10 books like Cutting for Stone

By Abraham Verghese,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Cutting for Stone. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The House of God

By Samuel Shem,

Book cover of The House of God

Though technically a work of loose fiction based on his experiences as an intern, I do not feel it is right to have a list of medical memoirs without The House of God holding down the anchor. Several decades old now, it remains the standard for the delicate space between self-disclosure in medicine and irreverence. Physician writers know it can be hard to thread that particular needle, but Shem does it so well that there is seldom a medical student who comes through training who has not picked up a copy at one point or another. 

The House of God

By Samuel Shem,

Why should I read it?

2 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,…


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

By Oliver Sacks,

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

Emo Phillips once said, “I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this.” But the brain is fascinating, especially when things start going wrong. Oliver Sacks was a brilliant neurologist who wrote about the cases he’d investigated, including a man who was convinced he had an alien leg, a woman who was unable to perceive anything to her left, and a man who was unable to form new memories. The tales are heartbreaking and fascinating and show us the power of the brain and the danger of assuming in absolute truth.

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

By Oliver Sacks,

Why should I read it?

8 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…


When Breath Becomes Air

By Paul Kalanithi,

Book cover of When Breath Becomes Air

My mother gifted me this book after the death of my father, which was a gut-wrenching event for the entire family and which mirrored Kalanithi’s ending. It’s the only nonfiction book on my list, but a very important one. Death is the ultimate disappearance, is it not? And something we all have to come to terms with in myriad ways. This book helps prepare us for the death of others and for our own final disappearance.

When Breath Becomes Air

By Paul Kalanithi,

Why should I read it?

4 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…


It's All in Your Head

By Suzanne O'Sullivan,

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

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.

It's All in Your Head

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…


The Glass Palace

By Amitav Ghosh,

Book cover of The Glass Palace

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.

The Glass Palace

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…


Ghost Wars

By Steve Coll,

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

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.

Ghost Wars

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…


The Old Drift

By Namwali Serpell,

Book cover of The Old Drift

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.  

The Old Drift

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…


The Poisonwood Bible

By Barbara Kingsolver,

Book cover of The Poisonwood Bible

This book would stand out because of the gorgeous prose alone. But when you add in a multi-layered story of an American family torn apart by hubris in the African jungle, you get a true masterpiece. The novel’s premise is provocative—a family of daughters living in post-colonial Africa with a narcissistic father intent on converting the natives to his perverse, non-yielding brand of religion. And as expected, this is a story that is tragic and epic in a way that makes you question the arrogance of humanity in all its iterations. But what makes it especially memorable is how it provokes a grim satisfaction when the four daughters make lives out of the mess of a patriarchal disaster, while having little impact on the beautifully indomitable Africa.

The Poisonwood Bible

By Barbara Kingsolver,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked The Poisonwood Bible as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**NOW INCLUDING THE FIRST CHAPTER OF DEMON COPPERHEAD: THE NEW BARBARA KINGSOLVER NOVEL**

**DEMON COPPERHEAD IS AVAILABLE NOW FOR PRE-ORDER**

An international bestseller and a modern classic, this suspenseful epic of one family's tragic undoing and their remarkable reconstruction has been read, adored and shared by millions around the world.

'Breathtaking.' Sunday Times
'Exquisite.' The Times
'Beautiful.' Independent
'Powerful.' New York Times

This story is told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959.

They carry with them everything they believe they will…


The Joy Luck Club

By Amy Tan,

Book cover of The Joy Luck Club

This multigenerational novel took me from San Francisco to China. It's like a collection of short stories with each story connected. It tells about the lives of four Chinese immigrant women who arrived San Francisco in 1949. They met through their church and once a week gather to play mahjong and talk. They call themselves the Joy Luck Club. Each lady tells their story and the circumstances that brought them to America, sometimes their accounts are brutal yet realistic. It’s a heartfelt novel of mothers and daughters, how generations differ and conflict rises and falls like the ebbing tides. The reason I loved it is because the story can apply to any nationality and any epoch. Ultimately it's about mothers and daughters, their ambitions, disappointments, and ultimately their acceptance.   

The Joy Luck Club

By Amy Tan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'The Joy Luck Club is an ambitious saga that's impossible to read without wanting to call your Mum' Stylist

Discover Amy Tan's moving and poignant tale of immigrant Chinese mothers and their American-born daughters.

In 1949 four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, meet weekly to play mahjong and tell stories of what they left behind in China. United in loss and new hope for their daughters' futures, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club.

Their daughters, who have never heard these stories, think their mothers' advice is irrelevant to their modern American lives - until their own inner…


Dancing in the Glory of Monsters

By Jason Stearns,

Book cover of Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa

The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s civil wars have claimed 5.5 million lives since the mid-1990s, but most people have never heard the stories of those who died. Stearns is an academic who spent years in the DRC researching how and why communities that once lived side by side could descend into brutal violence. This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to better understand how intercommunal conflict can turn neighbors into enemies, ethnicity into a weapon, and school children into genocidal street gangs. I spent two years living in DRC reporting on human rights abuses, and found Stearns’s treatment of his subjects and their personal histories arresting, respectful, and deeply humane. 

Dancing in the Glory of Monsters

By Jason Stearns,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dancing in the Glory of Monsters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Best Book of the Year- The Economist & the Wall Street Journal At the heart of Africa is the Congo, a country the size of Western Europe, bordering nine other nations, that since 1996 has been wracked by a brutal war in which millions have died. In Dancing in the Glory of Monsters, renowned political activist and researcher Jason K. Stearns has written a compelling and deeply-reported narrative of how Congo became a failed state that collapsed into a war of retaliatory massacres. Stearns brilliantly describes the key perpetrators, many of whom he met personally, and highlights the nature…


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