The American Dental Education Association recommends reading for pleasure to prepare for dental school. Whether it be books, newspapers, magazine articles, etc., pleasure reading can help build your overall speed and comprehension, helping you prepare for the amount of material coming your way in dental school.
One of the things I made sure to do in my time off of school is read plenty of books! In undergrad I barely had time to pick up one or two throughout an entire year, and this time around I made sure to try and read one book per month. I even joined a monthly book club through MeetUp to make sure I held myself accountable to that goal, and because some of my reads were so good I just needed the art of discussion to let out all of my thoughts.
Studies have shown that leisure reading has a direct effect on educational outcome, and even increases levels of empathy.
Leisure reading is also scientifically shown to:
-increase speed and comprehension of dense material when it comes to studying
-improve vocabulary and general knowledge
-encourage life goals
-melt away stress
-keep the brain young
Read more about the power of leisure reading here!
Here is my list of must-read books:
When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi – This incredible Pulitzer Prize finalist and New York Times Bestselling non-fiction novel should be read by every single person, whether one is in the healthcare profession or not. A neurosurgeon, plagued by the question: “what is the meaning of life?” for as long as he can remember, is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Paul takes you through his life through anecdotes, painful recounts, and raw contemplations. You can feel the outpour of his pain and his attempt to grasp time. This book left me thinking about Paul’s words, ideas, and story for weeks after finishing his novel.
Get it on Amazon here: When Breath Becomes Air
Complications: A Surgeon’s Note’s on an Imperfect Science, Atul Gawande – As a future healthcare professional, I am always interested in books that discuss science and medicine. Atul Gawande is one of my favorite authors and his books are the type that spill this priceless life advice between the lines of his medical stories.
“In gripping accounts of true cases, surgeon Atul Gawande explores the power and the limits of medicine, offering an unflinching view from the scalpel’s edge. Complications lays bare a science not in its idealized form but as it actually is―uncertain, perplexing, and profoundly human. Complications is a 2002 National Book Award Finalist for Nonfiction.”
Get it on Amazon here: Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science
In Cold Blood, Truman Capote – “On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues. As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.” This is one of my favorite books, and one that I have read multiple times. Reading it again made me realize just how brilliantly, and captivatingly, a horrendous murder was accounted. If you are into shows and podcasts like Serial, Making a Murderer, Up and Vanished, Who Killed Jon Benet?, and so on… this will be an incredible read. Truman Capote and Harper Lee truly were ahead of their time on their creation of an investigation recount.
Get it on Amazon here: In Cold Blood
Razor Girl, Carl Hiassen: This mystery novel is HILARIOUS, WITTY, CRAZY, and PAGE TURNING. Yes, I needed to write those adjectives in all caps because this book was unlike anything I’ve ever read. It was quite out-of-the-norm for what I usually pick out at a bookstore, but I am so glad I took a risk. I have also heard that this book is one of Hiaasen’s lesser comedic ones, and if this doesn’t compare to his other novels, then I am so excited to read more from this author! Highly recommend. “Merry Mansfield, the eponymous Razor Girl, specializes in kidnapping for the mob. Her preferred method is rear-ending her targets and asking them for a scandalous ride. Her latest mark is the owner of a private beach renourishment company who has delivered substandard sand to a mob hotel. But there’s just one problem: Razor Girl hits the wrong guy. Instead, she ends up with Lane Coolman, talent manager for Buck Nance, the star of a reality TV show about a family of Cajun rooster farmers. Buck Nance, left to perform standup at a Key West bar without his handler, makes enough off-color jokes to incite a brawl, then flees for his life and vanishes. Now a routine promotional appearance has become a missing persons case. And Andrew Yancy, disgraced detective-turned-health inspector, is on the job. The Razor Girl may be the key to Yancy’s future…”
Get it on Amazon here: Razor Girl: A novel
Yes Please, Amy Poehler: This New York Times Bestselling modern biography is everything you would expect it to be and more from Amy Poehler: witty, hilarious, charming, yet hopeful, inspiring, wise. Recommended for a light, joyful read – especially for young women.
Get it on Amazon here: Yes Please
The Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr – “From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.” This 2015 Pulitzer Prize winner in fiction is such a beautiful read. It took me a little longer to get through this novel because of its heaviness and intricacies – but those exact elements are what made the story fascinating.
Get it on Amazon here: All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel
The Alchemist, Paulo Coehlo – This is my favorite book, hands down. I have read it so many times and have taken a highlighter and pen to it to the point that my copy looks more like a journal than a book! This is a story of a boy, Santiago, who decides to follow his “personal legend”, or life dream. It is a simple story, but between the lines lie so many intricate and valuable life lessons. Reading The Alchemist, for me, gives me the same peace of mind as meditating; this book is a creative gift to all of mankind. The Alchemist is an international bestseller, has been translated into over 70 languages, and is one of the most best-selling books in history. It has been acclaimed by almost every best-seller list, celebrities like Oprah, Will Smith, Pharell, and publishers like Harper Collins, who said that: “reading The Alchemist was like getting up at dawn and seeing the sun rise while the rest of the world still slept.”
Get it on Amazon here: The Alchemist
Miracles Now: 108 Life-Changing Tools for Less Stress, More Flow, and Finding Your True Purpose, Gabrielle Bernstein – “Let’s be real for a sec. Most of us don’t have time for an hour of yoga or 30 minutes of meditation every day. We’re overwhelmed as it is. That’s why I’ve handpicked 108 simple techniques to combat our most common problems—stress, burnout, frustration, jealousy, resentment. The stuff we have to deal with on a daily basis. This book is designed so that you can achieve peace and experience miracles now. Inspired by some of the greatest spiritual teachings, these practical, moment-to-moment tools will help you eliminate blocks and live with more ease. They’re powerful, life-changing meditations and principles, modernized and broken down into easy-to-digest techniques to fit your lifestyle.” – Gabby
Gabby is one of my favorite authors when it comes to self-help, and really helping someone find balance and happiness in their lives. Her books, YouTube channel, social media accounts, meditations, interviews with Oprah, and speeches have helped me become who I am today. She really is a powerful and kind leader who has changed my life.
Whether you are “spiritual” or not, this book is a series of simple tools that you can use every day to help you tear away from negativing thinking patterns, aggression, being down and stressed (and more!) – and they seriously work! All of them. She is my guru. With this book, I read one chapter, which is 2-3 pages long, every day when I woke up. My days became lighter by keeping her tools and advice in mind, and eventually I transformed. This is for you if you are looking for a positive transformation in your life, career, relationships, and most importantly state of mind, peace, and joy.
Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipies from London’s Ottolenghi, Yotom Ottolenghi – Okay, so I had to throw the most amazing cookbook i’ve been using all year on the list! I LOVE this book, and this is coming from someone who is a carnivore and loves her meats. Each recipe i’ve tried comes with a wonderful story about the culture and creation behind it, and has been so delicious. This book will forever be on my “kitchen shelf”. “Plenty is a must-have collection of 120 vegetarian recipes featuring exciting flavors and fresh combinations that will delight readers and eaters looking for a sparkling new take on vegetables. Yotam’s food inspiration comes from his Mediterranean background and his unapologetic love of ingredients. Not a vegetarian himself, his approach to vegetable dishes is wholly original and innovative, based on freshness and seasonality, and drawn from the diverse food cultures represented in London. A vibrant photo accompanies every recipe in this visually stunning book. Essential for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike!”
Get it on Amazon here:Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi
Here are the books that are currently on my 2017 reading list:
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry – by: Neil deGrasse Tyson
The #1 New York Times Bestseller: The essential universe, from our most celebrated and beloved astrophysicist. What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson. But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in tasty chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day. While you wait for your morning coffee to brew, for the bus, the train, or a plane to arrive, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry will reveal just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the Big Bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics, and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe.
*Currently reading.* Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, the #1 New York Times bestseller from Colson Whitehead, a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave’s adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South.
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape…
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood – by: Trevor Noah
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
Michiko Kakutani, New York Times • Newsday • Esquire • NPR • Booklist
Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.
The Handmaid’s Tale – By: Margaret Atwood
You might know The Handmaid’s Tale because of the show on Hulu, which was created after this book. I started watching the show and was immediately drawn in because of the actors, suspense, and most importantly the horrifically well done story line. Even though the synopsis sounded quite strange to me at first, I am so glad I took a risk and dove into Atwood’s dystopian world. Many people say that if you are a woman, you need to read or watch this disturbing story. I, however, would recommend it to everyone.
The summary: After a staged terrorist attack kills the President and most of Congress, the government is deposed and taken over by the oppressive and all controlling Republic of Gilead. Offred, now a Handmaid serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife, can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name. Despite the danger, Offred learns to navigate the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life in breaking the rules in hopes of ending this oppression.
New York Times Bestseller – In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be “positive” all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.
For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. “F**k positivity,” Mark Manson says. “Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it.” In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected modern society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.
Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited—”not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault.” Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them.
Tell me about your reads! Do you have any must-reads you suggest? Have you read any of the ones i’ve listed? Leave me a comment below!
Denthusiast.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.