99 books like God's Hotel

By Victoria Sweet,

Here are 99 books that God's Hotel fans have personally recommended if you like God's Hotel. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants

Hugh Warwick Author Of Cull of the Wild: Killing in the Name of Conservation

From my list on animals and nature.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always loved animals—my adopted parents were not particularly interested, but when I met my biological mother in my mid-30s, I found out where it came from! That innate passion has driven my life. Writers like Jane Goodall were the gatekeepers—showing me the way forward and giving me permission to study and care. We need to learn more about nonhuman animals and the ecosystems that we share to better understand how to redress the damage we have caused. And while facts are important, stories are even more so. Each of these authors manages to weave both together with such great skill.

Hugh's book list on animals and nature

Hugh Warwick Why did Hugh love this book?

I have guru-phobia, so I had avoided this book because so many people I knew were declaring it one of the best books ever and that Robin Wall Kimmerer was wonderful. Stupid, right?! But then I read it and could understand.

More than reading and listening to it, I met the author at a literary festival and was even more impressed by her gentle wisdom. She writes about the importance of reciprocity—about the rest of life being just as important as we are. Her work merges wonderfully with Jane Goodall’s, and I would recommend reading them in tandem. 

By Robin Wall Kimmerer,

Why should I read it?

48 authors picked Braiding Sweetgrass as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Called the work of "a mesmerizing storyteller with deep compassion and memorable prose" (Publishers Weekly) and the book that, "anyone interested in natural history, botany, protecting nature, or Native American culture will love," by Library Journal, Braiding Sweetgrass is poised to be a classic of nature writing. As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer asks questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces indigenous teachings that consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take "us on a journey that is…


Book cover of The House of God

Cassandra Arnold Author Of Beyond Borders: Reflections from the Humanitarian Frontline

From my list on becoming the doctor your patients need you to be.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a doctor who is lucky enough to have worked in many countries with many people. I wanted to do this ever since I read Albert Sweitzer’s biography when I was about thirteen. I enrolled in medicine as a single parent in my thirties, then built up experience in emergency departments, pediatrics, obstetrics, remote area locum work, and a year in a hospice before beginning my career overseas. Being a doctor was, at one and the same time, exhilarating and terrifying, heartbreaking and absolutely filled with joy. The more I was able to connect to my patients, the more I loved every moment of my work. I hope the books on this list will give that same gift to you.

Cassandra's book list on becoming the doctor your patients need you to be

Cassandra Arnold Why did Cassandra love this book?

Reading this novel as a junior doctor was like eating chocolate-coated, barbed wire. I was shocked, appalled, and outraged. I laughed. I cried. I wanted to stop and throw it away across the room. And yet, I remember it decades later. A book I will never forget.

Since then, there have been blogs and websites and many more recent similar stories of life as a recent graduate, but this one covers the same message that I needed so much. It is about caring as much as diagnosis. Being a doctor means relating to people first and illness second.

By Samuel Shem,

Why should I read it?

5 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 Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present

Brian Elliott Author Of White Coat Ways: A History of Medical Traditions and Their Battle with Progress

From my list on medical history that changes medical perspective.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a physician, medicine is my job. But along the way, I wondered how medicine got to where it is now–like really wondered. I wondered to the point that I was reading the original treatises written by 18th-century physicians. I started publishing research on medical history and giving presentations at medical conferences. I’d like to think this helps me be a better doctor by broadening my perspective on the healthcare industry. But at the very least, I’ve found these books enjoyable and compelling. I hope you enjoy them, too!

Brian's book list on medical history that changes medical perspective

Brian Elliott Why did Brian love this book?

Healthcare is delivered by people who are sometimes subject to biases or prejudices, and this book is a vivid and extraordinarily researched account of how horrible it is when these biases and prejudices go unchecked.

However, what really hit hard for me was that this book is only half about medical history. The last part of this book discusses research practices and biases that are in effect today.

As a physician, this book was imperative to better understand the historical and contemporary issues involving race and medicine. 

By Harriet A. Washington,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Medical Apartheid as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER • The first full history of Black America’s shocking mistreatment as unwilling and unwitting experimental subjects at the hands of the medical establishment. No one concerned with issues of public health and racial justice can afford not to read this masterful book.

"[Washington] has unearthed a shocking amount of information and shaped it into a riveting, carefully documented book." —New York Times

From the era of slavery to the present day, starting with the earliest encounters between Black Americans and Western medical researchers and the racist pseudoscience that resulted, Medical Apartheid details the ways…


Book cover of Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal

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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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?

Deepak Chopra says, “I recommend this book highly to everyone.” Yes, Deepak Chopra, I agree! This is an oldie but oh-so-goodie.

Dr. Rachel Remen is a remarkable woman—a long-term chronic illness survivor, author, and doctor. She believes stories heal, and boy oh boy, she’s chock full of wisdom. This book is a swift and satisfying read, presenting life lessons in a series of brief chapters—different accounts from different patients. Dr. Remen’s winning writing style shines sparkles of truth through every single one.

By Rachel Naomi Remen,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Kitchen Table Wisdom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"I recommend this book highly to everyone." --Deepak Chopra, M.D.

This special updated version of the New York Times-bestseller, Kitchen Table Wisdom, addresses the same spiritual issues that made the original a bestseller: suffering, meaning, love, faith, and miracles.

"Despite the awesome powers of technology, many of us still do not live very well," says Dr. Rachel Remen. "We may need to listen to one another's stories again." Dr. Remen, whose unique perspective on healing comes from her background as a physician, a professor of medicine, a therapist, and a long-term survivor of chronic illness, invites us to listen from…


Book cover of The Way to Love: The Last Meditations of Anthony De Mello

Sonia Frontera Author Of Relationship Solutions: Effective Strategies to Heal Your Heart and Create the Happiness You Deserve

From my list on freeing you from the pain of a toxic relationship.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sonia Frontera is a divorce lawyer with a heart. She is the survivor of a toxic marriage who is now happily remarried. Sonia integrates the wisdom acquired through her personal journey, her professional experience and the lessons of the world’s leading transformational teachers and translates it into guidance that is insightful and practical. Through the years, Sonia has supported domestic violence survivors as an advocate, speaker, and empowerment trainer.

Sonia's book list on freeing you from the pain of a toxic relationship

Sonia Frontera Why did Sonia love this book?

I am a self-help junkie and have read a ridiculous amount of books about relationships. But if I had to pick one, this would be it. This little book reveals the secret to peace in your relationships… and it’s not what you think. Anthony de Mello teaches that love is found only in fearlessness and freedom. He provides a simple formula for releasing the angst caused by unhealthy attachments to our partners, so we can feel joyful and complete in their company or on our own. Anthony de Mello’s wisdom has been instrumental in my personal healing and provided the foundation for my own teachings. 

By Anthony De Mello,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Way to Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the international bestselling author of Awareness, a pocket-sized guide that will bring you to new levels of spiritual awareness.

The Way To Love contains the final flowering of Anthony de Mello's thought, and  in it he grapples with the ultimate question of  love. In thirty-one meditations, he implores his  readers with his usual pithiness to break through  illusion, the great obstacle to love. "Love  springs from awareness," de Mello insists, saying  that it is only when we see others as they are  that we can begin to really love. But not only must  we seek to see others with…


Book cover of Being with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Fearlessness in the Presence of Death

Anne-Marie Keppel Author Of Death Nesting: Ancient & Modern Death Doula Techniques, Mindfulness Practices and Herbal Care

From my list on love through deathcare.

Why am I passionate about this?

To care for the dying is not only strenuous physically, emotionally, and spiritually, but it is a challenge in self-care and a constant call to remain non-judgmental. As someone who struggled financially as a single mother for many years, I discovered that compassion and empathy were needed not only for my children but also myself—indeed self-love was at the core of all. Working with the elderly in residential care, in hospice, and with individuals and families I now teach community deathcare with an edge of social activism to help the vulnerable feel safe while living and while dying.

Anne-Marie's book list on love through deathcare

Anne-Marie Keppel Why did Anne-Marie love this book?

This book rattled and awakened me in a place that seemed taboo to tickle. Studying death and dying can be driven by ego (what are you going to wear at your funeral? Do you have your music picked out?) Not to say there is not some good in the ego-driven work-- contemplating that can be done no matter what angle you study. However, Being With Dying cuts to the chase. If you feel ready to dismantle your illusion of living forever (or, if think that you’ll only die on your own terms, but only when you’re ready) this book is for you. 

By Joan Halifax,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Being with Dying as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Buddhist teacher draws from her years of experience in caring for the dying to provide inspiring lessons on how to face death with courage and compassion
 
The Buddhist approach to death can be of great benefit to people of all backgrounds—as has been demonstrated by Joan Halifax’s decades of work with the dying and their caregivers. A Zen priest and a world-renowned pioneer in care of the dying, Halifax has helped countless people face death with courage and trained caregivers in compassioante end-of-life care.

In this book, Halifax offers lessons from dying people and caregivers, as well as guided…


Book cover of Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul

Camille Sapara Barton Author Of Tending Grief: Embodied Rituals for Holding Our Sorrow and Growing Cultures of Care in Community

From my list on collective grief society and web of life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by altered states of consciousness and social change since childhood. Growing up in an esoteric home, I was immersed in a spiritual worldview, but this didn’t provide guidance on how to deal with grief or address social challenges. I sense that noticing and tending to the various forms of collective grief we are immersed in is a crucial place to begin. As a writer, artist, and somatic practitioner, I aim to create care networks to support liveable futures and world(s) where as many beings as possible can live with safety, dignity, and belonging. 

Camille's book list on collective grief society and web of life

Camille Sapara Barton Why did Camille love this book?

I love this book because it helped me to understand how death-phobic the Western world is and why grief, death, and mourning are currently taboo topics for many. I read the book shortly after the death of a family member, and it helped me to make sense of my feelings and give myself permission to be with them.

I found the book very hard to put down. With poetic wisdom, Stephen Jenkinson outlines how little space there is to consider what a good death is, especially in the context of Western medicine. One of the biggest messages I gained from this book is that we must embrace grief and death in order to embody our ethics and, ultimately, live and die well. 

By Stephen Jenkinson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Die Wise does not offer seven steps for coping with death. It does not suggest ways to make dying easier. It pours no honey to make the medicine go down. Instead, with lyrical prose, deep wisdom, and stories from his two decades of working with dying people and their families, Stephen Jenkinson places death at the center of the page and asks us to behold it in all its painful beauty. Die Wise teaches the skills of dying, skills that have to be learned in the course of living deeply and well. Die Wise is for those who will fail…


Book cover of The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

Cassandra Arnold Author Of Beyond Borders: Reflections from the Humanitarian Frontline

From my list on becoming the doctor your patients need you to be.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a doctor who is lucky enough to have worked in many countries with many people. I wanted to do this ever since I read Albert Sweitzer’s biography when I was about thirteen. I enrolled in medicine as a single parent in my thirties, then built up experience in emergency departments, pediatrics, obstetrics, remote area locum work, and a year in a hospice before beginning my career overseas. Being a doctor was, at one and the same time, exhilarating and terrifying, heartbreaking and absolutely filled with joy. The more I was able to connect to my patients, the more I loved every moment of my work. I hope the books on this list will give that same gift to you.

Cassandra's book list on becoming the doctor your patients need you to be

Cassandra Arnold Why did Cassandra love this book?

I absolutely loved the simplicity and clarity of this approach.

It’s almost the opposite end of the spectrum to my first selection and a method that I found more and more common over the years of my career: checklists and flowcharts for the serious and frequent presentations in the Emergency Department, in the operating theatre, and at Triage. And Gawande was right: they did and do save lives.

More generally, I used this process all the time when I was training other staff in my posts with Doctors Without Borders. Preventing and avoiding problems with fail-safe systems is so much better than trying to solve them after they occur!

By Atul Gawande,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In his latest bestseller, Atul Gawande shows what the simple idea of the checklist reveals about the complexity of our lives and how we can deal with it.

The modern world has given us stupendous know-how. Yet avoidable failures continue to plague us in health care, government, the law, the financial industry—in almost every realm of organized activity. And the reason is simple: the volume and complexity of knowledge today has exceeded our ability as individuals to properly deliver it to people—consistently, correctly, safely. We train longer, specialize more, use ever-advancing technologies, and still we fail. Atul Gawande makes a…


Book cover of And a Time to Die: How American Hospitals Shape the End of Life

Ed Cohen Author Of On Learning to Heal: or, What Medicine Doesn't Know

From my list on learning to heal.

Why am I passionate about this?

I earned a Ph.D. in Modern Thought from Stanford and have been an award-winning professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies for over three decades. I've also lived with Crohn’s Disease for more than 50 years. At the intersection of these two experiences, I developed a therapeutic practice oriented towards those with chronic and life-threatening illnesses called Healing Counsel. As both a teacher and a counsellor, I ask people to reconsider the ways they make sense of their experiences. I try to assist people to open up new possibilities for healing, not only as individuals, but also as societies, maybe even as a species, or perhaps even as planetary beings.

Ed's book list on learning to heal

Ed Cohen Why did Ed love this book?

Many people imagine that healing and dying are antithetical. However, this is not necessarily so. Sometimes, in the right circumstances, death can be healing not just for the person whose life is ending but for those who love them. 

Unfortunately, American hospital care does not usually facilitate such graceful transitions.  Kaufman, a medical anthropologist, compiles case histories of end-of-life care in medical facilities in order to help us understand the complexities that face us in these contexts. Since most Americans now die in some kind of medical institution, this book should be required reading for everyone—before it happens to us.

By Sharon R. Kaufman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked And a Time to Die as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Over the past thirty years, the way Americans experience death has been dramatically altered. The advent of medical technology capable of sustaining life without restoring health has changed where, when, and how we die. In this revelatory study, medical anthropologist Sharon R. Kaufman examines the powerful center of those changes: the hospital, where most Americans die today. She deftly links the experiences of patients and families, the work of hospital staff, and the ramifications of institutional bureaucracy to show the invisible power of the hospital system in shaping death and our individual experience of it. In doing so, Kaufman also…


Book cover of At the Will of the Body: Reflections on Illness

Ed Cohen Author Of On Learning to Heal: or, What Medicine Doesn't Know

From my list on learning to heal.

Why am I passionate about this?

I earned a Ph.D. in Modern Thought from Stanford and have been an award-winning professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies for over three decades. I've also lived with Crohn’s Disease for more than 50 years. At the intersection of these two experiences, I developed a therapeutic practice oriented towards those with chronic and life-threatening illnesses called Healing Counsel. As both a teacher and a counsellor, I ask people to reconsider the ways they make sense of their experiences. I try to assist people to open up new possibilities for healing, not only as individuals, but also as societies, maybe even as a species, or perhaps even as planetary beings.

Ed's book list on learning to heal

Ed Cohen Why did Ed love this book?

This classic text by medical sociologist Arthur Frank was written in the wake of two life-threatening events: a heart attack at age 39 and a cancer diagnosis a year later. 

Frank draws on both his scholarly and personal experiences to guide others who find themselves in similar circumstances. He helps us understand that when we place ourselves in medicine’s hands, we also subject ourselves to their ways of knowing. Their stories bleed into our stories, but they are never the same as our stories because what medicine knows as disease is not the same as what we experience as illness. 

Thus, Frank teaches us: “These two stories, the story of medicine taking the body as its territory and the story of learning to wonder at the body itself, can only be told together, because illness is both stories at once.”

By Arthur W Frank,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked At the Will of the Body as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A medical sociologist who has been seriously ill twice (heart attack and cancer) explores his experiences and examines what they taught him about how to live. An important resource for caregivers and patients.

In this deeply affecting memoir, Arthur W. Frank explores the events of illness from within: the transformation from person to patient, the pain, the wonder, and the ceremony of recovery.

To illuminate what illness can teach us about life, Frank draws upon his own encounters with serious illness—a heart attack at age thirty-nine and, a year later, a diagnosis of cancer.

In poignant and clear prose, he…


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