What Is Our International Membership Committee Reading This Summer

Posted 29 July 2020

John Aaskov, PhD, FRCPath
Queensland University of Technology, Australia

Shake Hands With the Devil by Romeo Dallaire
“I have worked with several people who were a part of the Australian Defence Force’s health and humanitarian assistance to Rwanda during the genocide and know of another who changed her name twice in an effort to separate her subsequent life from the experiences she encountered as a part of this effort. I was interested to read an account by the person who was tasked by the U.N. to try to manage the crisis on the ground. Probably not light summer reading but well worth the effort."

Silvia Maria Di Santi, PhD
School of Medicine, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil

A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende
"During the Spanish Civil War, people were forced to flee. Roser, a widow and pregnant, along with her brother-in-law Victor and other refugees, embarks for Chile on a ship chartered by Neruda. Europe is in crisis due to the world war. Together, they try to overcome the difficulties of exile, dreaming of returning home. I am reading this book because the refugee crisis persists and makes us reflect on how we can help".

David H. Hamer, MD, FASTMH
Board Member
International Committee Co-Chair

Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama
Memoirs of the Second World War by Winston Churchill
"I am reading two books that have been around for some time. Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father, which is well written and a great insight into racial dynamics for an individual of mixed race. And Winston S. Churchill’s Memoirs of the Second World War, an in-depth account of WWII (notably an abridgement of the original six volume edition, down to a ‘concise’ 1,016 pages)."

Pui-Ying Iroh Tam, DMed, FAAP, FPIDS, FIDSA
University of Malawi College of Medicine

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
"On how homo sapiens became the species that was established on earth after other species died off. A timeline stretching millions of years can put a lot of things into perspective".

Andrés G. (Willy) Lescano, PhD, MHS, MHS
School of Public Health and Administration, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Peru

Los Perros Hambrientos by Ciro Alegria
"Recently I went back to reading Ciro Alegria's classic Los Perros Hambrientos (The Hungry Dogs) that my dad found while cleaning his bookshelf during the lockdown. It’s a short, melancholic novel about the hardships and small joys of life of a family and their dogs in the Peruvian Andes. When I read it first as a child, it immediately connected me with my family’s Andean roots."

Bartholomew Ondigo, PhD

It's Never Too Late And You're Never Too Old by Vic Johnson
"Trials and tribulations that precede success. Failure can be a stepping stone to something better and age is just a number. A story from an Indiana-based man born in poverty, facing difficulties/brokenness, but emerging victorious after selling his famous chicken recipe to restaurants at the age of 65, which enabled him to achieve his dream life. Key lessons: Perseverance, believing in oneself, unwillingness to give up to overcome obstacles."

Carola Salas, PhD
Naval Medical Research Unit No. 6, Peru

The Situation Is Hopeless, But Not Serious by Paul Watzlawick
“'Let’s not fool ourselves. What or where would we be without our unhappiness? We badly need it, in the truest sense of the word badly.' Recommended by an Austrian friend who helped me notice how my efforts to be happy can in fact make me even more miserable. Surely not summer reading, but meaningful when I wanted to read amusing stories while coping with my prolonged lockdown in Peru."

Stephanie Yanow, PhD
School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Canada

The Lilac Girls
by Martha Hall Kelly
“My mother recommended it and lent me her copy. It’s a very engrossing read. It starts at the beginning of WWII and tells the stories of three women: a resistance fighter in Poland, a Nazi doctor in Germany and a charitable socialite in New York. Their lives become sadly intertwined, first in a concentration camp and then post-war. The book is based on a true story. Reading about these experiences has given me some perspective into our current pandemic and the challenges we have faced over the last century. I could never imagine living through the agony of WWII.”

If you buy one of these reads...
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