The Human Condition Curated

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Tony Miksanek on The Ministry of Bodies by Seamus O'Mahony

“This unusual memoir - both blunt and philosophical - contemplates topics deeply relevant to all physicians.”

Sebastian Galbo on Imagining Vesalius: An Ekphrastic, Scholarly and Literary Celebration of the 1543 De Humani Corporis Fabrica of Andreas Vesalius by Richard Ratzan

“[The author] brings together scholars and creative writers to celebrate the legacy of the sixteenth-century Flemish physician and anatomist, Andreas Vesalius and his  landmark text, De Humani Corporis 

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Howard Trachtman on East West Street and Ratline by Philippe Sands

“In these two linked books, [the author] tells an extraordinary real life story that combines personal experience and world history into a narrative that is as powerful as any novel.”

Carol Schilling on Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution by Directors Nicole Newnham and James LeBrecht

Crip Camp is in part a multi-voiced memoir told from the too-rare perspective of teenagers with disabilities about a shared formative experience and, simultaneously, a needed documentary about disability civil rights campaigns.”

Russell Teagarden on Dileesh Pothan's Joji

“Covid-19 has has scorched societies at all levels all around the world. Will anyone believe a movie is set in the current time period without signs of Covid-19? Dileesh Pothan thinks not.”  

Howard Trachtman on Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

“Is Religion or Science best able to deal with the psychological problems that can arise over a lifetime? Yaa Gyasi’s powerful new book aims to answer these perennial questions.”

Steven Field on THE GREAT INFLUENZA: A Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History by John Barry

“For anyone seeking to understand the 1918 influenza pandemic not only from a scientific and medical historical standpoint, but also with an appreciation of the political and sociocultural milieu in which it took place, you can’t do much better than Barry’s work.”

Mark Clark on The Arrow Tree: Healing from Long COVID by Phyllis Weliver

“[The] memoir points its readers in the direction of a safe passage to the home of our natural world, where, in finding union with that world, we may experience healing not only from COVID but from habits of the heart that have left us more broken than we know.”

Russell Teagarden on Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem

“From this novel, we get Lethem’s view of how Tourette syndrome can affect everyday life and how it can progress; how people with the syndrome can think about it; the balance people seek between benefits and side effects of drug therapies; and whether it’s acceptable to think that some verbal and physical tics are funny.”

Tony Miksanek on Parenthesis by Élodie Durand

"The author-artist's black and white illustrations are potent in portraying her struggle to understand the seizures and her attempt to communicate their impact on her life.”

Russell Teagarden on The Father by Florian Zeller

“Florian Zeller, the screenwriter and director, admits he wants viewers feeling what people with dementia feel. He succeeds in the movie as he succeeded in the Broadway play version preceding it.”

Lucy Bruell on Collective by Alexander Nanau

“By bringing public awareness to the critical shortcomings, corruption and politicization of the Romanian health care system, the filmmakers have created an important cautionary tale for other cities and countries who do not prioritize the health of their citizens.”

Devon Zander on Fevers, Feuds, and Diamonds: Ebola and the Ravages of History by Paul Farmer

“Paul Farmer’s latest work exploring the connection between health and the social and historical structures that surround it focuses on how and why Ebola spread in West Africa in 2014.”

Tony Miksanek on Letter to a Young Female Physician: Notes from a Medical Life by Suzanne Koven

“Writing with honesty, warmth, and humility, internist Koven covers a lot of medical territory in illuminating the life of a female physician.”

Guy Glass on Born to Be by Tania Cypriano

“Born to Be is an excellent introduction to gender-affirming surgery for a general audience.  It’s a film about some courageous transgender and gender non-binary people and one caring physician.”

Rachel Martel on The Doctors Blackwell: How two pioneering sisters brought medicine to women--and women to medicine by Janice Nimura

“Their contributions to the field not only changed the way that medicine is practiced, but also paved the way for generations of female physicians.”

Steven Field on The Flight Portfolio by Julie Orringer

“[The author] sets her story within a world of legal and moral ambiguity and illuminates the choices people must make in the direst of situations.”

Devon Zander on House on Fire: The Fight to Eradicate Smallpox by William Foege

“Ultimately, what we see in Foege’s writing is that public health is not one field:  it is a team-sport that combines science, global and domestic policy, and culture in service of social justice.”

Lucy Bruell on Global Healing by Karen Laura Thornber

“[The author] draws on work from global literature to explore the many ways societies view illness, stigma and healing.”

Spencer McClelland on The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin

“[The book] tells the story of a world where cities can come alive, not in the corporeal sense, and not in this universe, but in a way that intersects nonetheless with our reality.”

Richard Ratzan on Funeral Mass by P. K. Page

“[The poem] is a marvelously succinct triptych of two quite different reactions to an infant's death at a funeral mass.”

Shawn Thomas on Together by Vivek Murthy

“Dr. Murthy has made his mark as surgeon general by shining a spotlight on the long-standing issue of social isolation and loneliness..”

Howard Trachtman on Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell

“The underlying premise of this engrossing book is the well documented historical fact that William Shakespeare had a young son who died at age 11, relatively early in his father’s theatrical career.” 

Dustin Brinker on Call Me by Your Name by Luca Guadagnino

“Music, language, and literature act as conduits of the primary themes of the piece, namely those of precocity and sexuality.”

Guy Glass on The Beauty in Breaking by Michele Harper

“This is a sensitive book which approaches such painful topics as domestic violence and racism, and which gets to the heart of what it means to be a healer."

Martin Kohn on The Talking Cure: New and Selected Poems by Jack Coulehan

“The poems represent multiple viewpoints—patients, caregivers, family members as they struggle to make sense of the vicissitudes—and unexpected joys—in life."

Rachel Martel on Blue Ticket by Sophie Mackintosh

"Blue Ticket offers a meditation on freedom, exploring whether it is possible to live a free life within the bounds of a choice that is made for you."

Dustin Brinker on Beloved by Toni Morrison

“Set in the 19th century United States, Beloved follows a formerly enslaved woman named Sethe and the lives of those closest to her.”

Martin Kohn on Doctors’ Choice: Sixteen Stories about Doctors and Medicine Selected by Famous Physicians by Phyllis and Albert Blaustein

“Doctor’s Choice is a collection of 16 stories by authors from and well known in the early-to-mid 20th century.”

Carol Donley on I Hear Their Voices Singing: Poems New and Collected by Cortney Davis

“Davis is known for her ability to see and understand what is going on and to hear the unique voices that express suffering, faith, desire—and to convey empathic understanding of the speaker.”

Dustin Brinker on Brave Story by Miyuki Miyabe

"Despite my qualms, Brave Story is a wonderful piece of literature that provides much insight into the adolescent mind for use in broaching topics such as racial discrimination, religious zealotry, childhood divorce, and radical acceptance."

Russell Teagarden on The Betrothed During the 2020 Pandemic

“Many of the descriptions of the plague in Milan that Manzoni offers from his sources mirror descriptions that have appeared in contemporary mainstream accounts about the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. in 2020.”

Steven Field on The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason

“The Winter Soldier is a war story, a doctor story, and a romance.  It also poses a wrenching question of medical ethics.”

Guy Glass on Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker

“The Galvins of Hidden Valley Road, just outside Colorado Springs, appear to be the kind of wholesome, all-American family that others might envy.  The tragic fact is that six of the twelve children go on to develop schizophrenia..”

Devon Zander on Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb

“Gottlieb’s writing is unique as she places a magnifying glass on herself and her own experiences in therapy just as much, if not more, than those of her patients.”

Albert Howard Carter III on The Hospital: Life Death and Dollars in a Small American Town by Alexander Brian

“Alexander is an on-the-ground reporter covering the events in and around a hospital in the small town of Bryan from 2018 to 2020.”

Total Database Contents

  • 178 Visual Art Annotations
  • 2893 Literature Annotations
  • 287 Performing Art Annotations
  • 100 Artists
  • 1845 Authors
  • 186 Keywords