It may seem odd for a hypochondriac to enjoy reading medical books, but it’s one of my favorite subgenres of historical nonfiction. From horrifying and deadly epidemics to the illuminating breakthroughs that have saved countless lives, I can’t get enough of the doctors, nurses, scientists, patients, and ordinary people who have played integral parts in the long and storied history of medicine. These ten books are compelling and well-written. You’ll want to get reading, STAT!
For fans of “Radiolab”
Radiolab is an in-depth podcast about curiosity that breaks down topics as diverse as end-of-life care, collegiate debating, snapping shrimp, and ice-skating controversies—and leaves you with newfound knowledge and an eagerness to learn more. Siddhartha Mukherjee’s bestselling, Pulitzer Prize–winning THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES has that same effect. This incredibly readable and epic “biography” of cancer illuminates and dissects the disease like never before.
One of the most beautifully written, heartbreaking, and haunting books about a president, DESTINY OF THE REPUBLIC follows the senseless assassination of President Garfield, the unstable man who committed the crime, and the efforts of Alexander Graham Bell to save the dying president.
On Kerry’s wish list
Few things interest me as much as New York City’s history and with a nurse for a sister, it’s only natural that I would be intrigued by New York City’s iconic hospital. From being the home of the nation’s first nursing school to becoming a metonym for all psychiatric hospitals, Bellevue obviously has a storied history—and it’s one that I have little knowledge of, even though it remains an essential place for patients in New York City today. David Oshinsky won a Pulitzer Prize for his last non-fiction work, POLIO, and I have no doubt that BELLEVUE will be fascinating, evocative, and beautifully written.