Reading-a resolution worth making and keeping

In this post I’m listing some of the book lists I have found; these are all medical/health related books, at least in some way. If you read one and like it, send me a brief note about it and I’ll share with my other readers.

Every year I find more and more book lists; best books, most popular best selling, books recommended by a celebrity or other famous person, etc. I can’t possibly read them all, but some of them sound so interesting I wish I could.

In this post I’m listing some of the book lists I have found; these are all medical/health related books, which I tend to interpret loosely.

If you read one and like it, send me a brief note about it and I’ll share with my other readers.

(These are affiliate links to sites where you can buy something, and send a commission to this blog, to pay expenses and to donate to health related causes throughout the world.)

Click on each title or picture to read an Amazon review .

a man reading a book, holding a mug

First, here is a new book I did read last year. Although published in 2020, the author wrote it in 2019, not realizing how timely it would be.

The Orphan Collector

A Heroic Novel of Survival During the 1918 Influenza Pandemic 

In this well researched novel about the influenza pandemic of 100 years ago, Ms. Wiseman takes us into the heartbreak of the thousands of children orphaned by both the pandemic and the world war.

I started reading the book late in the year, by the time the COVID-19 cases and deaths were surging in number. I thought about all the people being left orphaned now, although they are not all children. Some are middle-aged adults losing their elderly parents, while others are older adults losing their young adult children.

(As of January 25, 2021, in the United States 25 million persons have been infected with COVID-19, and 420,000 have died.)

Whatever one’s age, losing loved ones to an out of control disease is heartbreaking. The Orphan Collector does not have a fairytale “happy ending”. But the main character Pia, a 12 year old immigrant girl in Philadelphia, learns an ending different than one hoped for can be satisfying in unexpected ways.

Best Books from Amazon

Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World 

In Praise of Walking: A New Scientific Exploration

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art 

Best Books from People Magazine

Hidden Valley Road

Inside the Mind of an American Family

Hamnet

Penny who blogs at grownchildren.net wrote this about Hamnet

  The author paints a detailed portrait of Shakespeare’s wife as an herbalist; …he grows and culls her herbs for various ailments and dispenses them as a pharmacist today would do.

But the story is about grief and how the Shakespeares, man and wife, separately worked their way through the immense loss of their son. The portrait of her grief–we don’t learn much about his–is thrilling in its sensitivity. You don’t have to be in the medical or health field to be fascinated by this book.

What Are You Going Through

Notes on a Silencing: A Memoir

New from Tyndale

The Anxiety Reset

A Life-Changing Approach to Overcoming Fear, Stress, Worry, Panic Attacks, OCD and More 

exploring the HEART of health in literature

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More recommendations from Smithsonian Magazine.com

The Ten Best Children’s Books of 2020

These top titles deliver history lessons, wordplay and a musical romp through the animal kingdom

The Ten Best Science Books of 2020

New titles explore the mysterious lives of eels, the science of fear and our connections to the stars

Why we should LOL-even during a pandemic

Finding humor in situations that are anything but funny can relieve some of the fear, anxiety, and dread associated with threats to our well being.

I was planning a post about medical humor when I found an article about that very subject. JAMA published the article November 6, 1920.

No, that is not a typo, it was 1920. But since I wasn’t around then to read it, I’m glad they republished it November 3, 2020 in a feature called JAMA Revisited. (JAMA is the Journal of the American Medical Association.)

In it, the unidentified author refers to another article published in 1920 titled “Two Medical Humorists”, one of whom was Oliver Wendell Holmes who he describes as

a master of style, all of his work illuminated

with numerous flashes of wit.

Oliver Wendell Holmes’ son Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., served as Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1902 to 1932. Holmes Sr. was a physician and poet in the 1800s.

The author claimed that “a bit of humor now and then is welcomed by every class of thinkers, no matter how serious minded may be their daily routine”, and I agree, although I know people who seem to have no sense of humor, at least about some things.

Two Goats with Letter Board Phrase “YOU’VE GOAT TO BE KIDDING ME”
Two Goats with Letter Board Phrase “YOU’VE GOAT TO BE KIDDING ME” from LIGHTSTOCK, an affiliate link

What is humor?

According to Merriam-Webster.com “some common synonyms of humor are ironyreparteesarcasmsatire, and wit….”a mode of expression intended to arouse amusement”.  

And from the JAMA article –

Humor is a lively sense of the incongruous (out of place) in the world and in life.

What’s funny about illness?

Most of us find nothing “funny” about being sick, injured, disabled, or dying. But illness and its treatment can create situations that prompt “incongruous” reactions that can be funny, ironic, and satirical. Finding humor in situations that are anything but funny can relieve some of the fear, anxiety, and dread associated with threats to our well being.

Nothing will so quickly relieve the strain with which most laymen confront the physician as the kindly directed remark accompanied with a smile and a sense of humor.

Humor’s dark side

In 1968 an Army physician wrote a novel about his experiences serving as a surgeon at a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War. Dr. Richard Hooker’s novel spawned a successful play, a movie, and one of the most popular television series of all time, known simply as M*A*S*H, still in syndication. The movie won the Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award in 1970.

In the novel MASH, and the subsequent versions, Dr. Hooker used dark humor to depict the doctors, nurses, and other staff coping with practicing medicine in a war zone. Their pranks, wise cracks, and self deprecating humor distracted them from their loneliness, anger, and sense of failure when soldiers died despite their best efforts to save them.

We need humor in the profession. It is one of its necessary virtues. For who save ourselves live in such a milieu of disharmonies?

These are affiliate links to generate revenue to support this blog.

Playfulness in a pandemic

Medical humor helps us fight the unexpected, unfair, and disruptive circumstances of disaster and disease , helping us cope with feeling powerless.

In 2020 when the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic sparked fear,confusion, and uncertainty, people took to social media with memes, cartoons,photos, and videos that testified to our resolve to overcome. I liked this video a high school principal produced and starred in. By taking a lighthearted approach to a serious situation, he demonstrated resourcefulness and resilience.

But let us also cling to humor, the antiseptic of life.

Friday Funnies

I share humorous medically related cartoons on my Facebook page every Friday. I choose them carefully, because I don’t want anyone to ever think I take their health issues lightly. I don’t, ever. But I agree with Merriam-Webster in that humor implies an ability to perceive the ludicrous, the comical, and the absurd in human life and to express these usually without bitterness.

If you don’t already follow me on Facebook, please do. Besides Fridays, somedays I share a Saturday Smile.

In medicine, humor is a virtue.

Unless otherwise noted, the quotes are from Some Medical Humorists which you can read at this link.

sharing the HEART of laughter

Thanks for following this blog. If you’re visiting, I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me. I also want you to find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest , Instagram, and LinkedIn .

                              Dr. Aletha 

a smal dog with round glasses on "What's the funniest meme you've seen lately?":
Describe the funniest meme you’ve seen lately, or leave a link in the comments. Family friendly content only please.