Good books about a bad thing.
August 20, 2012 9:25 AM   Subscribe

Looking for good books on cancer.

Interested in a more academic angle, be it from the sciences or the arts. History, medicine, anthropology, whatever. General works preferred, but if we're going to obsess over one breed of cancer, breast would be most appropriate.

I'd like to stay away from anything that relies heavily on cliches or personal experiences. No feel good self-help stuff and no Oprah's Book Club, if you catch my drift.

The goal here is to learn as much as possible about something that's about to consume my home life. It's a big field, but I like knowledge and books, so give me what you've got.
posted by Stagger Lee to Writing & Language (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I suggest The Emperor of All Maladies -- nonfiction, non-self-helpy, not exactly hard science, but a very interesting "biography" of cancer (as the subtitle says).
posted by brainmouse at 9:29 AM on August 20, 2012 [7 favorites]

seconding brainmouse's suggestion.
posted by scruss at 9:34 AM on August 20, 2012

I loved Natalie Angier's book, Natural Obsessions, which details the competition between two prominent labs who were trying to discover cancer causing and cancer suppressing genes. Angier is a science writer who writes for a lay audience. The book gives a view into the world of cancer research and also details some of the pivotal ideas about how and why cancer occurs. She's a great writer and it's a page-turner about a subject that could be quite dry in the hands of another author.
posted by quince at 10:45 AM on August 20, 2012

Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book was really helpful to me when my mom had breast cancer and I wanted to immerse myself in information. It's written for a lay audience but has a lot of details for those who want them. (This was before I was an oncology nurse, but I still recommend this book now that I have a lot more experience in the field.)
posted by vytae at 11:46 AM on August 20, 2012

The Emperor of All Maladies is a phenomenal book, one of the best, if not the best, I read last year and one of the best I've ever read. He's a gifted writer in addition to being an oncologist, and his discussion of the evolution of cancer and cancer treatment is thorough and engaging.
posted by smoke at 5:43 PM on August 20, 2012

Thanks very much, there are some strong suggestions there. I remember hearing about The Emperor a year or two ago when I was much less interested in cancer, and the rest of them are entirely new to me. This is helpful.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:05 AM on August 21, 2012

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