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This summer, improve your health – or at least your health knowledge – without leaving your lawn chair. We’ve combed through recent releases in search of fresh and engaging brain food. Here are our top picks:

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The Art of Medicine: Healing and the Limits of Technology by Herbert Ho Ping Kong, senior consulting physician at the University Health Network in Toronto, with former Globe reporter Michael Posner. Kong believes doctors need to get back to the “art” of healing – relying on their senses, exercising empathy, and acting on their intuition. An inspirational read for medical professionals, this book is also a reminder to lay readers that there is, indeed, an art to medicine. Even with all the science at hand, sometimes there are no quick or easy fixes.

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The Secret Language of Doctors: Cracking the Code of Hospital Slang by Brian Goldman, emergency doctor at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto and host of CBC Radio’s White Coat, Black Art. We’d all love to know what doctors say about us behind our backs. But Goldman’s book offers much more than that. It is an insider’s guide to medical culture, shedding light on how doctors break tension, cope with difficult patients and banter with colleagues. Understanding this culture will make you a more sympathetic, better-informed patient.

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Suspicious Minds: How Culture Shapes Madnes by Joel Gold, associate psychiatry professor at New York University, and McGill University philosophy professor Ian Gold. Psychotic illnesses are often explained through genetics and neuroscience. But brothers Joel and Ian Gold explore a missing piece of the equation: the cultural and social worlds of those who suffer from delusions. This highly readable book tells the stories of psychotic patients and aims to provide a fuller picture of what influences their illnesses.

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The Diet Fix: Why Diets Fail and How to Make Yours Work by obesity expert Yoni Freedhoff, doctor and founder of the Bariatric Medical Institute in Ottawa. Freedhoff cuts through the seductive promises of the multi-billion-dollar weight-loss industry and provides a sober look at why so many dieters are doomed to regain the pounds they shed. He picks apart common myths, dispelling the notion that people should eat only when hungry and that a lack of willpower is to blame. And perhaps most important, he dispenses advice that may seem unexciting, but actually works, like keeping a food diary.

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