Bastyr Faculty Offer Some Favorite Books for Summer

Covers of some of the suggested summer reads from Bastyr faculty.

It’s that time of year again — time to pour yourself a cool drink, set up a comfortable chair outside (or hammock, or beach towel), put on some shades and enjoy the simple pleasures of summer reading.

To help you in your summer reading quest, we’ve rounded up some suggestions from our eminently knowledgeable Bastyr University faculty. You’ll find excellent books in the realms of natural health and science, but we also encouraged faculty to share whatever titles have been personally inspiring as of late, so there’s also a handful of fiction favorites and a few recommendations for kids.

So soak up some Vitamin D — responsibly, of course — make yourself a refreshing herbal fruit smoothie, and settle in with one or more of these great book suggestions. Some titles can be found at, or ordered via, the Bastyr Bookstore.

Cynthia Bartok, PhD, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science

I would highly recommend the two books that were part of Bastyr's Diversity and Social Justice workshop for faculty this spring:

  • Understanding White Privilege: Creating Pathways to Authentic Relationships Across Race, Frances E. Kendall
  • Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do, Claude M. Steele

Matt Brignall, ND, Bastyr Center for Natural Health

  • Users' Guides to the Medical Literature, Gordon Guyatt
  • A Scientist in Wonderland, Edzard Ernst
  • Chasing the Scream, Johann Hari
  • Galileo's Middle Finger, Alice Dreger
  • How We Do Harm, Otis Brawley
  • Mortality, Christopher Hitchens
  • The Believing Brain, Michael Shermer
  • The Gluten Lie, Alan Levinovitz
  • The Panic Virus, Seth Mnookin
  • Why Calories Count, Marian Nestle
  • Going Clear, Lawrence Wright

Wendy Gordon, CPM, LM, MPH, Department of Midwifery

  • Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race, Debby Irving

Cristen Harris, PhD, RD, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science

  • Health At Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight, Linda Bacon
  • Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out, and Just Plain Fail to Understand about Weight, Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor
  • Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works, 3rd ed, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch
  • Your Child’s Weight: Helping without Harming, Ellyn Satter
  • Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense, Ellyn Satter
  • Mindful Eating, Jan Chozen Bays
  • The Rules of Normal Eating, Karen Koenig

Sheila Kingsbury, ND, RH, Department of Botanical Medicine


  • Green Pharmacy, Barbara Griggs
  • Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, Barbara Kingsolver
  • Lose Weight Here, Jade and Keoni Teta
  • Second Nature, Michael Pollan


  • Prodigal Summer, Barbara Kingsolver (my absolute favorite)
  • The Alchemist, Paul Coelho
  • Sweetwater, Christina Baker Kline
  • The Peachkeeper, Sarah Addison Allen
  • Bloodroot, Amy Green


  • Medicinal Plants Coloring Book
  • The Apothecary, Maile Malloy
  • My Mother Talks to Trees, Doris Gove
  • Farm, Elisha Cooper

Arianna Staruch, ND, School of Naturopathic Medicine

  • Molecules of Emotion, Candice Pert
    Candace Pert discovered the endorphin receptor at a time when she was the only woman working in the field, and she helped create the term ‘psychoneuroimmunology.’
  • Plant Spirit Medicine, Elliot Cowen
    For those that really want to know their plants. 
  • The Holographic Universe: The Revolutionary Theory of Reality, Michael Talbot
    This is getting old but is still good – I like the chapter “I Sing the Body Holographic.”
  • DVD: "What the Bleep Do We Know"
    This is a DVD, and I think there may even be a sequel now. It was done by Fed Allen Wolfe, a theoretical physicist, and is an interesting film that brings together many different perspectives on how our thoughts create our reality.

Jamey Wallace, ND, Bastyr Center for Natural Health

  • David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell (and anything else by him)
  • The Check List Manifesto, Atul Gawande

Cynthia Wenner, PhD, Department of Basic Sciences

  • Polio: An American Story, David M. Oshinsky
    This is a great book for any student interested in learning about the race to the polio vaccine, and teaches a lot about vaccination in general, as well the way in which politics and culture influence scientific discovery and the converse. Also a very timely book to read related to public health, given that we are one of the least vaccinated states in the U.S.