bedroom of a house that he has rented for the summer.
Lucky ManMichael J FoxYes, he begins with the first symptoms of Parkinson's disease, the incurable illness that led to his retirement from Spin City (and acting) in 2000. And yes, he assures us he is a better, happier person now than he was before he was diagnosed. In Fox's case, you actually might believe it, because he then cheerfully exposes the insecurities and self-indulgences of his pre-Parkinson's life in a manner that makes them not glamorous but wincingly ordinary and of course very funny. ("As for the question, 'Does it bother you that maybe she just wants to sleep with you because you're a celebrity?' My answer to that one was, 'Ah... nope.'"
The Spirit Level

Richard Wilkinson & Kate PickettWhy equality is better for everyone

The Diving Bell and the ButterflyJean-Dominique BaubyThe true story of Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby who suffers a stroke and has to live with an almost totally paralyzed body; only his left eye isn't paralyzed.

SiddarthaHerman HesseSiddhartha is a novel by Hermann Hesse that deals with the spiritual journey of an Indian man named Siddhartha during the time of theBuddha.
Three Men in a FloatDan Kieran and Ian VinceYou may be thinking: why on earth don't these men drive a car like normal people? But this is no ordinary journey. This is an eccentric odyssey through the English countryside. Three Men in a Float is about all things English and the pleasure to be had if you are prepared to slow down, get out of your car and go off the beaten track.

AffluenzaOliver JamesThere is currently an epidemic of 'affluenza' throughout the world - an obsessive, envious, keeping-up-with-the-Joneses - that has resulted in huge increases in depression and anxiety among millions. Over a nine-month period, Oliver James travelled around the world to try and find out why.
They Fu*k you upOliver JamesAnalysis and all its weaker offspring seductively gives us a chance to look at the mess of our lives and find a path through it, a narrative that will explain us to ourselves.
Britain on the CouchOliver JamesWhy has emotional discomfort increased as we have got richer? Oliver James psycho-analyses the deep-seated emotional malaise that afflicts the British people in the 1990s and proposes a three-point plan for healing. He singles out the role of individualism in raising expecta-tions, increasing discontent, spawning psychopathic behaviour and destroying personal relationships. We have not yet discovered a way to encourage every member of society to reach for the sky and yet not be selfish and disappointed when they fall to earth. In our personal lives we aspire to harmonious and intimate relationships, yet they are the greatest single cause of despair. Oliver James argues that the way we live now induces in our bodies low levels of the `happiness hormone' serotonin. He proposes that the way to heal ourselves is to correct the chemical imbalance directly, by means of drugs containing serotin, to take a complementary course of psychotherapy and-on a political level-to reorganize society on Scandinavian lines.
Not on the LabelFelicity LawrenceWe no longer trust what we eat. We lurch instead from food scare to food scare while farming is in crisis around the world. A handful of retailers and food manufacturers exert unprecedented control over what we eat and where we buy it. We have come to depend on processed food that is routinely adulterated.
In a series of undercover investigations tracking some of the most popular foods we eat at home, Felicity Lawrence travels from farms and factories to packhouses and lorry depots across the world.
Eat your heart outFelicity LawrenceYou should definitely read it if you'd like to know more about how our food is adulterated beyond belief by the handful of faceless transnational corporations who control a vast amount of our food chain
Fast Food NationEric SchlosserFast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser's disturbing and timely exploration of one of the world's most controversial industries, has become a massive bestseller in America and rightly deserves to be so this side of the pond. On any given day, one out of four Americans opts for a quick and cheap meal at a fast-food restaurant, without giving either its speed or its cheapness a second thought. Fast food is so ubiquitous that it now seems harmless. But the industry's drive for consolidation, homogenisation and speediness has radically transformed the West's diet, landscape, economy and workforce, often in insidiously destructive ways.
All of MeKim NobleKim Noble is an accomplished artist whose work has been exhibited around the world. She is a mother with a 13-year-old daughter. She is a bubbly and vivacious woman. To meet her you wouldn't think anything was wrong. But when Kim was younger than five years old, her personality splintered and fractured. In 1995 she was finally diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) which has been described as a creative way to cope with unbearable pain. Now her body plays host to more than 20 different personalities, or 'alters'.
The Spirit catches you and You Fall DownAnne Fadiman"Anne Fadiman's phenomenal first book, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, brings to life the enduring power of parental love in an impoverished refugee family struggling to protect their seriously ill infant daughter and ancient spiritual traditions from the tyranny of welfare bureaucrats and intolerant medical technocrats."

The Illness NarrativesArthur KleinmanA Harvard psychiatrist and anthropologist argues that interpreting the illness experience is an art tragically neglected by modern medical training, and presents a compelling case for bridging the gap between patient and doctor
The CorrectionsJohnathon FranzenFramed by matriarch Enid Lambert's attempts to gather her three grown children back home for Christmas, The Corrections examines their lives: Enid's husband Alfred, sinking into dementia, her sons banker Gary and writer Chip (now in Lithuania) and daughter Denise, a chef, busily re-evaluating her sexual identity.
Henry’s DemonsPatrick and Henry CockburnOn a cold February day two months after his 20th birthday, Henry Cockburn waded into the Newhaven estuary outside Brighton and tried to swim across, almost drowning in the process. The trees, he said, had told him to do it. Nearly halfway around the world, in Kabul, Afghanistan, journalist Patrick Cockburn learned that Henry, his son, had been admitted to a hospital mental ward and appeared to be suffering a mental breakdown. Ten days later, Henry was officially diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Thus begins Patrick and Henry's extraordinary account of Henry's steep descent into mental illness and of Patrick's journey towards understanding the changes it has wrought
The Locked WardDennis O’DonnellThe Locked Ward is an extraordinary memoir that sets out to reveal the true story of life in a psychiatric ward - the fear, the violence and despair, and also the care and the compassion. Recounting the stories of the patients he worked with, and those of the friends he made on the ward, O'Donnell provides a detailed account of day-to-day life behind the doors of the most feared and stigmatised environment in healthcare.
The End of Illness

Dr David B AgusThe time has come for us to stop thinking about illnesses like cancer as something the body 'gets' or 'has' but rather to think of them as something the body does. In this landmark work, leading researcher and physician Dr David Agus takes readers on a journey to decode the mystery of health and the human body
Trust me I’m a junior DoctorMax PembertonIf you're going to be ill, it's best to avoid the first Wednesday in August. This is the day when junior doctors graduate to their first placements and begin to face having to put into practice what they have spent the last six years learning.
Where does it hurt?Max PembertonThe Junior Doctor is back!
He's into his 2nd year of medicine, but this time Max is out of the wards and onto the streets, working for the Phoenix Outreach Project.

Down all the DaysChristy BrownChristy Brown gives an intricately etched picture of the human spirit that cannot be beaten, smashed, drunk, drowned, maimed, or murdered out of defiant existence. The story is of a family living on the edge of absolute poverty in a Dublin slum, the tale of an unending stream of kids being born to a worn-ragged mother and an abusive, drunken father, through the eyes of a son made mute and unable to move on his own by an un-named crippling condition (cerebral palsy we are to assume, Brown's affliction).
Human ChainSeamus HeaneyIn Human Chain, his best single volume for many years, and one that contains some of the best poems he has written, Heaney allows this struggle between the lacrimae rerum and the consolations of poetry to have a force which is satisfying because its result is so tentative and uncertain. Memory here can be filled with tones of regret and even undertones of anguish, but it also can appear with a sense of hard-won wonder. There is an active urge to capture the living breath of things, but he also allows sorrow into his poems.
Tao of PoohBenjamin HoffFollowing the Seventy-fifth Anniversary Year of Winnie-the-Pooh in 2001, there will will be a year of change for The Wisdom of Pooh list in 2002. To celebrate the 20th year since the publication in the UK in 1982 of The Tao of Pooh and the 10th year since the publication in 1992 of The Te of Piglet, the cover for best selling title The Tao of Pooh & The Te of Piglet paperback bind up of these two titles will be redesigned in a new style to reach a wider market for Winnie-the-Pooh adult readers and to encourage new fans for Benjamin Hoff's best-selling titles. Pooh's Way of doing things seems strangely close to the ancient principle of Taoist philosophy, while Piglet exhibits the very important principle in Taoism of the Te, meaning Virtue of the Small. The author's explanations of Taoism and Te through Pooh and Piglet show that this is not an ancient and remote philosophy but something that you can use, here and now.
Falling & Laughing - The restoration of Edwyn Collins                  Grace Maxwell
The man who mistook his wife for a hat                                      Oliver Sacks

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