Photo Essay: 6 reasons why Pathologists should read Classic Literature


“Classics are books which, the more we think we know them through hearsay, the more original, unexpected, and innovative we find them when we actually read them.
Italo Calvino”


I made up this blog post in my mind , discussed it with my friends and retained it in my mind. This is a very old tradition known as  “oral literature” spoken, not written.  Now I am writing it after 10 days.

6 reasons why Pathologists should read Classic Literature:

  1. Reading literature  keeps your brain sharp and agile. Mental exercise can improve one’s chances of escaping Alzheimer disease. As you grow older you may forget little things. This is not dementia, it is natural process of aging.  Pathologist are constantly using their brain. One has to promptly remember differential diagnosis of every case, order for appropriate special stains, issue reports  as soon as possible. If you are practising medicine for a long time, it is expected you have read most of the medical books in your subject.  For active, healthy brain try reading classic literature by authors of different race and culture.


A scene from Iliad during battle between Achilles and Hector before the walls of Troy. Homer’s epic poems the Iliad and Odyssey deal with the 10 year’s seige of Troy by Greeks and return of hero Odysseus ( or Ulysses) from the war, in which he has marvellous adventures.  Image –  Image collection of Dr Sampurna Roy MD.


2.  You are an academic and working with people from different countries, race and religion.  To know your colleague better read a famous novel from his/her country. It is the best way to know the culture of a different nation. Your colleague will be delighted if you recite few lines from a book of his native country.


The Arabian Night’s Entertainment is a collection of old stories written in Arabic which were first translated into English in 1840. Some have become very popular, like Alibaba and Forty Thieves, a scene from which is illustrated here. Image –  Image collection of Dr Sampurna Roy MD.

3. Your research is successful. You have made a great discovery !!  You want to name a disease or a new tumour, which only you have diagnosed. You can put your own name to a Tumour  or a Syndrome   (Eponym). It is more fun if you use the name of a popular literary character. If you are well-read and familiar with the characters of various classic literatures, the naming procedure will be much easier. Example : Alice in Wonderland Syndrome and Pickwickian Syndrome.


One hot summer afternoon Alice chased a white rabbit down a rabbit hole and began her strange Adventure in Wonderland. This story by Lewis Carroll is one of the most famous children’s books ever written but it appeals to people of of all ages. Carroll’s real name was Charles Dodgson. (1832-98). and he was a lecturer in Mathematics at Oxford.   Image –  Image collection of Dr Sampurna Roy MD. Read:  Alice in Wonderland Syndrome ; The disease and the story of Alice’s Adventure.

4.  Some great authors like Charles Dickens , Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Shakespeare have described many medical conditions in their novels.  If you are familiar with their writings, you can spice up your lecture by quoting from their books, write medical articles and blog posts.

Read: 14 things Pathologists can learn from Sherlock Holmes


Some of the best known characters from the works of Charles Dickens are grouped together in this drawing.   Image –  Image collection of Dr Sampurna Roy MD. Read: 7 things Doctors can learn from Novels by Charles Dickens

5.  If you are blogging on a serious medical subject, knowledge gained from literature will help you to be more creative. It will help you to make a boring subject more exciting.

6.  Read classic literature to avoid digital distraction. After a busy day a beautiful novel can have a relaxing effect on your mind. You will get a   good night’s sleep and be more productive in the morning.

Enjoy images from some timeless classics from my personal  scrapbook collection:


The famous episode from Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote when the hero is about to tilt at windmills, imagining them to be giants. Don Quixote is about the adventures of a foolish and charming knight who wanted to achieve world wide fame.  All kinds of everyday things are seen by him as fearsome and exciting. The book was written as a satirical romance on tales of chivalry. Image –  Image collection of Dr Sampurna Roy MD.


A scene from Beowulf, the epic Anglo-Saxon poem of the 6th century, which shows the hero Beowulf about to be confronted by Grendel – half monster and half man, in the castle of Hrothgar, king of Denmark. Beowulf eventually kills the monster which had terrorised the castle and its inhabitants. Image –  Image collection of  Dr Sampurna Roy MD


The scene from Gulliver’s Travels where Gulliver is captured by the Lilliputians. Image- Image collection of Dr Sampurna Roy MD


The songs of the troubadours originated in Provence – South France. Image- Image collection of Dr Sampurna Roy MD


The wars between the Greeks and Persians, which Herodotus recorded in his celebrated history, included the famous sea battle at Salamis. This was fought in 480 BC between a Persian fleet which is said to have numbered over 800 ships and a much smaller Greek force. Despite the odds against them the Greeks won a great victory and destroyed or captured a large part of Persian fleet. Image- Image collection of Dr Sampurna Roy MD


Fennimore Cooper’s Last of the Mohicans is an exciting tale about the American west. Image – Image collection of Dr Sampurna Roy MD.


A scene from Tom Thumb, one of the fairy tales by the Grimm brothers. These two brothers were learned professors of the German language and literature but they are remembered today for their folk and fairy tales. Image –  Image collection of Dr Sampurna Roy MD.


“Where the mind is without fear
and the head is held high, where knowledge is free.
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls.
Where words come out from the depth of truth,  where tireless striving stretches its arms toward perfection.
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost it’s way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit.
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever widening thought and action.
In to that heaven of freedom, my father,

by  Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali

40 signs you are a “Bookworm” and Pathology Case of the Day

By Dr Sampurna Roy MD


“You cannot open a book without learning something.

You become a writer when your speech is used for something more than the ordinary needs of daily life.
1) You read everyday.

2) You don’t mind being called a “worm”.

3) You have your own small library.

4) You have a large collection of miniature books.

5) You are not materialistic and prefer to spend money on books rather than clothes or jewellery.

6) Beyond all your medical degrees, certificates and medals, this may be your final stage of higher education.

7) You have a voracious appetite for knowledge.


8) You hate watching television.

9) You always read the novels before watching the movies based on them. It is a different experience and you always like the original book than the movie.

10) You are secretly planning to delete all your social media accounts.

11) Networking makes you sick.

12) You removed the battery of your cell phone. You don’t want to be disturbed while you are reading.

13) It is holiday and best way to relax is to swing on a hammock and read a wonderful book and get lost in the dream world.

14) You don’t have any vacation plans, so you are reading.

15) You are fascinated by the characters of every novel you read. It gives you fresh ideas to write a new blog post. You have already written many posts on famous literary characters.

16) You have visited some of the best libraries in the world.

17) You never get bored in the airport or during long flights. Once you almost missed the flight as you were too busy reading a book.  Suddenly you heard your name being announced repeatedly. You were the last person to enter the plane and everyone was glaring at you.

18) Every book takes you to a different world and expands your mind.


19) You know the difference between the smell of new and old books.

20) You love the touch of the book. You cannot experience a book without touching the paper.

21) You read when you are happy or when you are sad.

22) You read to forget something or to remember something.

23) You are not in a mood to paint or play a musical instrument. Reading is the next best thing.

24) Reading relieves stress and tension.

25) You live in a quiet, beautiful part of  the city and your neighbours  respect your privacy and “me time”. It helps you to focus on the book you are reading, in a peaceful environment.

26) You read because you can’t stop reading and you are addicted to books.

27) You believe that a book is the best gift that you can give to someone.

28) Birds of a feather flock together. All your friends are book lovers. You exchange books and discuss about various characters with them. You never get time to gossip about people.

29) Some books make you laugh, some make you cry.

30) You can stay up all night to finish a book.

31) You get better sleep after reading a good book.

32) Reading made you more resilient.

32) You read when someone hurts you or when someone  gives you a compliment.

33) You read after you got a promotion or after you lost your job.

34) You read when you feel lonely or if you have a big family and need some quiet time.

35) You read when you are angry and want to cool down.

36) Reading makes your creative juices flow.

37) You are planning to buy a new bookshelf as your room is strewn with books and there is no place to keep them.

38)  You prefer being called a “Bibliophile” rather than a “Bookworm”

39) You need a digital detox and the best way to that  is to read a book.

40) You are an Indian, British, European, American, African, Australian, HUMAN so you love reading.


You had the patience to visit my blog and read the long list till the end which makes you a “Certified Bookworm”.

If you are a pathologist there is a special gift for you

 Pathology  Case of the Day – Ovarian tumour – 2 sections:






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