Book Series: Dr Norman’s Top 10 Books List

Dr Norman

This edition of The Dermatologist’s Book Series features Robert A. Norman, DO, MPH, MBA, clinical professor of dermatology at Nova Southeastern University, director of the Center for Geriatric Dermatology, and in private practice in Tampa, FL. He took on the difficult task of listing the top 10 books his colleagues should read, which are listed in no particular order. 

1. The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Milan Kundera
Harper & Row
First published in English 1984 

In his novel, Milan Kundera explores the extremes of comedy and tragedy to tell the story of 2 couples. A young woman, Tereza, is in love with a man, Tomas, a successful surgeon who alternates between being devoted to her and pursuing other women. His mistress, Sabina, is an independent, free-spirited artist who lives her life through betrayals, while her lover Franz, an intellectual, ends up losing everything despite being earnest, good, and faithful. “Kundera dives deep into the personal ambitions of a doctor and explores the boundaries and restrictions of medical life in turbulent political times,” said Dr Norman.

Bonfire of the vanities

2. The Bonfire of the Vanities 
Tom Wolfe
Farrar, Straus, and Sioux
First published 2008

Sherman McCoy is a Wall Street “Master of the Universe” who has it all—an apartment on Park Avenue, wealth, power, prestige, a beautiful wife, and an even more beautiful mistress. One night, he and his mistress get into an accident that results in a young black man being hospitalized. Tom Wolfe sets his satire against the backdrop of the politically and racially turbulent 1980s New York City. According to Dr Norman, Wolfe’s novel, shows “how we can let hubris and mistakes take over and ruin our lives.”
Past Installments

Book Series: The Self-Development Collection
Book Series: The Book Every Dermatologist Should Own
3. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance 
Robert Pirsig
London Vintage Books
First published 1999

The novel tells the story of a father and son’s motorcycle trip during the summer across the US’s Northwest in the 1960s. Within this story, Robert Pirsig explores how to live and how to live better. The narrative encompasses love, fear, growth, discovery, and acceptance in its exploration of the personal, philosophical, and fundamental questions of life. For Dr Norman, this novel teaches us patience.

the body silent

4. The Body Silent: The Different World of the Disabled
Robert F. Murphy  
WW Norton & Company
First published 2001

“Simply the most incredible personal medical memoir I’ve read. He was 48 years old, a professor of anthropology at Columbia University, and he developed a spinal cord tumor that eventually resulted in quadriplegia,” said Dr Norman. In his memoir, Robert Murphy explores the myths, societal fears, and misunderstandings of disability, as well as the damage they inflict, while describing his progression into paralysis due to a tumor of the spinal cord. In addition, Murphy addresses the way disabilities can change a person’s identity, social standing, and ties with others.

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