Reading list & other fun stuff


Originally intended for medical students……

The Faculty is very pleased to be asked by the GP Student Society in the Exeter Medical School  to suggest a general-practice reading list for medical students, as they do not have one at present. The Faculty is pleased to help.

Reading is how we exercise our minds and is especially necessary for general practice,  which is the broadest branch of medicine and the  one with the  longest and deepest relationships with  patients, so it needs the widest perspectives  to understand it.

This is a short list provided  as an introduction,  so other texts can be added. It does not cover the medicine of diseases,  assuming that these are learnt during the medical course. 

Tamar Faculty Reading List

This book is all about the life we don’t see with the naked eye. Did you know for instance that human breast milk contains a variety of oligosaccharides that feed specific symbiotic gut bacteria and therefore help populate the new-born’s gut with a healthy flora….

Ed Yong gives us a superb insight into this rapidly developing field, looking at the way bacteria shape our lives and life in general. It has done more to change my antibiotic prescribing practice than anything else I have read. John Fox.

About a man who is married in his 30s, in the 1930s in Denmark. His wife is an artist as is he. He identifies as a woman and him and his wife journey through his transition together. The movie shows how this eventually affects their marriage despite staying together throughout. It also touches on discrimination and how this was managed as “insanity” in the 1930s. It’s based on a true story.

Jan Mamurekli.

Dance Psychologists look at questions such as:

Are humans born to dance?

Does the way you move your body change the way you think? 

Will dancing make people happier? 

Can dancing put people in to a trance-like state? 

Does dancing make people healthier? 

How do dancers remember so many dance routines? 

Why don’t dancers get dizzy? 

Peter Lovatt is a Reader in Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, where he carries out research in Dance Psychology.  One of his current research projects looks at the effects of dancing on the symptoms of Parkinson’s. 

For more fascinating stuff have a look on his website 

Dr Peter Lovatt

Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy argues that “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can boost feelings of confidence, and might have an impact on our chances for success.

Power Poses TED talk.

Even if medical tests cannot explain your pain or tiredness or disability, it does not lessen your suffering. The pain of medically unexplained illness is every bit as real as any other and, if anything, is multiplied by the lack of understanding.

​Please find attached two poems which I find quite useful when looking at consultations.

Firstly Snake, by DH Lawrence – when impetuous behaviour ruins the doctor patient relationship.

Secondly, ‘This be the verse’ by Phillip Larkin, for those instances when you find generations of one family on antidepressants/who are all alcoholics/ who are all anxious/ who are all overweight etc ……

And lastly, a link to the death of Abdulhamid Hodja – the lovely Imam from Birds without Wings by Louis de Bernieres, to remind trainees to look for renal function in patient with LUTS in case there is Chronic hydronephrosis.

Before I Say Goodbye by Ruth Picardie – newspaper columns and correspondence of her life while dying from cancer, leaving behind a young family. Honest, unpretentious and very moving

Because Cowards get Cancer too, by John Diamond – similar to Ruth Picardie’s book, but not quite as personally heartwarming

The Bad Doctor by Ian Williams – graphic novel snapshot of a GPs life – quite funny, easy reading

Bad Medicine – Ben Goldacre

Films – Patch Adams has to be on there….

Brené Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. A talk to share.

The Power of Vulnerability

The Plague is a novel by Albert Camus, published in 1947, that tells the story from the point of view of an unknown narrator of a plague sweeping the French Algerian city of Oran. The novel presents a snapshot of life in Oran as seen through the author’s distinctive style. Essential reading for these strange times with an ultimately positive view of the human condition.

They’re not metal detectors, they’re detectorists. Misfit friends Lance and Andy comb the fields of Danebury for hidden treasure and a change of fortune.

The most ‘zen’ TV series you are ever likely to watch. Dip into it if things are getting to you and marvel at the hidden gems in this absolute classic.