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Galileo, Microbes and Sci-fi: Summer Reading Recommendations From Our Bloggers

a woman reading a book in a field

Just like you, our bloggers love to take a break from academia and enjoy escaping with a good book. From light reads, to spellbinding reads, to research-based reads, they share their favorite summer reads.

My book recommendation is Beartown by Fredrik Backman. It is a translation of his original work that focuses on a small town that lives and breathes by their youth hockey team, and what happens when a terrible event occurs in the town that upends their fragile community. The characters are written with such incredible depth and poignancy that you can't help but become engrossed in all of their lives and motivations, so much so that the whole town comes to life. -Meher Kalkat, 3rd year Medical Student

The Old Man’s War is a sci-fi novel that goes far into the future. We find humanity trying to expand into space and seeing that the Universe is an enormous battlefield. Earthlings have the technology and ships to fight in space and compete against other civilizations, but they run into a big disadvantage: Human one-on-one combat is one of the worst. However, human intellect and creativity have found a solution: Human genetic improvement. By using genetic engineering, humans can now fight at the same level and strength and protect human colonies. - Marcos E Jaso-Vera, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

I recommend the book The Unbearable Lightness of Being, a 1984 philosophical novel by Milan Kundera, which is a classic book that recounts the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. The tale is separated into seven parts and follows two women and two men who explore the meaning of love, freedom, art, and identity through a turbulent historical period. The meaning of each not fully being able to be unearthed, where heaviness and weight should define life all that is truly there is lightness...weightlessness. Life is light. -Whitney Sambhariya, PGY-1 in Ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute

I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong reminds us that we are never alone – rather, trillions of microbes live on and within us, helping facilitate every corner of our lives from fighting disease to digesting food. With Ed Yong, we play homage to the microorganisms that have contributed to the development of life as we know it while exploring the interconnected of organisms on Earth via the microbiome.  Oishika Das, 1st year Medical Student

My book recommendation is Galileo's Dream by Kim Stanley Robinson - it's a book of historical fiction that uses time travel to explore the work of Galileo and the scientific revolution more broadly. -Ethan Thio, 1st year Medical Student

I recently finished and really enjoyed Disrupted by Dan Lyons. The books details the writers' experience in the start-up bubble. It is a wild story of a middle-aged man that has been working for many years as a writer and a journalist for some of the biggest publishers, and his transition to the world of Silicon Valley, surrounded by co-workers half his age and a culture which he fails to adapt to. It's hilarious and eye-opening as well. The audiobook is great and narrated by the author. - Daniel Olshvang, Graduate Student in Biomedical Engineering

My book recommendation is Hard Boiled Wonderland and The End of the World by Haruki Murakami. The book follows its narrator – an intelligent, observant but nonchalant Tokyo yuppie through two worlds - Hard Boiled Wonderland, a futuristic, dystopian Japan and The End of the World, a surreal, isolated town. The storylines alternate and eventually converge, revealing that the town is the narrator’s subconsciousness, exploring the concepts of consciousness and identity. Feverish and dreamlike, it makes a good read on the airplane or by the beach.- Chi M Trinh, 3rd year Medical Student

I recommend Inflamed: Deep Medicine and the Anatomy of Injustice by Raj Patel and Dr. Rupa Marya. Dr. Rupa Marya, a leading progressive voice in American Medicine, takes us on an anatomic tour of the human body. The Earth is inflamed - as is our environment, our economy, and society. This book articulates a framework and call to action for people who are interested in deeply thinking about the root causes of modern disease.  Can we heal our bodies without healing our Earth and our social and political systems? - Jack Loftus, 3rd year Medical Student

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