1. Gould, Kathleen Ahern RN, MSN, PhD

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Summer is often a time to relax and rejuvenate. Many of you will take time with family and friends to enjoy the easy cadence of longer days and kinder weather.


As you put aside schedules, papers, and list, please enjoy these books recommended by our staff. Although both are not considered educational titles, they resonate with health professionals on both personal and professional levels.


Every Note Played

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By Lisa Genova


Simon and Schuster, New York


This new release (March 2018) is the work of a well-known author. Lisa Genova shot to international acclaim with her breakout novel "Still Alice." Written by a neuroscientist with a PhD from Harvard, this work is personal and professional. Her grandmother had Alzheimer disease, and although Genova understood the science, she did not know what her grandmother was feeling. Still Alice informed and educated us.


As a gifted writer, she tells not only the story of a person suffering the disease, but also the story of the disease itself. The reader learns about the pathophysiology, but in a way that does not feel like learning.


In Every Note Played, the reader enters the world of a 45-year-old renewed and self-absorbed concert pianist. Richard develops progressive weakness in his right arm and is eventually diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive neurological disease with little treatment and no cure. The steady progression of the disease and everything it takes from Richard set the pace for the story. Along the way, Genova explains who gets ALS. She explains how the disease does not discriminate and shows how families and patients navigate loss and hope.


Genova begins every book with a set of characters and a neurological crisis, then follows what happens to them. She seems ever present and unaware of the events to unfold. She stays within the present and brings the readers along in moment-to-moment detail. She uses the voice and thoughts of her characters vividly; in one haunting line, she shares Richard's private thoughts: "He dares to wonder what part of himself he'll lose next." Richard vacillates between hope and despair, wondering if there will be a breakthrough, a new clinical trial, or something that may at least slow down the progression of the disease.


At the end of the book, Genova invites readers to visit her Web page and donate to ALS ONE.


The book in available in multiple formats. An added bonus is found as the reader listens to the soundtrack on the audio version. If one prefers the book itself, the download is available from Simon and Schuster Audio.


You Can Stop Humming Now: A Doctor's Stories of Life, Death, and In Between


By Damiela Lamas

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Little Brown & Co, Boston, Massachusetts


Daniela Lamas is fascinated by every patient's story. Amid new technology and remarkable advances in medicine, each patient carries different interpretation and assigns different meaning to wellness, illness, and what comes next.


Lamas explores the complex answers to many questions that are common to health care professionals. She listens to patients and families and gains new insights through intimate accounts of their unique experiences.


We all have stories that stay with us and experiences with patients that shape and inform us forever. Often, these stories are shared with colleagues, trusted friends, or strangers. Sometimes the stories bring us great joy and wonderful memories, but at times, they can be haunting.


Lamas is a pulmonary critical care doctor at an academic medical center in Boston. As a young doctor, she approached every patient with excitement about checklist, algorithms, and new knowledge. She recounts meeting complex patients, shares their unique stories, and describes her own journey, the ebb and flow of learning as a member of a team, now treating the patient and not the disease.


She laments about letting a patient return home to die, even when the team wants to continue treatment. She wonders about what medical success really looks like, wondering if every death is a failure and thinking more deeply about what she envisioned success would feel like.


The title is derived from the words of a 28-year-old patient hooked up to lifesaving machines to support his failing heart. He asks her, "Can I stop the humming yet? Later, a grandfather wants to keep all his equipment going, to have 1 more day with his grandson. She gets close to her patients and listens carefully. Her book is a celebration of her patients' lives and a testament to her growing wisdom.


She is currently a pulmonary and critical care fellow at Harvard, where she works at Ariadne Labs, an innovation laboratory headed by Dr Atul Gawande. She has also worked on the ABC News Medical Unit, led by Dr Richard Besser. As a writer, she has been published in, The Boston Globe, and The Atlantic, and she has had numerous pieces published in the New York Times.