World Book Day

Department of Surgery faculty share some of their favorite books in celebration of World Book Day.

Each year, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) sponsors the celebration of World Book and Copyright Day to promote the enjoyment of books and reading. “The power of books should be leveraged to combat isolation, reinforce ties between people, expand our horizons, while stimulating our minds and creativity,” writes UNESCO. Department of Surgery faculty share some of their favorite books, including recent bestsellers, classics of literature and a wide selection of non-fiction titles, in celebration of World Book and Copyright Day.

Jeffrey Blatnik, MD

Assistant Professor of Surgery
Section of Minimally Invasive Surgery

Recently, my favorite book has been Into the Planet by Jill Heinerth. It describes her journey to become a cave diver and goes over her challenges. The book also has a lot of technical things about scuba diving, which I enjoy. If I wasn’t a surgeon, I would probably be an underwater photographer. I have a passion for both, so this book is very interesting to me.

Keith E. Brandt, MD

William G. Hamm Professor of Surgery
Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. As surgeons we train for years to learn our skill, so most surgeons are pretty good at the start, but then everyday is continued improvement. Gladwell writes about what makes someone excel in their field, and one thing he mentions is the “10,000-Hour Rule,” meaning that practicing for that long is one part of what grants a person expertise. Most surgeons work an 80 hour work week, so that 10,000-hour mark is reached and surpassed pretty quickly.

Amy Cyr, MD

Assistant Professor of Surgery
Section of Surgical Oncology

I remember when I was a resident,  one of my attending physicians gave me and another female resident a book called The Woman in the Surgeon’s Body by Joan Cassell. It’s a great book about what it’s like being a woman in surgery. There weren’t many women in the residency, and the book describes how surgery is sometimes seen as a “masculine” specialty, but it follows 33 female surgeons and shows their experiences over a three year period. I still have that book years later.

Shaina Eckhouse, MD

Assistant Professor of Surgery
Division of Minimally Invasive Surgery and Bariatric Surgery

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. While it is not a modern depiction of women, the protagonist, Elizabeth Bennet, has an outspoken voice and opinion that I find inspiring. The book is a classic, and a work of art. I love art… In fact, I love surgery because it combines my two favorite fields: science and art. Tailoring surgery to each patient is an art form that requires creativity. I think I would be an art history teacher, curator of an art gallery or a photographer if I wasn’t in surgery.

John Felder, MD

Assistant Professor of Surgery
Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

I read a lot, so it is very difficult to choose. In terms of just pure enjoyability, I love The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. It’s a great adventure story. My wife and I love to travel, so I’m drawn to adventurous reads. But I also enjoy reading about a wide variety of topics. Lately, I have been reading about symbolism in Ancient Egypt in Serpent in the Sky by John Anthony West, which is fascinating.

Julie Margenthaler, MD

Professor of Surgery
Section of Surgical Oncology

A recent favorite is Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. I think it demonstrates the perseverance of women and I see that in my patients with breast cancer every day. Very often, I meet patients at one of the most challenging times of their lives. My goal is to make sure that we get them through this and get back to the best times of their lives. Their strength and  perseverance is inspiring, and this novel tells the story of a young woman surviving because of her resilience.

T.K. Pandian, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor of Surgery
Section of Surgical Oncology

A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierly is my favorite book. I love this non-fiction book because it is a testament to all that is good and bad with the human condition. It highlights so many important life themes including hope, love, and the true realities of poverty and lack of resources for so many people. It is an inspiring story of how being kind and caring can create such an impact on others.

Douglas Schuerer, MD

Professor of Surgery
Section of Acute and Critical Care

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell describes how experts can make great decisions with limited information. This translates well to how physicians continue to improve long after residency. The continually gained patient experiences help us understand difficult problems well before all information is available so treatments can begin quickly.

Baddr Shakhsheer, MD

Assistant Professor
Division of Pediatric Surgery

You Shall Know Our Velocity by Dave Eggers is a recent favorite. The story of two friends traveling on a whim to honor their friend is very appealing.