Reading In Medical Office Waiting Rooms

I’ve often said that reading in medical office waiting rooms should be its own genre. Medical office reading material should be better and so should the lighting (florescent overhead lights do nothing but make sick people look sicker, and the sick do not want to read old Real Simple magazines). 

What makes for good reading in medical office waiting rooms? 50 Books To Read If You Love Medicine, perhaps?  Or scanning the pages of Her Cocky Doctors while waiting to go in to the MRI for a brain scan?

My heart is already pounding. My blood pressure is already high. What will they find?

Reading In Medical Office Waiting Rooms

Surely appropriate medical office waiting room reading is not Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal. Or Jill Bolte Taylor’s My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey.  Both are wonderful books, but when I am in a medical office waiting in a humbling paper “gown,” a person like me wants reading options that are a distraction from mortality, illness, and A Nation In Pain.

I want comfort books. Books about rehabbing houses in rural England or France (or Italy, whatever) and cozy mysteries.

Books That are Like, There, There, Dear

Is there such a sub genre as the cozy medical mystery, with the strong female lead being a sleuthsome neuroscientist who knits? Maybe in Cornwall? (Please let it be Cornwall.) A type of warm, funny, quick-as-a-whip, middle-aged Flavia de Luce? But shaped like the Disney tea kettle character Mrs. Potts

Books that pat your hand and soothingly tell you everything will be alright, dear are the kind of reading material that should be MANDATORY in every medical office waiting room.

Patients! Let us begin by setting up little there, there, dear little free libraries in medical office waiting rooms across the nation, stocked with cozies and Peter Mayle and Under The Tuscan Sun.

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Elizabeth Bastos: Elizabeth Bastos has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe, and writes at her blog 19th-Century Lady Naturalist. Follow her on Twitter: @elizabethbastos