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Reading suggestions for book clubs or discussion groups, from meetings of the North Carolina State University CVM Readers Group. Book links are to Amazon, paperback edition where available.

Fall 2003: Susan D. Jones, Valuing Animals: Veterinarians and Their Patients in Modern America, Johns Hopkins University Press, December 2002, (Non-fiction). Jones is a veterinarian and a historian. This book is the second in the Johns Hopkins Press "Animals, History, Culture" series edited by Harriet Ritvo.

Winter 2003-2004: Yann Martel, Life of Pi, Harvest Books (paperback), May 2003 (Fiction).

Fall 2004: We recommend The Tears of the Cheetah: And Other Tales from the Genetic Frontier, by Stephen J. O'Brien, as an excellent way to engage students, vet techs, faculty from across the disciplines, and others in a lively and wide-ranging discussion. Veterinarians and vet techs play an important role in many of O'Brien's tales.

Winter 2004-2005: We read poems and stories on an introspective, mid-winter theme, Looking at who we are, how we see ourselves, and how our clients see us. We began with quotes from William Carlos Williams and Sir William Osler:

"When they ask me, as of late they frequently do, how I have for so many years continued an equal interest in medicine and the poem, I reply that they amount for me to nearly the same thing."

— William Carlos Williams 1883-1963 (Physician and poet)

Quoted by Peter Kussin, MD, Associate Clinical Professor in the Duke University Department of Medicine's Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, in his introduction to the Duke Center for the Study of Medical Ethics and Humanities Vital Lines, Vital Signs: A Conference on Poetry and Medicine April 23-25, 2004

" While medicine is to be your vocation or calling, see to it that you have also an avocation – some intellectual pastime which may serve to keep you in touch with the world of art, of science, or of letters. Begin at once the cultivation of some interest other than the purely professional. The difficulty is in a selection and the choice will be different according to your tastes and training. No matter what it is, have an outside hobby. For the hardworking medical student, it is easier perhaps to keep up an interest in literature. Let each subject in your year’s work have a corresponding outside author. When tired of anatomy refresh your minds with Oliver Wendell Holmes; after a worrying subject in physiology, turn to the great idealists, to Shelley or to Keats, for consolation. When chemistry distresses your soul, seek peace in the great pacifier, Shakespeare. Ten minutes with Montaigne will lighten the burden."

— Sir William Osler 1849-1919 (Physician, writer and educator)

Readings below are listed in the order followed in our discussion.

Poems: "Talking to the Family" by John Stone (in the Richard Reynolds and John Stone anthology, On Doctoring. Free Press, 2001)

Short story: "The Diagnosis", by Ian McEwan, in The New Yorker, 80:40, 20 & 27 December 2004: 116-129 (excerpt from the novel Saturday)

Poems:"Fellini the Cat" and "Widow" by Molly Peacock; "May" by Bruce Weigl; "One Down - Three to Go" by Jananne Mathison (North Carolina State University - Class of 2007)

Short story: "Mrs. Beck's Cat", Chapter 17, All Things Wise and Wonderful, by James Herriott

Poem: "Beau: Golden Retrievals" by Mark Doty


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