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Smart Read

Why recommend books anymore?  Does anyone read?  A friend of mine said frankly, “I don’t have time to read.  I get my information from the Internet and TV.”  Many people evidently feel that way, since print circulation of newspapers and  magazines has fallen dramatically in recent years, and many once robust publications have gone out of business.  Despite these trends, we thought it would be fun and informative to share recommended book reviews on this blog.  Summer is a great time to think about bringing a book to the pool or beach and soaking up information while listening to water sounds in the background.  We hope to review books that will positively impact your health, nutrition and fitness.

We hope you will enjoy reading the reviews and also the books.  I learned the value of books as I moved around the United States multiple times.  Being the new kid in school allowed me plenty of time to explore the public libraries.  Books opened doors to worlds unknown :  pioneer life on the Oregon Trail, detective mysteries in exotic locations, and the harsh realities of growing up during World World II.  While in college, I discovered that in between long study sessions, the Bible was an excellent source of wisdom for me.  I loved quotes such as “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”  Hebrews 11:1 and more practical advice like “Do not let the sun go down on your anger.”  Ephesians 4:26

Recently I had the opportunity to tour Evergreen House in Baltimore, which is the restored 19th century home of the Garrett Family, of B&O Railroad fame.  If you get a chance to see this unique place, do visit!  http://www.museums.jhu.edu/evergreen.php  The Garretts were significant patrons of artists, dancers and actors, and their home is full of BOOKS!  The books date back to the 1500s, fill at least 5 rooms floor to ceiling and are used by scholars of rare books today.  This display emphasized the significant role books had on everyday life for those who could read in the 1800s.  Because there was no internet, TV or other forms of communication, people spent a significant amount of their day thinking of and pondering the written word.  Although life has changed significantly since that time, we hope that reading a few great books every year will improve your intellectual as well as physical well-being.  Enjoy summer and enjoy reading!

Linda Yau, M.D.

Educated by Tara Westover - Book Review and Musings
written by Julia Korenman, M.D.
on Monday, 14th January, 2019

Educated is a memoir written by a young woman who was brought up in rural Idaho by fundamentalist/survivalist Mormons. She was the youngest of 7 children. Her family was theoretically home-schooling her, but the teaching was erratic and she mostly learned how to help her parents with their jobs - her father in the junkyard, her mother as an herbalist and midwife - and how to ...

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Taxi Driver Wisdom
written by Thu Tran, MD,FACOG
on Sunday, 21st January, 2018

It is a beautiful weekend in the Washington area and all around the country. A group of friends from our Lady Docs circle and I decided months ago that we would spend a weekend together in a little town in the horse country of Virginia as our first gathering for 2018. Similar to January 20th of last year, this weekend is not very peaceful around the country. The government ...

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The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
written by Linda Yau, M.D., F.A.C.P.
on Monday, 8th January, 2018

One of the jobs of a practicing internist is to help patients improving health through lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise and sleep. This can be quite challenging for me, so the fact that fascinating book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business delves into the neuroscience behind our daily routines, was very helpful for me to understand some of the ...

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On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder - a book review and observations
written by Julia Korenman, M.D.
on Thursday, 18th May, 2017

I read about this book in a review in the Washington Post and got it as soon as I could. In light of the recent election, I felt confused and helpless. I wanted to know how to understand everything that is happening and what can I do, as one individual to find out where the truth lies and to support values that are important to me. Regardless of political affiliation, or who ...

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Carrots as Medicine
written by Vanita Rahman, M.D.
on Tuesday, 2nd May, 2017

When my patients tell me that their blood pressure has been running high, the first thing I ask them is what they have been eating. After a careful discussion, it often becomes clear that the blood pressure increased after a meal high in sodium. We then focus on the diet, rather than medications alone, to control the blood pressure. Diet doesn’t simply affect blood pressure ...

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"Hillbilly Elegy" by J.D. Vance
written by Julia Korenman, M.D.
on Friday, 3rd March, 2017

“Hillbilly Elegy” has been on the New York Times bestseller list for weeks. The author is a 31 year old Yale law school graduate who grew up in “Rust Belt” Ohio, but whose roots are from Appalachian Kentucky. He explains the culture and circumstances of poor working class whites. As he puts it, “Americans call them hillbillies, rednecks, or white ...

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The Death of Cancer: After Fifty Years on the Front Lines of Medicine, a Pioneering Oncologist Reveals Why the War on Cancer is Winnable--and How We Can Get There By Vincent T. DeVita, Jr. M.D
written by Linda Yau, M.D., F.A.C.P.
on Saturday, 10th December, 2016

The first book review I wrote for this website focused on The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee. I absolutely loved that book. Critics agreed, since it won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction. It is hard to top such a sweeping drama in terms of the breadth and depth of cancer research. Therefore, this book on cancer, The Death of ...

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Life Reimagined: The Science, Art, and Opportunity of Midlife by Barbara Bradley Hagerty
written by Linda Yau, M.D., F.A.C.P.
on Wednesday, 5th October, 2016

When I saw the subtitle of this book, I immediately felt hope. It is good to think of the opportunity that lies with midlife. Often being in this time of life brings stress with aging parents, growing children and health issues. So often the word “midlife” goes along with the word “crisis”. Not so in this book. The author, a long time reporter at ...

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Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, published by Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of Random House, in 2015
written by Julia Korenman, M.D.
on Tuesday, 30th August, 2016

This book is written as a letter from the author, an African-American journalist to his teenaged son, in this era of frequent discussions about racial relations and the recent killings of black people, by law enforcement officers. The book is a gift, a gift to his son, as the author explains his view of the world which was molded by where and when he grew up and how he became ...

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When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, Published by Corcovado, 2016
written by Linda Yau, M.D., F.A.C.P.
on Wednesday, 6th July, 2016

My good friend from medical school forwarded me an article called Before I Go published in the Spring 2015 Stanford Medicine magazine. It was written so beautifully by a young neurosurgeon that it made me tear up. Dr. Kalanithi majored in English and biology at Stanford and then got a master’s in English literature before attending Yale School of Medicine. This article ...

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