Book club

The Book Club is held three times a year and is open to all members. The Book Club is currently held through Zoom. Paul Mamula is the North Central Chapter Book Club Coordinator. Email Paul at: paulpat (at) pclink (dot) com for Zoom meeting information or to RSVP.

The AMWA Book Club, founded in January 2007, meets 3 times every year on the last Monday of January, April, and September.  Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the book club meetings have been held as virtual events via Zoom. We hope to be able to resume in-person meetings as soon as we can. One need not have read the book to attend.

When meeting in-person we meet at the same 3 rotating central locations:  Egg and I (2550 University Ave, St. Paul), Caribou Coffee (west of Har Mar Mall, 2111 Snelling Ave N, Roseville) OR Mirror of Korea (761 Snelling Ave St. Paul), and La Casita (1625 Perimeter Rd, Roseville).  The January and April meetings are both at 11 a.m.; the September meeting is at 6 p.m.​

At our September dinner meeting, we select books for the upcoming year, although anyone is welcome to suggest a title. Look for announcements in our monthly newsletter.

We usually have lively discussions, but sometimes have the added bonus of having an author present or calling in. We had the honor of having Maryn McKenna (Superbug; Beating Back the Devil) attend two of our book club meetings and Debra Matovic, the wife of author David Matovic, Ticked, call into one meeting (Her husband took ill just before our meeting).

Upcoming AMWA North Central Chapter Book Club selections:

2021

  1. January 25, 2021: Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs by Michael T. Osterholm and Mark Olshaker
    • We will read the second edition (2020), which has a new section about the COVID-19 pandemic. The book is nontechnical and an easy read. It traces many diseases and also includes stories about Michael Osterholm’s life and career.
  1. April 26, 2021: Semicolon: The Past, Present, and Future of a Misunderstood Mark by Cecilia Watson.
    • This book presents a history of the semicolon and is only 179 pages. It contains lots of trivia and fun facts about this punctuation mark. That a semicolon in a law could influence its interpretation is an interesting section in the book.
  1. September 27, 2021: Bad Blood: The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment—James H. Jones
    • The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment is a dark moment in medicine. Physicians deliberately did not treat Black men who had syphilis to document the disease’s long-term effects.

2022

  • January 31, 2022 The End of October by Lawrence Wright. This book is a fictional account of a zoonotic respiratory pandemic that begins during the Hajj in Mecca. The book was published just as the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns were beginning in the US and other countries. The the timing of publication of a novel about a zoonotic-derived pandemic is an interesting coincidence.

Past selections, just for the record:

2020

(1) Monday, January 27, 2020: Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style by Benjamin Dreyer.

(2) Monday, April 27, 2020, 11 a.m. via Zoom: Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Tom Mueller.

(3) Monday, September 28, 2020, 11 a.m., via Zoom: Bad Blood: Secrets and
Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou.

2019

(1) Monday, January 28, 2019: The Written World: The Power of Stories to Shape People, History, Civilization by Martin Puchner.
(2) Monday, April 29, 2019: Blood: An Epic History of Medicine and Commerce by Douglas Starr.
(3) Monday, September 30, 2019: Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance by Atul Gawande.

2018

(1) Monday, January 29, 2018: Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
(2) Monday, April 30, 2018: The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks
(3) Monday, September 24, 2018: A world without “Whom”: The Essential Guide to Language in the Buzzfeed Age by Emmy J. Favilla.

2017

(1) Monday, January 30, 2017: The Rise and Fall of Modern Medicine by James Le Fanu
(2) Monday, April 24, 2017: The Mind Has Mountains: Reflections on Society and Psychiatry by Paul R. McHugh
(3) Monday, September 25, 2017: Interface by George Jewsbury and Neal Stephenson [a novel first published under the pseudonym Stephen Bury]

2016

(1) Monday, January 25, 2016: White Coat, Black Hat: Adventures on the Dark Side of Medicine by Carl Elliott
(2) Monday, April 25, 2016: The Violinist’s Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code by Sam Kean
(3) Monday, September 26, 2016: Ticked: A Medical Miracle, a Friendship, and the Weird World of Tourette Syndrome by James A. Fussell and Jeffrey P. Matovic

2015

(1) Monday, January 26, 2015: Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach
(2) Saturday, April 25, 2015: A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar
(3) Monday, September 28, 2015: Health Care Research Done Right: A Journal Editor Shares Practical Tips and Techniques for High Quality and Efficiency by Kathleen A. Fairman

2014

(1) January 27, 2014: The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
(2) April 26, 2014: The End of Illness by David B. Agus
(3) September 29, 2014: Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss

2013

(1) Monday, January 28: The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean
(2) Monday, April 29: Hippocrates’ Shadow: Secrets from the House of Medicine by David H. Newman
(3) Monday, September 30:  6:30 pm, Caribou Coffee just west of Har Mar (2111 Snelling Ave N, Roseville, MN 55113, 651-636-5655) Your Medical Mind: How to Decide What Is Right for You by Jerome Groopman (see January 28, 2008) and Pamela Hartzband

2012
(1) Monday, January 30: W;t by Margaret Edson
(2) Monday, April 30: Mount Misery by Samuel Shem (pseudonym of psychiatrist Stephen Bergman) (see April 26, 2010)
(3) Monday, September 24: My Own Country: A Doctor’s Story by Abraham Verghese

2011
(1) Monday, January 31: Listening to Prozac: The Landmark Book about Antidepressants and the Remaking of the Self by Peter D. Kramer
(2) Monday, April 25 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
(3) Monday, September 26: Superbug: The Fatal Menace of MRSA by Maryn McKenna

2010
(1) Monday, January 25: Hospital: Man, Woman, Birth, Death, Infinity, Plus Red Tape, Bad Behavior, Money, God, and Diversity on Steroids by Julie Salamon
(2) Monday, April 26: The House of God: The Classic Novel of Life and Death in an American Hospital by Samuel Shem (pseudonym of psychiatrist Stephen Bergman)
(3) Monday, September 27: Final Exam: A Surgeon’s Reflections on Mortality by Pauline W. Chen

2009
(1) Monday, January 26: The Scalpel and the Soul by Allan Hamilton
(2) Monday, April 27: Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks
(3) Monday, September 28: The Cure: How a Father Raised $100 Million—and Bucked the Medical Establishment—in a Quest to Save His Children by Geeta Anand

2008
(1) Monday, January 28: How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman
(2) Monday, April 28: Beating Back the Devil: On the Front Lines with the Disease Detectives of the Epidemic Intelligence Service by Maryn McKenna
(3) Monday, September 29: Beyond Knowing: Mysteries and Messages of Death and Life from a Forensic Pathologist by Janis Amatuzio

2007
(1) Monday, January 8: Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande
(2) Monday, April 23: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
(3) Monday, September 24: Intuition by Allegra Goodman