Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Format: Audio

Length: 20hrs 49 min

Narrator: Stephen Hoye

Source: Own (Audible)

Genres: NonFiction, Cancer, Science

Publisher: Tantor Audio

Publication date: November 10th, 2010

Thoughts: Both A and I have been wanting to read this one for quite a while, and so we decided to make it our road trip listen. As you probably know just by looking at his bio, Siddhartha Mukherjee is a cancer physician and researcher, and so he introduces us to the world of cancer, with 2 parallel story lines: one of his patients battling cancer and one of cancer research itself.

In the past years, I've read more about cancer in nonfiction that I have done in academic papers, which is normal, considering that my own research is not connected to cancer. But books such as Pandora's DNA where focused on the own personal experience with cancer and with one cancer in particular: breast cancer.

Mukherjee's book deals with all types of cancers, while spending more time with those that we have more information about, such as breast cancer and leukemia. Nevertheless, his narrative on how different discoveries were made both by struck of luck and by perseverance, was captivating. Discoveries both in treatment and prognosis and how the medical and scientific communities dealt with both. To hear that when the Pap test was proposed for the first time and how it was dismissed as useless is both baffling and interesting, especially when compared to nowadays standards.

A fair amount of information in the book wasn't new to me, considering that I had to learn at least the basis of it during my undergrad and graduate studies. However, there was a lot more that I didn't know and was always interesting. I feel that the author did a great job both researching the subject and vulgarizing it, a thing that is not always easy to do, coming from a research background.

Stephen Hoye did a great job as a narrator, I have to say, it didn't feel like a long read (or listen) at all.

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