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20 June 2013
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Keep those wagons rolling | Kindling

We are rolling on well into our second year, and the Bookclub continues to benefit from the enthusiasm of FMLM members and staff.  The first review of the year by Colette Marshall was in May, exploring the potential legacies for Atul Gawande’s Checklist Manifesto. We are soon to be twice blessed by Jag Dhaliwal, who is planning to review The Innovator’s Prescription by Clayton Christiensen in June/July–we look forward to hearing about the sub-titular disruptive strategies. True to his productive form, Jag is also planning to lead a webinar discussing issues raised in and around this book.  We’ll post more details here when available. 

We have also been treated to interviews providing insights into the character and style of some of our featured authors, including Nigel Crisp (by Simon Knowles), Steve Radcliffe (by Anna Casburn-Jones) and Paul Levy (by Sam Byrne). We are hoping to collar Muir Gray for his tuppence worth later in the year, the meagreness of the idiom meaning only to reflect Muir’s passion for economy in healthcare. 

As editor, I am still nurturing some grand schemes for the Bookclub, one of which would need serious collective involvement to come to fruition.  I’d like to start a rolling review in which we get a dozen or more members to pick up the same book and review it together over a month or two. E-mail me us bookclub [at] if you are interested.  Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’... 


As I posted a litany of new and recommended titles to the Bookshelf last month (many on the recommendation of Carolyn Johnston–thank you), I noted that a sizeable fraction of these books were also available as Kindle editions.  Being a paperback elitist junky–i.e. someone who hoards books, but can quite happily wait for the hardback edition to gracefully subside from circulation–I used to feel that I couldn’t do without the clichéd sensation of fingertip on paper combined with that slightly bilious smell of virgin pages, which I suspect is the binding glue. 

Whilst I am no doubt far behind theses e-times, I was duly encouraged to catch up in the form of a thoughtful parting gift from my previous lab: a simple and unfussy Kindle.  Sam Byrne had pipped me to the post with his review of Goal Play! by Paul Levy the month before (October 2012) using the Kindle version, so I had much to explore in the name of the Bookclub. 

I had always felt that the real value of such an object (other e-readers are available) would be in the portability of volumes combined with a wide variety of catalogues at suitable economy.  I was subsequently more excited by the former than the latter, and even disappointed that there weren’t more ‘classics’ out there at little or no cost.  After a slow but fruitful search through the free bookstore, I came up with nearly a ton of free ‘classics’, but had yet to decide on which would launch my own fair ship Kindle

In the end, I chose two that had been at the top of my must-read list for years: The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan, immediately followed by Ford Maddox Ford’s The Good Soldier. Both provided necessary escapism to one of my favourite literary periods during a short work trip to a rather bloated and dreary LA.  I maintained a sense of satisfaction in reading those digitally stored centenarian words in the surrounds of a city that had its golden age just shortly after Buchan and Ford put pen to paper, a city culture in its own fight with the abstract pressures of the digital age.  I even felt a sense of betrayal when I stepped through the door on my return home and saw a £2.99 paperback version of The Good Soldier cowering bookended between overshadowing neighbours on my ‘to read’ bookshelf.  It is strange how that small thing now seems familar to me, even though I have never opened it. 

Turning back to the Bookclub, for me the Kindle will for now retain status only as a luxury item.  While over the last year and a half I have seen an increase in the number of FMLM-relevant books that now have a Kindle edition available, for me the toy will remain in my coat pocket as a preserve of yarns, fables, histories and stories. The price for Kindle editions for many of the texts that we feature hardly seem worth it, especially since the annotation facility of the Kindle is, putting it politely, yet to reach maximal user-friendliness. Some find that physical interaction with the page quite necessary for a reinforced learning experience (highlighter junky, anyone?).

But I stand to be corrected.  Let me know if you have had a different experience with your Kindle, or other e-reader, and whether you have been able to embrace it for work, study and leisure alike.

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About the author

Tom Turmezei's picture

Tom Turmezei

Tom completed his training in radiology with a musculoskeletal specialist interest in 2011, having worked as a Specialist Registrar in Norwich, Nottingham and Cambridge.  He then won a one year Evelyn Trust research fellowship to study imaging in hip osteoarthritis with the Cambridge Bone Research Group and is now in the second of a three-year Wellcome Trust research fellowship at the Department of Engineering in Cambridge, developing automated analysis of hip imaging data.  His long-term goal is to set up his own musculoskeletal imaging research group.  Cross-disciplinary research and training experiences at a number of hospitals have reinforced his belief that the NHS has much to learn from other professional cultures as well as those prospering within it.  

Tom is a medical writer, having co-authored previous editions of the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine and the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Specialties.  It was with this experience that he approached the FMLM with the concept of an online 'bookclub' to bring together ideas on leadership and management from diverse sources for the benefit of all those with a vested interest in the future of the NHS. Tom is now co-editor of the FMLM Bookclub (with Sam Byrne).


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