Drop Dead Healthy

Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. JacobsDrop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs was a very interesting read. This book follows A.J. over two years as he works to become the healthiest man in the world. Each chapter focuses on a different body part. The stomach, as you can imagine, shows up quite a few times.

He explores pretty much every health trend out there from a juice cleanse to the caveman workout. He tries the extremes, giving equal emphasis to each without discrimination. His writing is engaging and witty. I often found myself laughing out loud, especially when he was taking a pole dancing class.

Each chapter was devoted to making that organ the healthiest he could. It was interesting to learn more about how the human body functions. I even changed a few of my habits after reading this book.

There were a few chapters I could have done without. I learned a little bit more about A.J. than I was anticipating or wanting to know. Other than that, I really enjoyed reading this.

My friend recommended this author a while back, but I haven’t gotten a chance to read anything by him until now. I was lucky enough to receive an advance reader’s copy to read and review, and I’m certainly glad I did!

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca SklootThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot is the story of Henrietta Lacks, the woman whose cells gave rise to the immortal cell line HeLa. Rebecca Skloot tells the story of Henrietta Lacks and her family right along side the story of the HeLa cells. As we learn more about Henrietta’s life, we learn more about what HeLa cells have contributed to the scientific community.

Henrietta Lacks died from ovarian cancer, but not before some of her tumor cells were removed and grown in culture. Her family never knew her cells lived on and were responsible for so many medical advances including the polio vaccine. Rebecca Skloot not only learned about Henrietta from her family but also taught the Lacks family about HeLa.

I thought this was a wonderfully written book. I didn’t want to put it down once I picked it up. It was fascinating to learn about Henrietta Lacks and her family along with how HeLa cells have impacted the scientific community. I’m so glad Rebecca Skloot went through the effort to get to know the woman behind these cells and help her family understand the impact these cells have had. I would recommend this book to everyone but especially those in the scientific community.

What Patients Taught Me: A Medical Student’s Journey

What Patients Taught Me by Audrey YoungWhat Patients Taught Me by Dr. Audrey Young was an incredible look into medical school rotations. Dr. Young spent her rotations in drastically different places from Seattle hospitals to rural clinics to Africa. Each place had different stories and different people. Each story touched me a different way and gave me insight into what it means to be a doctor.

This book was full of true stories, some I couldn’t even believe happened to real people. But they did. And that is what makes this book so powerful. Everything in it is real. These are real people. Real people who were sick and either made full recoveries or went on to a better place. I cried, and I laughed. It made me feel a wide range of emotions. It was truly invigorating.

I devoured this book and wished I had read it slower so that I could have digested each story more before rushing onto the next one. But it was so captivating that I couldn’t stop. I had to read about the next patient, the next place. I read this in one day, when I knew I definitely should have been studying for my exams.

My pre-med adviser suggested this book to me, and I’m glad she did. It was heartwarming and gave me a picture of what my medical school experience could be and maybe should be. I know I’ll take this book with me when I go on to medical school and read it slower the next time around so that I can let each story engulf me and change me if only slightly.

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