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.

Book choice: Personal: “The Overnight Guest” by Heather Gudenkauf, “Killers of a Certain Age” by Deanna Raybourn, “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and “Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi; Professional: “Survival of the Sickest” by Sharon Moalem, “Talking to Strangers” by Malcolm Gladwell and “Thinking Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman

Why: “I am in three different book clubs, and I typically only read mystery/thriller novels. One of my book clubs highly recommended a fiction book written in the style of ‘In Cold Blood’ for our summer beach read so we’re reading ‘The Overnight Guest’ and we are finishing up ‘Killers of a Certain Age’ which I highly recommend reading because it explores the theme of society’s treatment of older women. I am also the Mass General Brigham Young Professionals Group Operations Coordinator and for our book club we are reading ‘Talking to Strangers’ which got a lot of engagement across the system. I am starting my PhD in Public Health in the fall, so I am reading ‘Survival of the Sickest’ which is on my university’s summer reading list. My husband Joe is in the Marine Corps and has his Marines reading ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’ and he convinced me to read it with him. My sister Nevena is a high school teacher, and her students are interested in contemporary books they can relate to, so they are reading ‘Homegoing’ which is such a powerful yet harrowing book that I have had to put down numerous times and go on long walks to process. I was at the United Nations presenting some research and the book ‘Americanah’ was on their must-read list, so I picked that up and growing up in an immigrant family, I loved the main character and her struggles really resonated with me.” – Tiana Jurisic, MPH, Course Coordinator at BWH DGIM Operations Coordinator at Mass General Brigham YPG


Book choice: “The Way Home” by Peter S. Beagle

Why: “‘The Way Home’ is a sequel of sorts to the 1968 classic fantasy novel, ‘The Last Unicorn.’ ‘The Last Unicorn’ is my absolute favorite book: in turns heart-achingly touching and wryly humorous, it’s the quintessential fairy tale for grownups. ‘The Way Home’ contains two novellas set in the same world as ‘The Last Unicorn’: “Two Hearts,’ a bittersweet tale that continues the story of the best characters of the novel, told from the point of view of a nine-year-old girl, and ‘Sooz,’ the story of that nine-year-old all grown up and setting out on her own quest. I’ve finished ‘Two Hearts’ and it made me smile through gentle tears; I can’t wait to discover what’s next for Sooz in the second story. If you love fantasy with a twist of humor and a pinch of winking self-awareness, you’ll definitely enjoy both ‘The Last Unicorn’ and ‘The Way Home.’ – Mara Hampson, Administrative Assistant, Division of Women’s Health


Book choice: “Healthy Leadership: How to Thrive in the New World of Work” by Lee J. Colan and Julie Davis-Colan; “Mergers of Teaching Hospitals in Boston, New York and Northern California” by John A. Kastor

Why: “I’m planning to read both of these books over the summer to help inform my work. I’m hopeful I can learn from the experiences of others and leverage that knowledge to better support our community here at the Brigham and across Mass General Brigham.” – Robert S.D. Higgins, MD, MSHA, President, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Executive Vice President, Mass General Brigham


Book choice: “The Dragon Republic” (2nd book in The Poppy War trilogy) by R.F. Kuang; “All Rhodes Lead Here” by Mariana Zapata

Why: “I’m reading ‘The Dragon Republic’ because I really enjoy fantasy and have been trying to more consciously diversify the authors I choose to read. I really enjoyed ‘The Poppy War’ by R.F. Kuang and am already enjoying the second one in the trilogy, though it is worth noting that it’s a bit bleak and not a typical summer read. I’m not very far into ‘All Rhodes Lead Here’ but it is a romance that I have heard great things about. When I am reading multiple books at once (almost always), I like to mix genres.” –Danielle Moore, PA-C, Hospitalist PA in the Department of Medicine


Book Choice: “The Covenant of Water” by Abraham Verghese, “We’ve Got You Covered” by Amy Finkelstein and Liran Einav

Why: “In ‘The Covenant of Water,’ Abraham Verghese tells a multi-generational tale of a family afflicted by a mysterious medical illness based in Kerala. The book has already received rave reviews and I just can’t wait to get my hands on it. The second book I will be reading is co-written by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist Amy Finkelstein who is one of the foremost researchers in health economics and I can think of no one better to explain our Byzantine health system and insurance coverage than her. Since so many of our patients struggle with the financial side of health care, I feel this is an area all physicians should be better informed about.” – Haider Warraich, MD, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine


Book choice: “The Coaching Habit: Say less, ask more & change the way you lead forever” by Michael Bungay Stanier; “It Starts With Us” by Colleen Hoover

Why: “I chose the coaching book after a recent role expansion so I could reflect on my leadership style, habits and support of the team. I want to make sure I’m coaching the procedural team in as helpful, thought-provoking, solution-oriented and supportive a manner as possible…like Ted Lasso coaches AFC Richmond! For “It Starts With Us,” I love to get lost in someone else’s world while sitting on the beach; coincidentally I love floral design and love that the main character broke out and started her own business!” – Monica Tucker-Schwartz, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, interim senior nursing director of Procedural Services


Book choice: “Think Again” by Adam Grant

Why: “We often only listen to opinions that make us feel good, see disagreement as a threat to our egos rather than an opportunity to learn, or surround ourselves with people who agree with our conclusions. In my personal quest to seek uncomfortable opportunities as a way to grow, I landed on Adam Grant’s book. The book challenges us to reexamine and question our long-held beliefs, find joy in being wrong and practice interpersonal rethinking.” – Kari Irwin, MSN, RN, nursing director of the L2 Procedural Recovery Unit (PRU) and Procedural Float Pool


Book choice: “Foster” by Claire Keegan, “Small Things Like These” by Claire Keegan, “Four Thousand Weeks” by Oliver Burkeman, “Why We Love Baseball” by Joe Posnanski

Why: “I’ve just finished two truly beautiful novels, ‘Foster’ and ‘Small Things Like These,’ written by Claire Keegan, an Irish novelist who sets her stories in rural Ireland. Despite the exotic setting, each book has such universal humanistic stories that they should appeal to anyone who appreciates that heroism can happen on a small family scale too. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the book ‘Four Thousand Weeks’ is a philosophical rumination on the undeniable fact that we all have limited time – the title is the average life expectancy of a person – and that we should stop badgering ourselves to be productive every single second of the day. Finally, I’m eagerly awaiting Joe Posnanski’s ‘Why We Love Baseball,’ both because I’m a baseball fanatic and because he’s an extraordinary writer. His ‘The Baseball 100’ is longer than ‘Moby Dick,’ and in my opinion much better!” – Paul Sax, MD, Clinical Director, Division of Infectious Diseases


Book choice: “Lessons in Chemistry” by Bonnie Garmus, “The House in the Pines” by Ana Reyes, “Cloud Cuckoo Land” by Anthony Doerr, and “Lincoln Highway” by Amor Towles

Why: “I chose ‘Lessons in Chemistry’ because stories about brilliant women scientists are always inspirational! ‘The House in the Pines’ made my list because thrillers are a great beach read. I also chose ‘Cloud Cuckoo Land’ because it’s described as a joyous epic of love and survival which seems just right. And finally, ‘Lincoln Highway’ — because I am drawn to great storytelling and fascinating characters on a joyride.” – Nawal Nour, MD, MPH, Chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology


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