Bookish Thoughts: 10 “Medical” Books I’ve Read In Med School

Being a doctor has never crossed my mind until the age of 15, my ambition has always been being a scientist and astronaut during primary school, musician, lawyer, PR relations in high school right up till 15 years old when i suddenly realised that my actual passion all the while has been medicine!

There has been several experiences, books and ideas planted on to me, like seedlings waiting to bloom into a young tree! =) Looking back, med school has been a roller coaster rides and often other than family and friend support, several things have played a pivotal role in helping me to experience med school thoroughly!

Anyway we shall leave this to another day and focus on the title today!

google images

google images

1. Don’t Worry, Be Happy by Dr Phang Cheng Kar (Clinical Psychiatrist, Malaysia)

– Recommended age: Pre-med/ year 1 (read in 2011)

– This book was born when Dr Phang was a medical student himself, fun read with loads of doodling and anecdote. A photostated copy of the book was given to me by a kind aunty from Subang Jaya Buddhist Association (SJBA) and later on I receive another signatured copy from Dr Phang (yay) from a talk that he gave to us organised by the Monash Counselling Department.

-psss: Since I have two copies of the book I am thinking of giving away one of them! Do PM/comment me if you are interested ya! =)

CAUSE i'm HAPPY! =P *google image thanks!*

*google image thanks!*

2. 7 Steps of Highly Effective People –Stephen R. Covey

– Recommended age: Pre-clinical/ Anytime when u feel uneffective? (read in 2006-2011)

– I’ve read 50% of the book from my high school library and later on this book appeared as a recommended reading and was one of the lecture from Dr Sivalal during first year of medicine teaching study technique. I think I didn’t managed to finish the book, though I remember it was a good one, and graphic or simplified version of it? (I have rather short attention span =p)

7 steps! =) image from

3. Tuesday with MorrieMitch Albom

– Recommended age: Pre-clinical /clinical/ palliative care(read in 2011)

– This book is a recount of the author’s pastor from his childhood suffering from a neuro-muscular disease and is slipping away slowly. The author delicately recalls the moments spent with him while including his own emotions and reflections. I was introduced to him via his work <The 5 people you meet in heaven> by a dear friend’s mum when I was feeling lost and down 7 years ago. For that I am eternally grateful and blessed. <The time keeper> is a good read as well!

4. Escaping daddyMaria London

– R.A: Medical ethics/ Paediatrics/ Psychiatry (read in 2012)

– This book is a real recount of young Maria as a teenage sex worker forced by her father. Things get worsen when due to the circumstances she is involved in drug and drinking habits. The emotions, struggles, experiences were painfully written retold and I am truly moved by her courage and by telling the world, creating awareness the issue of child prostitution and abuse.

5. One Last GoodbyeKay Gilderdale

– R.A.: med ethics/ palliative care/ peadiatrics (read 2013)

– A heart-breaking true story of Lynn Gilderdale who was diagnosed with a rare disease of chronic fatigue syndrome (myalgia encephalomyelitis). *spoiler alert* This book was written by her mother recording the process of Lynn reaching a diagnosis, being stigmatized as ‘faking it out’ among several others. The book also describes Lynn’s decision on euthanasia under the legal age and subsequently her mother being charged for murder.

euthanasia... A happy pill?  *google image*

euthanasia… A happy pill?
*google image*

6. A Nurse AbroadAnne Watts

– R.A.: public health/ clinical/ health economics/ global health (read 2013-14)

– Scored this book for 1/2 pounds in a cancer charity shop when I was doing my electives in London! Best book choice ever! This is a autobiography of Anne Watts, a freshly trained UK nurse who inherited his father’s adventurous spirit and set sail for Canada to practice. Later, with much spontaneity and open heart to learn and experience more, she worked in Australia outback and was exposed to aboriginal health; the Arctic to work in clinics in an igloo; and participated in the Vietnam War (this is recalled in the other book, have yet to scout for it yet! >.<).

– Apart from bringing back nostalgia from UK, this book also serves as a more detailed introduction to Aboriginal Health in Australia, which I have the privilege to be exposed more about the community and Indigenous health when doing a 3 month compulsory attachment in Melbourne late January. *Monash also offers Rural Elective for Malaysian Campus students starting from my year whereby students can apply to do an elective in rural Melbourne! I did not managed to get a slot but my best friend did and it was the best experience ever! =)*

Australian Outback! =) *thanks google image*

Australian Outback! =)
*thanks google image*

7. LockdownDrauzio Varella

RA: Infectious Disease/ Public Health/ Health Economics (2014)

– Bought this for RM8 from the Big Bad Wolf (BBW) Fair in Johore Bharu. “Inside Brazil’s most dangerous prison”, the tagline is enough to pull a Brazil football fan and detective serious fanatic to buy the book! It is about how a ID doctor reach out to Brazilian prison system to spread public health, namely HIV prevention programme. It started off pretty dry, explaining the prison system and what not (took me 1/2 a year to go through) but later on the story became so gripping to me and I finished it in a week from mid-book onwards!

wouldn't mind being 'LOCKDOWN-ed" if its this cute! =p  *image from google*

wouldn’t mind being ‘LOCKDOWN-ed” if its this cute! =p
*image from google*

8. ComplicationsAtul Gwande

RA: Anaesthesiology/ Emergency Department/ Health Econs/ Medicine/ Surgery (2014- ?)

– A very big thank you to the cutest and very dedicated Monash Doctor Couple Dr Rafidah and Dr Azim who run our ED and Anaes posting and for making learning so fun, and for lending out this book to us! =) I have only managed to read the book till midway when the 6 weeks rotation ends and did not have the opportunity to finish it, but I can still remember many of the details described by this American surgeon and his point of view and observation, including medical errors; the symbiosis relationship of medical conferences and sponsors; the privatization of medical care and medical insurance to name a few.

Note to self:Definitely going to read all his books in the near future.

9. The Examined LifeStephen Grosz 

– RA: Psychiatry (2014)

– This was my 24th birthday present from Mr Liew! ❤ *shy shy* Stephen is a psychoanalyst who in this short and sweet book records the dialogues with his patient (deidentified of coourse) and his own thoughts and reflections. Was a pretty quick read, finished in one night (wasn’t sure due to the sugar rush or was a easy read in general =p) Anyway pretty great point of view and good size to toss in your handbag to read on the go!

=p *image from google*

=p *image from google*

10. House of GodSamuel Shem

– RA: final leg of med school/ Initiating internship (or Housemanship) (2014)

– Thrifted at 3 AUD from a charity shop during my family trip in Sydney after my graduation ball. Bought this on the day of “Sydney Siege” itself, a sad day where 2 hostages were gunned down by extremist =(. We were brought to a ‘safe area’ by my lil sis who which is Manly Beach as we were staying in the city area and stopped midway for a chemist and bumped into this quaint little family owned charity shop.

– This book is a fictional story of how a guy intern in UK survived 1st year of ‘hell’ internship in the ‘House of God’. The book follows the intern waddling through his way with his fellow comrades till the end of the year, with a detailed and unique insight of hospital administrators; the relationship among partners; with family members; between interns and their superiors and hospital directors ‘the boss’; and of course the interesting relationship with nurses! (though most are pretty crude ones, kids watch out! =p)



That’s all for now! =) Thanks for enduring with me and hope that it helps! =) The medical school journey for me has been a bumpy one but I am blessed to meet all the great and fun people who never failed to inspire me! And since today is World Kidney day and being Women Month, I will be MARCH-ing it on and try to post frequently this month regarding the topic, and before my holiday ends and I have to start working for real as a houseman in Malaysia! =)