Our 2024 Summer Reading List

What’s on your summer reading list?

At Tribal Health, we are voracious readers – and we’ve got plenty of books waiting in our To Be Read pile. How could we not when this summer brings us a memoir from Salmon Rushdie, a fresh look at AI from Ray Kurzweil, a new novel from Tommy Orange, and some amazing graphic novels?

Here’s what Team Tribal is reading this summer across 5 categories: Healthcare, Fiction, Memoir, Indigenous Themes, and Nonfiction/Personal Growth.



A Molecule Away from Madness: Tales of the Hijacked Brain 

Sara Manning Peskin

Longlisted for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award, this book describes stories of brains gone wrong – from an epidemic of dementia among young farmers to a college student convinced she is battling zombies. Peskin, an acclaimed cognitive neurologist, explains the molecules that can take our brains to strange places and explores where our brains end and “we” begin.


In My Time of Dying: How I Came Face to Face with the Idea of an Afterlife

Sebastian Junger

One of the most famous reporters of our time, the award-winning Sebastian Junger, reflects on the ruptured aneurysm that nearly killed him and its impact on his atheism and his view of the medical industry. Part medical drama, part inquiry into the unknown, the book offers an unusual reflection on mortality and human vulnerability.


Weathering: The Extraordinary Stress of Ordinary Life in an Unjust Society

Dr. Arline Geronimus

Public health researcher Dr. Arline T. Geronimus looks at how systemic injustice can impact the health of marginalized people, particularly Black, brown, working class, and poor communities. From higher rates of chronic diseases and maternity death to lower life expectancy, Weathering describes how racism and classism can ravage our health.


All Physicians Lead: Redefining Physician Leadership for Better Patient Outcomes

Leon Moores

Physicians lead every day – making critical healthcare decisions, educating surgical teams, or persuading patients to change their lifestyles. But without formal training in leadership, physicians must often learn this core competency through trial and error. Dr. Leon Moores, a neurosurgeon who taught physician leadership for the U.S. Army, offers ideas on building leadership skills in a healthcare workplace.




Wandering Stars

Tommy Orange

A New York Times bestseller, the long-awaited follow-up to There There traces the impact of the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864 through three generations of a Native family, several of whom are forced into harsh boarding schools designed to eradicate Native culture and identity. Called “a novel about epigenetic and generational trauma that has the force and vision of a modern epic,” Wandering Stars is a captivating literary dive into Native history.


The Sculptor

Scott McCloud

In this highly acclaimed graphic novel, a young New York sculptor makes a deal with Death: he can sculpt anything he can imagine with his bare hands, but only has 200 days to live. Inevitably, he meets the love of his life right after the clock begins ticking. A fresh look at creativity, purpose, and the need for achievement.


Night Watch

Jayne Anne Phillips

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this story about a mother and daughter rebuilding their lives after the Civil War is described as “a brilliant portrait of family endurance against all odds.” Residing at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in West Virginia, Eliza and her daughter build relationships with the doctors, cooks, and guards of the asylum, each with their own war stories to share.


The Cemetery of Untold Stories

Julia Alvarez

When writer Alma Cruz inherits a small plot of land in the Dominican Republic, she turns it into a burial ground for her failed stories and manuscript drafts so her characters can rest in peace. But the characters instead come to life, including a doctor who fought in the Dominican underground and a dictator’s wife, intent on telling the lost stories of a revolution.


Night of the Living Rez

Morgan Talty

Winner of the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize and The New England Book Award, Night of the Living Rez offers 12 short stories set in a Native community in Maine.  Examining an Indigenous community from the angle of a lost boy, a grandmother with Alzheimer’s, a drug dealer, two best friends, and other characters, the collection reflects on what it means to be Penobscot in the twenty-first century.


Indigenous Themes

Spirits Dancing: The Night Sky, Indigenous Knowledge, and Living Connections to the Cosmos

Travis Novitsky and Annette S. Lee

There’s just one cosmos, but western astronomy and Indigenous astronomy interpret the night sky in different ways. Astrophysicist Annette S. Lee looks at the power of starbathing and how Western science and Indigenous knowledge can work together, while Travis Novitsky portrays the Milky Way, planets, and constellations in beautiful photographs.


Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of U.S. History

Ned Blackhawk

Winner of the 2023 National Book Award in Nonfiction and an Esquire Best Book, this retelling of U.S. history dispenses with the Eurocentric historical focus and emphasizes Native American history in understanding the evolution of modern America. The book interweaves five centuries of history, from Spanish exploration to European colonization to Native self-determination, connecting the ways they have impacted policy and growth to create 21st century America.


Indigenous Continent: The Epic Contest for North America 

Pekka Hamalainen

Already being called “the single best book on Native American history,” this bestseller rewrites the dominant origin story of the United States. Instead of viewing Tribal nations as helplessly succumbing to European imperialists, Hämäläinen looks at the ways Indigenous peoples flourished and held their own for centuries, from the Iroquois in the Northeast to the Pueblos in the Southwest to the Cherokees in the Southeast. Longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence.



The Friday Afternoon Club

Griffin Dunne

Writer, actor, and filmmaker Griffin Dunne has always been known by his relationships – nephew to literary icon Joan Didion, son to novelist Dominick Dunne, roommate to Carrie Fisher, brother to murdered Poltergeist actress Dominique Dunne. Elizabeth Montgomery from Bewitched was his babysitter; Sean Connery saved him from drowning. But his memoir cements his own status as a writer by recalling life in an unconventional and highly talented family that was formative in shaping American culture.


Feeding Ghosts: A Graphic Memoir

Tessa Hulls

This graphic novel explores identity, grief, love, and exile for three generations of Chinese women. From her journalist grandmother’s flight from the 1949 Chinese Communist victory to her mother’s immigration struggles in America to her own travels across the globe, Hulls looks at what it means to flee a family’s legacy while staying connected across generations.


The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music 

by Dave Grohl

This expanded version of Dave Grohl’s The Storyteller covers his early punk days, his time with Nirvana and Foo Fighters, his thoughts on creativity and parenthood, and advice on jumpstarting creative work.


Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder

Salman Rushdie

For 30 years, novelist Rushdie lived with a fatwa ordered against him; in August 2022, a man attacked him with a knife. In this memoir, he relives his ordeal and his recovery while meditating on freedom of expression and what it means to be a target.



Personal Growth and Nonfiction

How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen

David Brooks

How well do we really know anyone? Why do so many people feel invisible or misunderstood – and why does society feel so fractured? David Brooks argues that seeing someone is a skill we can learn and walks the reader through methods that can help all of us feel seen while better understanding the people around us.


The Singularity Is Nearer: When We Merge with AI 

Ray Kurzweil

No one writes about AI like everyone’s favorite inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil. Many of his predictions about AI and biotechnology have been accurate, which makes his new writings a must read. Speculating on nanobots, radical life extension, connecting our brains to the cloud, and renewable energy, he also explores the fascinating “After Life” technology, which aims to digitally revive deceased individuals through a combination of their data and DNA.


The Untethered Soul at Work: Teachings to Transform Your Work Life 

Michael Singer

Be honest – how excited are you about going to work every day? This book offers a program for increasing your energy, solving common business challenges, eliminating personality conflicts, and boosting creativity – in short, helping you create a workplace existence you really enjoy.


Challenger: A True Story of Heroism and Disaster on the Edge of Space

Adam Higginbotham

This riveting minute-by-minute account of the Challenger disaster includes recent findings.  From the lives of the astronauts to the investigation driven by whistleblowers, the book takes the reader beyond January 28, 1986 and into a recognition of the heroes involved in avoiding a similar occurrence.


The Art of Living a Meaningless Existence

Robert Pantano

Life can feel pointless to many of us, while others find wonder and motivation in the simplest things. These essays blend ideas in Stoicism, Existentialism, Nihilism, Absurdism, Buddhism, Taoism, and other philosophical schools to help us find the beauty in daily life and appreciate both the richness and absurdity of human existence.


If We Burn

Vincent Bevins

Uprisings spread across the world in the last 15 years, from Arab Spring to student rebellions in Chile and Hong Kong to American protests over George Floyd. More people participated in recent protests than at any other point in human history. If We Burn asks a logical question: why didn’t any of it bring about a more just and democratic society? From blow-by-blow accounts of street actions to new political movements, the book theorizes that our conventional wisdom on revolutionary change is misguided and ineffective – and offers a call to action.



Naomi Klein

Many of us have created idealized, glamourized versions of ourselves on social media. AI-generated content blurs the line between our thoughts and a machine’s. As we move deeper into digital reality, many of us find we’ve built or acquired digital “doubles” who offer a warped reflection of ourselves. What does it mean when we feel our digital image is the “real” us and the physical world is inferior?


What are you planning to read this summer? Share your suggestions and summer reading list!

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