Each month, Look Who’s Talking features voices from across the Brigham answering the same question. This month we asked: What’s on your summer reading list and why? Add your voice to the conversation by submitting a comment below.

“As you may know, the summertime is not much different from the rest of the year for us clinicians/investigators. We are honored to serve our patients and to be involved in scholarly activities to help patients live longer and better lives. A book that I am recently reading is called The Medical Detectives. It sums up 25 captivating real stories of medical mysteries. One of my mentors was kind enough to give it to us as a gift! My wife, also a physician, is spending some of her spare time reading Compassionomics, which revolves around the idea of how human connections and interactions may shape not only the experience, but hard outcomes for individual patients and at the health-system level.”
– Benhood Bikdeli, MD, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine

“Caleb Gayle’s We Refuse to Forget: A True Story of Black Creeks, American Identity, and Power — I already had on my summer reading list this fascinating history of the Creek Nation’s enslaving of Black people while also embracing them as full citizens. Then Caleb became my next-door neighbor. Bonus: Caleb’s wife is Dr. Ramone Williams, a dermatologist and Mohs surgeon at MGH. Also, Elie Mystal’s Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution — Elie Mystal is one of my favorite follows on Twitter. During this time of backlash against all kinds of previously held rights, I can’t wait to dive into his withering assessments of the flaws of our nation’s constitution. Lastly, assorted poetry by Clint Smith, Nikki Giovanni, Emily Dickinson, Claudia Rankine, Gabrielle Calvocoressi, and Ada Limón, the new Poet Laureate of the United States (because I need poetry like I need to breathe).”
– Joy Howard, senior director of Publications, Development

 “I am reading Leadership: In Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin, which goes into depth on how past American presidents dealt with issues facing our nation, and also one a little more on the fun side: So Help Me Golf by Rick Reilly.”
–  Robert S.D. Higgins, MD, MSHA, president of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and executive vice president at Mass General Brigham


“I realized earlier this year that working through the ebbs and flows of the pandemic was starting to take a toll on my mental health. I needed a happy and funny book to escape into. Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, & Advice for Living Your Best Life by Ali Wong was exactly that. It was laugh out loud funny AND it was really interesting to learn about her international travels and upbringing as a first generation Asian American. Highly recommend listening to the audiobook as the author herself narrates it, and she reads it like one of her stand-up comedy specials!”
– Elizabeth Mermel Blaeser, MPH, infection preventionist, Department of Infection Control


“I am looking forward to a good variety for the summer! Here are the top choices on my list: I am, I am, I am by Maggie O’Farrell, Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, The Book of Boy by Catherine Murdock, and Seven Days in June by Tia Williams.”
–  Sunil Eappen, MD, MBA, chief medical officer and senior vice president of Medical Affairs



“I am reading Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change and Thrive in Work and Life by Susan David. I learned about it through Harvard Business Review, and highly recommend it for personal and professional growth.”
–  Jasra Ali Bhat, MD, associate psychiatrist, Department of Psychiatry



“A few years ago, I completed a training on transcranial magnetic stimulation, an innovative new treatment for major depressive disorder at Beth Israel Medical Center. Adam Stern, MD, director of Psychiatric Applications at the Berenson Allen Center, was a supervisor for the training. Familiar with his name, I came across his essays in The New York Times and found his writing to be a profound and very moving interpretation of what it means to be a practicing physician facing the possibility of death. That’s why I have his book, Committed: Dispatches from a Psychiatrist in Training, on my summer reading list. I’m sure his writing will continue to be inspiring.”
–  Ashwini Nadkarni, MD, assistant medical director of Psychiatric Specialties and associate vice chair of Wellness in the Department of Psychiatry


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