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April 12, 1965

Straddling a Hobby: Avocational Books by Canadian Physicians

JAMA. 1965;192(2):114-117. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080150044010

To the physician who is a book collector, nonmedical books written by other physicians have an appeal out of all proportion to their literary merits. No matter whether written by a friend, a classmate, or some forgotten practitioner of a previous century, a special interest invests the publications of a colleague.

To a doctor in practice, book writing (exclusive of medical texts) is usually a hobby. This hobby may be not an end in itself but a way of expressing interest in more compelling avocations. As considered here, these range from a book about birds, reflecting an interest in ornithology and birdwatching, to a novel. And, in the middle ground, I discuss volumes of poetry and mysticism and a collection of letters. None of the books are well known now; some never enjoyed great popularity. Yet all have merit, and all have interesting things to say.

Birdwatching  Alexander Milton Ross

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