Stranger Than Fiction

Who wants to be the next Atul Gawande? Everyone. Ahead, six titles from local doctors that are worth a spot on your summer reading list.


Photo by Olga Khvan

What to Read:
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
By Bessel van der Kolk

Who Should Read It: Anyone who has lived life to the fullest, and has the scars—mental and physical—to prove it.

What You Will Learn: In this heavy read, Bessel van der Kolk, founder of the Trauma Center in Brookline, outlines how physical and mental anguish can affect the brain’s physiology, and explores treatments proven to encourage healing. Van der Kolk’s mission goes beyond self-help: “Trauma breeds further trauma,” he has said in interviews. “Hurt people hurt other people.”

What to Read:
The Mediterranean Zone: Unleash the Power of the World’s Healthiest Diet
By Barry Sears

Who Should Read It: The diet-weary.

What You Will Learn: Barry Sears became the original low-carb king in the mid-’90s when he published Enter the Zone: A Dietary Road Map. In his new book, Marblehead-based Sears adds a Mediterranean twist, emphasizing foods like fresh fish and vegetables to increase intake of omega-3 fatty acids (which decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke) and polyphenols (which may help prevent certain cancers and cardiovascular diseases).

What to Read:
The Diabetes Reset: Avoid It. Control It. Even Reverse It. A Doctor’s Scientific Program
By George King

Who Should Read It: Everyone (nearly 30 percent of people who have diabetes are undiagnosed).

What You Will Learn: Joslin Diabetes expert George King’s book turns the latest scientific research on diabetes into a course of action for pre-diabetics or those with type 2 diabetes, offering an eight-step program to help control, and even reverse, the disease. King says that even if you only implement one change, your type 2 diabetes can improve.

What to Read:
The Truth About Men and Sex: Intimate Secrets from the Doctor’s Office
By Abraham Morgentaler

Who Should Read It: Men of all ages and the people who love them.

What You Will Learn: Men’s health isn’t just about erectile dysfunction—although there’s plenty of it in this readable guide to the male body by Harvard urologist Abraham Morgentaler, who mixes medical expertise and real-life stories ranging from the technical (erections, penile implants) to the hilarious (dropping trou at a medical conference) for a glimpse into what makes men tick—inside and out.

What to Read:
The Fear Reflex: Five Ways to Overcome It and Trust Your Imperfect Self
By Joseph Shrand

Who Should Read It: The faint of heart.

What You Will Learn: From arachnophobia to acrophobia to aviophobia, fear-based emotions can be imprinted on our brains at any age, according to Harvard psychiatrist Joseph Shrand. In his new book, Shrand offers a resiliency-based approach that shows sufferers how to overcome their phobias through self-acceptance.

What to Read:
Marijuana: The Unbiased Truth about the World’s Most Popular Weed
By Kevin Hill

Who Should Read It: The buzzed and the buzzkills.

What You Will Learn: With marijuana becoming more accepted in both medical and social circles, McLean Hospital’s Kevin Hill uses an evidence-based method to sort out the myths and hype surrounding the popular—and controversial—plant. Thanks to its even-handed approach, the book will be indispensable for our increasingly weed-curious population.