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Volume 3, Issue 1
Spring 2007:

From an Ample Nation

Posthumous Selections of Nicholas E. Davies, MD

Cell 2 Soul. 2007 Spring; 3(1):a12

  1. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  2. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  3. The Cloister and the Hearth by Charles Reade
  4. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
  5. Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Payton
  6. The Mapmapers by John Noble Wilford
  7. The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins
  8. Complete Essays by Michel Montaigne
  9. Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
  10. Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia

About Nicholas Davies

Nicholas Davies, a respected Atlanta internist, was in the habit of taking two weeks off every summer to read, play golf and relax. "I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about what I shall read during my summer vacation. " he wrote. "It is a major concern... I must be some sort of reading nut; a bibliomaniac of sorts...

One evening I was having dinner with Stephen Lock, the BMJ's editor. We were talking about reading for pleasure and I said that I usually stayed with the classics. He agreed with this plan and said, "Yes Nicholas, you might have 500 more books that you can read in your lifetime. Stick with the best.. I have followed that disquieting pragmatic advice ever since."

Sadly, in 1993 Davies was killed in a plane crash while on official business for the American College of Physicians. Hopefully, his last years were enriched by spending time with the Immortals.

We extracted the Davies Canon from his article, "Reading Binges" which appeared in the British Medical Journal 299, 1209-10, 1989.

In late 2005, the editors of Cell 2 Soul and Dermanities launched a new section, "Why Read? — Personal Canons," which is a forum to catalog those works of art which instruct and enrich us as care givers and individuals. We invited some friends, colleagues and teachers to share those they deem canonical — books, poems, the occasional movie to which they keep returning.

The background for these selections is found in a recent editorial entitled: Why Read? An Emerging Canon.

We welcome your Personal Canon. Please click on Canon Guidelines. Kindly follow the format you see here.

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