Top 10 Health and Wellness Books
By Donna Seaman (first published in Booklist)
While the battle over health care rages on, and each news cycle delivers unreliable health do’s and don’ts, these outstanding books offer clarity and reading pleasure in lively descriptions of microbes beneficial and otherwise, solid analysis, and inspiring stories of caregivers.
Alzheimer’s in America: The Shriver Report on Women and Alzheimer’s (Maria Shriver and the Alzheimer’s Association) - Peabody Award–winning journalist Shriver presents a comprehensive, heartbreaking account of what it’s like to be an Alzheimer’s patient or caregiver in the U.S. today.
Beautiful Unbroken: One Nurse’s Life (Mary Jane Nealon) - A poet and a nurse, Nealon draws on her passion for words and preternatural “way” with patients to create an extraordinarily graceful medical memoir and song to caregiving.
Becoming Dr. Q: My Journey from Migrant Farm Worker to Brain Surgeon (Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa and Mim Eichler Rivas) - As a teenager in Mexico, Quiñones-Hinojosa was determined to pursue a better life in the U.S., never imagining that he would become a neurosurgeon, professor, and brain-cancer research scientist.
Changing Planet, Changing Health: How the Climate Crisis Threatens Our Health and What We Can Do about It (Paul R. Epstein and Dan Ferber) - Health and global environment expert Epstein and award-winning science journalist Ferber report on how climate change is already causing an epidemic of epidemics, including malaria and cholera.
Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All (Paul A. Offit) - Infectious-disease expert Offit intensifies his crusade to encourage parents to trust the scientific data proving the safety and efficacy of vaccines.
Doctor, Your Patient Will See You Now: Gaining the Upper Hand in Your Medical Care (Steven Z. Kussin) - Physician Kussin’s primer on how to get the best possible medical care is dramatic, realistic, and potentially life-saving.
One Hundred Names for Love: A Stroke, a Marriage, and the Language of Healing ( Diane Ackerman) - With her signature brilliance and empathy, Ackerman (The Zookeeper’s Wife, 2007) tells the affecting story of how her husband, writer Paul West (The Shadow Factory, 2008), reclaimed language and mobility after a severe stroke.
A Planet of Viruses (Carl Zimmer) - Zimmer’s information-packed, superbly readable look at virological knowledge awakens readers to the fact that not only are viruses everywhere but we couldn’t live without them.
Remedy and Reaction: The Peculiar American Struggle over Health Care Reform (Paul Starr) - Pulitzer Prize winner Starr explicates the controversial Affordable Care Act and questions whether Americans can “summon the elementary decency toward the sick that characterizes other democracies.”
The Wild Life of Our Bodies: Predators, Parasites, and Partners That Shape Who We Are Today (Rob Dunn) - Biologist Dunn explains that we need the microscopic critters, or tiny “wildlife,” that live in our bodies, and that our fanatic antibacterial efforts make us more, not less, vulnerable to disease.