The Monday morning book club.

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Author: Malika Sharma
Date: Aug. 31, 2020
From: CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal(Vol. 192, Issue 35)
Publisher: CMA Impact Inc.
Document Type: Article
Length: 995 words
Lexile Measure: 1360L

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When I was seven, I purchased a bookmark with a blue tassel for a dollar from the schoolbook fair. On it, children's illustrator Mary Engelbreit had beautifully depicted a child, brown hair held back by an improbably large bow, sitting in a bay window engrossed in a book. In riotous script it read: "The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, and all the sweet serenity of books." (1) As a child, the idea of a space all my own, where I could read undisturbed and unencumbered by what appeared to be the complexity of adult life, seemed like paradise. Later, as my adult life became defined by the single-minded pursuit of medicine, reading for pleasure felt like an unaffordable luxury. I became more doctor and perhaps a little less human.

Finally, while on maternity leave in 2018, I created that nook--a place to read during those long, languid hours spent nursing a newborn. With 106 books read by year's end, I felt both a flush of pride and a flash of embarrassment--this little counting exercise suggested that my meticulous, driven doctorly self still had some control over the dreamy homemaker I envisioned myself as that year. I returned to work as the medical director at a small HIV hospital in downtown Toronto. Caring for and working with some of society's most marginalized people is an immense privilege but sometimes a tiring one--we carry the stories of our patients and at times the stories are just so heavy. (2)...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A633712166