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The Baltimore Sun

Thomas Scalea is a professor of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and physician-in-chief at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center. He received his medical degree from Medical College of Virginia.

"Bulfinch's Mythology" / by Thomas Bulfinch / Laurel / 448 pages / $7.50

When I was a child, I was a huge fan of both Greek and Roman mythology. "Bulfinch's Mythology" is a complete set of these fables, and I spent hours reading these over and over. The book took me to places that I had never been, showed me how to dream and expanded my horizons considerably.

"The House of God" / by Samuel Shem, M.D. / Dell / 432 pages / $16

"The House of God" chronicled a young physician's training in "Man's Greatest Hospital." Most people thought this darkly humorous novel was fiction. Those of us involved in inpatient medical care realized that the book is far more fact than fiction. "The House of God" reminds me how different my world is from virtually everybody else's and how important it is that I relate to my patients and their family in ways that they understand.

"One Hundred Years of Solitude" / by Gabriel Garcia Marquez / Harper Perennial / 448 pages / $14.95

This novel chronicled several generations of a family as they struggled with life and death in a small town in Latin America. The imagery is striking and the story compelling. I come from a close-knit family, and this book reminds us how important family really is. In addition, it made me realize how powerful a tool language is and how important it is to carefully choose [your] words.

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