92 books like Cutting for Stone

By Abraham Verghese,

Here are 92 books that Cutting for Stone fans have personally recommended if you like Cutting for Stone. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The House of God

Donald B. Stewart Author Of Past Medical History: Recollections of a Medical Miscreant

From my list on surviving a life-changing challenge.

Who am I?

When life’s experiences fall dismally short of expectations, many of us find ourselves lost at a crossroads. When my path to becoming a doctor began to exact an unacceptable toll, I had to find a way out; discharging myself from the hospital was the solution, and by far the best clinical decision of my brief medical career.  As a result, I’m still fascinated by choices others make when faced with what seem like impossible obstacles, and where those decisions lead. Following the medical dream from age five, it wasn’t easy to change my life’s course, but that crucial choice allowed me to grow in ways I couldn’t imagine.  

Donald's book list on surviving a life-changing challenge

Donald B. Stewart Why did Donald love this book?

THOG (yes, we called it by its acronym) was released around the time I entered medical school, and was widely referenced during my training.

Fortunately I was far too occupied to read it at the time, as its revelations, however parodied and overblown, would likely have caused me to leave medicine before earning my license to practice. Encountering it years later, when the whole experience could be reviewed through a humorous retrospective lens, I found the book to be wonderfully entertaining, and spot on in many of its particulars.

Shem’s masterpiece of revelatory satire is the safest, silliest way for anyone to experience medical training, and a proper warning for anyone wishing to enter the field.

By Samuel Shem,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The House of God as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

By turns heartbreaking, hilarious, and utterly human, The House of God is a mesmerizing and provocative novel about what it really takes to become a doctor.

"The raunchy, troubling, and hilarious novel that turned into a cult phenomenon. Singularly compelling...brutally honest."-The New York Times

Struggling with grueling hours and sudden life-and-death responsibilities, Basch and his colleagues, under the leadership of their rule-breaking senior resident known only as the Fat Man, must learn not only how to be fine doctors but, eventually, good human beings.

A phenomenon ever since it was published, The House of God was the first unvarnished, unglorified,…


Book cover of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat And Other Clinical Tales

Eric Schwitzgebel Author Of The Weirdness of the World

From my list on blow your mind about the weirdness of the world.

Who am I?

What I love about philosophy (I’ve been a philosophy professor at the University of California, Riverside, since 1997) is not its ability to deliver the one correct answer to the nature of the world and how to live but rather its power to open our mind to new possibilities that we hadn’t previously considered; its power to blow apart our presuppositions, our culturally given “common sense” understandings, and our habitual patterns of thinking, casting us into doubt and wonder. The science writing, fiction, and personal essays I love best have that same power.

Eric's book list on blow your mind about the weirdness of the world

Eric Schwitzgebel Why did Eric love this book?

Every time I revisit Sacks, especially this book, I am blown away anew at people’s ability to create meaning and value in the face of severe cognitive disability.

A man’s capacity to categorize objects is so impaired that when he moves to leave the room, he mistakenly reaches for his wife’s head instead of his hat. How can he even get through the day? With the help of familiar routines, his loving spouse, and music.

A “lost mariner” can’t retain any new information longer than a few minutes and still thinks he’s living decades ago, but he finds meaning in the timeless ceremonies of his religion. A man repeatedly throws his own leg out of bed and is surprised to find himself on the floor again….

By Oliver Sacks,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat And Other Clinical Tales as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Celebrating Fifty Years of Picador Books

If a man has lost a leg or an eye, he knows he has lost a leg or an eye; but if he has lost a self - himself - he cannot know it, because he is no longer there to know it.

In this extraordinary book, Dr. Oliver Sacks recounts the stories of patients struggling to adapt to often bizarre worlds of neurological disorder. Here are people who can no longer recognize everyday objects or those they love; who are stricken with violent tics or shout involuntary obscenities, and yet are gifted with…


Book cover of When Breath Becomes Air

Jennifer Cramer-Miller Author Of Incurable Optimist: Living with Illness and Chronic Hope

From my list on inspiring you to hug your life and savor every second.

Who am I?

Hello, I am Jennifer Cramer-Miller—an author, speaker, and joy seeker. Thirty-some years ago, at 22, I had a cozy apartment with my best friend and a promising PR position. Then I was diagnosed with an incurable autoimmune kidney disease, and suddenly, doctors discussed my “quality of life.” At a very young age, life’s uncertainty fueled my will to survive. And I’ve learned that life is a mix of beauty and bummers. So as long as we’re alive, we should appreciate all of it. That’s why I’m drawn to books that illuminate what it means to be a human managing uncertainty, holding onto hope, and finding joy. 

Jennifer's book list on inspiring you to hug your life and savor every second

Jennifer Cramer-Miller Why did Jennifer love this book?

Oh, this book! It’s so moving. It’s so sad. It’s so beautiful. And it lingers in my mind years after I first read it.

Paul Kalanithi wrestles with a question you’d never wish upon a 36-year-old neurosurgeon with stage IV lung cancer, married with a child. What makes life worth living in the face of death? He writes, “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything… I can’t go on. I’ll go on.” While he stared bravely ahead as he faced death, he penned a beautiful book about life.

By Paul Kalanithi,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked When Breath Becomes Air as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**THE MILLION COPY BESTSELLER**

'Rattling. Heartbreaking. Beautiful.' Atul Gawande, bestselling author of Being Mortal

What makes life worth living in the face of death?

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade's training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, the next he was a patient struggling to live.

When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi's transformation from a medical student asking what makes a virtuous and meaningful life into a neurosurgeon working in the core of human identity - the brain - and…


I'll Tell My Story

By Sinmisola Ogunyinka,

Book cover of I'll Tell My Story

Sinmisola Ogunyinka Author Of I loved a slave

New book alert!

Who am I?

I am a writer who loves to create stories across cultures and time periods. Writing a historical romance novel involves a lot of reading about the history and the times. After reading a few historical novels, I started toying with the idea of writing one. I loved a slave is my second historical romance novel and I have started work on two more. Being transported into the time period gives me a lot of excitement and I hope you enjoy the books on my list as much as I have! I have a master’s in liberal arts and an MFA in Creative Writing.

Sinmisola's book list on historical stories on love and slavery

What is my book about?

Bettina Jaja spent years of her life obeying a man everyone both revered and feared, a man she called her husband - a man of God who gave her a comfortable life by all external accounts. Why, then, was she so unhappy? Pouring her heart out in her uncensored life story, she delivers her true self to her children. Doing so means defying her powerful husband. Doing so means being damned.

Bettina takes a stand against her tyrannical husband, the man who nobody dared disobey without fear of retaliation. In this often heart-wrenching look into the life of one mother yearning for freedom and for her children's happiness, you'll find out just what a mother is willing to sacrifice for the sake of her children.

I'll Tell My Story

By Sinmisola Ogunyinka,

What is this book about?

Sometimes the secrets of the past are too painful to remain hidden in the shadows.

Bettina Jaja spent years of her life obeying a man everyone both revered and feared, a man she called her husband-a man of God who gave her a comfortable life by all external accounts. Why, then, was she so unhappy?

Mummy Jaja, as their congregation called her, knew she had failed as a mother for many reasons... but could she stop the generational curses caused by her years of silence from being passed on? Can she save her children from suffering her fate?

Adam, her…


Book cover of It's All in Your Head: Stories from the Frontline of Psychosomatic Illness

Guy Leschziner Author Of The Nocturnal Brain: Nightmares, Neuroscience, and the Secret World of Sleep

From my list on medical mysteries.

Who am I?

Guy Leschziner is a professor of neurology and sleep medicine at King’s College London. He is the author of The Nocturnal Brain: Nightmares, Neuroscience and The Secret World of Sleep, and the forthcoming The Man Who Tasted Words, and is a presenter on BBC Radio 4 and the World Service.

Guy's book list on medical mysteries

Guy Leschziner Why did Guy love this book?

For doctors and patients alike, it is almost impossible to understand how some of the most dramatic conditions we see – seizures, paralysis, blindness – may have an underlying psychological basis. In this book, O’Sullivan explains the basis of psychosomatic illness with skill, illustrating this area of neurological practice with fascinating case studies.

By Suzanne O'Sullivan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked It's All in Your Head as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A neurologist explores the very real world of psychosomatic illness.

Pauline first became ill when she was fifteen. What seemed to be a urinary infection became joint pain, then life-threatening appendicitis. After a routine operation Pauline lost all the strength in her legs. Shortly afterwards, convulsions started. But Pauline's tests are normal: her symptoms seem to have no physical cause whatsoever.

This may be an extreme case, but Pauline is not alone. As many as a third of people visiting their GP have symptoms that are medically unexplained. In most, an emotional root is suspected which is often the last…


Book cover of Hamnet

Celia Jeffries Author Of Blue Desert

From my list on historical fiction that sweeps you into a captivating time and place.

Who am I?

I am fascinated by the question, “Where is home?” Is it the place you were born, among the people who raised you? Or is it the place you most come alive? Growing up, fiction taught me there were other worlds than the one I inhabited, and historical fiction taught me how they came to be. Travels in England, Europe, Africa, and South America opened up worlds and cultures I had only read about and drove me to write a novel about how one may find "home" in the most unlikely times and places. 

Celia's book list on historical fiction that sweeps you into a captivating time and place

Celia Jeffries Why did Celia love this book?

I read my fair share of Shakespeare in school and learned that he left his "second best bed" to his wife, but nothing prepared me for the reality of the Black Death, his life as a young Latin tutor who fell in love with an older woman, and the loss of his son. I love O’Farrell’s writing, beautiful atmospheric prose, and a deep study of what can fracture a family.

I could not put this book down.

By Maggie O'Farrell,

Why should I read it?

31 authors picked Hamnet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE 2020 WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION - THE NO. 1 BESTSELLER 2021
'Richly sensuous... something special' The Sunday Times
'A thing of shimmering wonder' David Mitchell

TWO EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE. A LOVE THAT DRAWS THEM TOGETHER. A LOSS THAT THREATENS TO TEAR THEM APART.

On a summer's day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon takes to her bed with a sudden fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. Why is nobody at home?

Their mother, Agnes, is over a mile away, in the garden where she grows medicinal herbs. Their father is working in London.

Neither…


Book cover of The Glass Palace

Ron Emmons Author Of Teak Lord

From my list on exploring colonialism in Southeast Asia.

Who am I?

During 30 years living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I have developed a deep appreciation of Northern Thai culture and a fascination with its 700-year history. Though the region escaped being colonised as were nearby Laos (by the French) and Burma (by the Brits), a teak boom in the late 19th century came close to pulling it under the colonial yoke as Western trading companies muscled in. Teak Lord explores the frequently fragile relationships between circumspect Asians and adventurous Westerners, against a background of shifting borders and impenetrable jungle.

Ron's book list on exploring colonialism in Southeast Asia

Ron Emmons Why did Ron love this book?

Amitav Ghosh is one of my favourite historical novelists and his ability to bring his characters to life draws readers into the web of this epic tale. The story begins in Burma in the shadow of the "Glass Palace" in Mandalay, from where King Thibaw has recently been exiled by the British. It then spans an entire century, following the lives of several characters, particularly Rajkumar, who begins as a food-stall assistant and after many years working in the teak forests, he manages to buy a timber yard of his own. If you enjoy this novel, don’t miss the Ibis Trilogy, about the opium trade in China and India.

By Amitav Ghosh,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Glass Palace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The International Bestseller from the Man Booker Prize shortlisted author

'An absorbing story of a world in transition' JM Coetzee

'A Doctor Zhivago for the Far East' The Independent

Rajkumar is only another boy, helping on a market stall in the dusty square outside the royal palace, when the British force the Burmese King, Queen and all the Court into exile. He is rescued by the far-seeing Chinese merchant, and with him builds up a logging business in upper Burma. But haunted by his vision of the Royal Family, he journeys to the obscure town in India where they have…


Book cover of Exodus: A Novel of Israel

M.H. Sargent Author Of Seven Days From Sunday

From my list on take you to a place you’ve never been with memorable characters.

Who am I?

I had been a long-time screenwriter in March of 2003 when the US invaded Iraq with overwhelming air power, and the TV news showed footage of the “shock and awe.” But I remember thinking, what is it like for the Iraqi people? Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, your country is at war. What is your life now like? Seeking to focus on an ordinary Iraqi family caught up in the war, I soon realized it was too layered for a spec screenplay and wrote it as a novel. It was the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had. 

M.H.'s book list on take you to a place you’ve never been with memorable characters

M.H. Sargent Why did M.H. love this book?

Set at the end of WWII, when the UN authorized the founding of the State of Israel, I thoroughly enjoyed the merging of historical facts with fictional characters to depict the birth of a nation from the Jewish point of view.

I loved the diverse characters, including an American gentile female nurse and teenage Jewish children orphaned during the war as they settled in a hostile land.

It was eye-opening to see what it means to be constantly under attack, on the one hand, fighting militants physically and, on the other hand, fighting various countries politically in order to be acknowledged worldwide.

I also love that the author gives me an authentic look at the behind-the-scenes decision-making by British officials during this chaotic time. 

By Leon Uris,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Exodus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Passionate summary of the inhuman treatment of the Jewish people in Europe, of the exodus in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to Palestine, and of the triumphant founding of the new Israel.”—The New York Times

Exodus is an international publishing phenomenon—the towering novel of the twentieth century's most dramatic geopolitical event.  Leon Uris magnificently portrays the birth of a new nation in the midst of enemies—the beginning of an earthshaking struggle for power.  Here is the tale that swept the world with its fury: the story of an American nurse, an Israeli freedom fighter caught up in a glorious, heartbreaking,…


Book cover of The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher

Carl F. Nathan Author Of An Arrow's ARC: Journey of a Physician-Scientist

From my list on a life in science or medicine.

Who am I?

Growing up, I experienced “otherness.” My family was hard up amidst affluence. Typecast as Jewish, where that was a rarity, we were met with suspicion and unease. Being a woman held my mother back from her preferred profession. Racism was rampant; my growing appreciation of it and efforts to intervene added to “otherness.”  My childhood was shadowed by illness, including my mother’s cancer. These influences drew me to medicine and science. Both are a way to overcome “otherness” and to protect one’s family, even as my sense of family expanded. Medicine forges extraordinary bonds between doctor and patient. Science brings people together from diverse backgrounds to share goals. These connections make meaningful stories. 

Carl's book list on a life in science or medicine

Carl F. Nathan Why did Carl love this book?

This collection of essays was perhaps the first and most successful attempt by a physician-scientist to share a love of so many areas of science and medicine with such a wide audience with such sparkling prose. Indeed, he was called a poet.

Thomas published each essay first in the world’s premier medical journal—The New England Journal of Medicine—but the collection went far beyond a medical audience and won a National Book Award.

I loved that Thomas smashed the glass walls that divide one area of science from another and that divide a seemingly esoteric profession from the public. You can practically hear glass tinkling.

By Lewis Thomas,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Lives of a Cell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Elegant, suggestive, and clarifying, Lewis Thomas's profoundly humane vision explores the world around us and examines the complex interdependence of all things.  Extending beyond the usual limitations of biological science and into a vast and wondrous world of hidden relationships, this provocative book explores in personal, poetic essays to topics such as computers, germs, language, music, death, insects, and medicine.  Lewis Thomas writes, "Once you have become permanently startled, as I am, by the realization that we are a social species, you tend to keep an eye out for the pieces of evidence that this is, by and large, good…


Book cover of Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001

Hugh Wilford Author Of America's Great Game: The CIA's Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East

From my list on history about the CIA.

Who am I?

I'm a British-born American historian, currently residing in Long Beach, California. I’ve published three books on the CIA, lectured about it for the Great Courses, and am now writing The CIA: An Imperial History for Basic Books, due to appear in 2023. Why spies? I’ve always loved spy novels and movies but my historical interest was piqued years ago when I stumbled across the weird story of how the CIA secretly funded various American artists and writers in the so-called Cultural Cold War. Decades on, I’m still fascinated by the subject: there’s so much human drama involved, and it’s a great lens through which to examine recent American and world history.

Hugh's book list on history about the CIA

Hugh Wilford Why did Hugh love this book?

Taking the story from the endgame of the Cold War to the dawn of the War on Terror is this extraordinary book on the rise of Islamist terrorism and the CIA’s efforts to defeat it prior to 9/11. Coll’s research, based on interviews with a vast range of senior officials, is dazzling, yet it never overwhelms a narrative that combines human interest and geopolitical sweep seamlessly. No less impressive is his accomplishment in documenting not just the U.S. and Afghan perspectives but the Saudi and Pakistani as well, all in the same painstaking detail. If this whets the appetite for more of the same, Coll’s Directorate S resumes his account of the intelligence wars in Afghanistan, providing necessary background to understanding the failure of the U.S. occupation there.

By Steve Coll,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Ghost Wars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize

The explosive, New York Times bestselling first-hand account of America's secret history in Afghanistan

Prize-winning journalist Steve Coll has spent years reporting from the Middle East, accessed previously classified government files and interviewed senior US officials and foreign spymasters. Here he gives the full inside story of the CIA's covert funding of an Islamic jihad against Soviet forces in Afghanistan, explores how this sowed the seeds of bn Laden's rise, traces how he built his global network and brings to life the dramatic battles within the US government over national security. Above all, he…


Book cover of The Old Drift

Eugen Bacon Author Of Mage of Fools

From my list on afro-centric speculative fiction from Africa.

Who am I?

I am an African Australian writer and have a deep passion for black people's stories. I write across genres and forms, and my award-winning works are mostly Afrocentric. I have a master's degree in distributed computer systems, with distinction, a master's degree in creative writing, and a PhD in creative writing. I am especially curious about unique voices in black speculative fiction in transformative stories of culture, diversity, climate change, writing the other, and betwixt. I am an author of several novels and fiction collections, and a finalist in the 2022 World Fantasy Award. I was announced in the honor list of the 2022 Otherwise Fellowships for ‘doing exciting work in gender and speculative fiction’.

Eugen's book list on afro-centric speculative fiction from Africa

Eugen Bacon Why did Eugen love this book?

Namwali Serpell’s The Old Drift is a cross-genre book that addresses matters of colonialism and a future Africa with brashness and philosophy. Its subversive text is far-reaching in poignant fiction imbued with intimacy and cultural convergence. The story pays special attention to mothers and children, the importance of identity, and the intense need we have as humans to belong.  

By Namwali Serpell,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Old Drift as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A dazzling debut, establishing Namwali Serpell as a writer on the world stage.”—Salman Rushdie, The New York Times Book Review
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Dwight Garner, The New York Times • The New York Times Book Review • Time • NPR • The Atlantic • BuzzFeed • Tordotcom • Kirkus Reviews • BookPage

WINNER OF: The Arthur C. Clarke Award • The Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award • The Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Fiction • The Windham-Campbell Prizes for Fiction

1904. On the banks of the Zambezi River, a few miles from the…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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