"Oncology, Etc." Hosts, Guests Share Their Must-Read Books of 2022

Dec 22, 2022

By Katherine Crawford, MA, PMP, ASCO Communications

Top oncologists. Active ASCO volunteers. Hosts of the ASCO Education Oncology, Etc. podcast. And on top of all that, Patrick J. Loehrer, MD, FACP, FASCO, and David Johnson, MD, MACP, FASCO, “Pat” and “Dave,” also are avid readers.

We asked them when they could possibly find time to read. “Typically at night before I go to sleep,” reported Dr. Loehrer. “I believe it drives my wife a bit crazy because even if I fall asleep on the couch downstairs, I still need to read when I go to bed before I turn out my light. Rainy and snowy days are a great time to read during the day. Airplane flights, too.” Dr. Johnson also prefers to read before sleeping. “I try to read for at least 30 minutes each night at bedtime,” he stated. Their preferred reading spaces are also very similar: the “bed, couch in my office, or outside on our patio” for Dr. Loehrer and “den chair or bed” for Dr. Johnson.

The two oncologists and longtime friends talk about their shared literary interest often. Staff in ASCO’s Education Department noted that often when Dr. Loehrer and Dr. Johnson got together virtually to plan an episode of Oncology, Etc., the conversations would turn to what one or the other was reading.

We wondered how each discovered the next great book he had to read. “Usually by word of mouth, The New York Times Book Review, or via The New Yorker magazine book reviews—also occasionally The Washington Post,” explained Dr. Johnson. For Dr. Loehrer, “I typically ask everyone I meet (including my patients), ‘What are you reading now?’ a question that I learned from Will Schwabe, who was a featured book club speaker at ASCO a few years ago. I have a list I keep on my iPhone so when I go to Barnes & Noble, I can look them up. I also read the book section from the Sunday New York Times. But the most solid contributions have been from friends like Dave. Dave and I have similar interests, though I am more open to fiction than he is.”

The two colleagues and friends are even compatible in their preferred reading format. “I like hard copy books because I like to be able to measure my progress,” Dr. Loehrer said. Dr. Johnson agreed: “Hard copy. That’s not good though—way too expensive. My wife counted recently, and we have over 1,000 books on the shelf. We gave away another 500 last year. Yikes!”

Having read dozens of books this year, below are Dr. Loehrer and Dr. Johnson’s favorite books of 2022, the books they’d recommend to friends, family, and colleagues.

Dr. Loehrer’s Top Three Books of 2022:

  • Dune by Frank Herbert
  • Scientist: E. O. Wilson: A Life in Nature by Richard Rhodes
  • Waiting for an Echo: The Madness of American Incarceration by Christine Montross

Dr. Johnson’s Top Three Six Books of 2022:

“Sorry, I listed six,” he acknowledged.

  • American Midnight: The Great War, a Violent Peace, and Democracy's Forgotten Crisis by Adam Hochschild
  • Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe
  • Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer by Steven Johnson
  • First Friends: The Powerful, Unsung (And Unelected) People Who Shaped Our Presidents by Gary Ginsberg
  • Presumed Guilty: How the Supreme Court Empowered the Police and Subverted Civil Rights by Erwin Chemerinsky
  • The Secret of Life: Rosalind Franklin, James Watson, Francis Crick, and the Discovery of DNA's Double Helix by Howard Markel

Books They’re Excited to Read in 2023:

“Two books by Alan Lightman, Einstein’s Dreams and The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew, just recommended to me by Larry Einhorn and Rabbis Dennis and Sandy Sasso,” Dr. Loehrer said. Also, “The Song of the Cell: An Exploration of Medicine and the New Human by Siddhartha Mukherjee, recommended by Bob Mayer and, finally, Extra Life by Steven Johnson, recommended by Dave.”

Dr. Johnson is looking forward to reading The Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn the World by Jonathan Freedland; G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century by Beverly Gage; and The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams by Stacy Schiff.

The Complete 2022 Oncology, Etc. Reading List—Books Mentioned and Recommended by the Hosts and Guests:

Hosts Dr. Loehrer and Dr. Johnson:

  • About Alice by Calvin Trillin
  • American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race by Douglas Brinkley
  • Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
  • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
  • My Own Country: A Doctor's Story by Abraham Verghese
  • Osler: Inspirations from a Great Physician by Charles S. Bryan
  • Rocket Boys: A Memoir by Homer Hickam
  • The Doctors Blackwell: How Two Pioneering Sisters Brought Medicine to Women and Women to Medicine by Janice Nimura
  • The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • The Howe Dynasty: The Untold Story of a Military Family and the Women Behind Britain's Wars for America by Julie Flavell
  • The Martian by Andy Weir
  • The Microbe Hunters by Paul de Kruif
  • Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know by Adam Grant


  • Centers of the Cancer Universe: A Half-Century of Progress Against Cancer by Donald L. Trump and Eric T. Rosenthal
  • Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream by Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II by Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi
  • Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein
  • Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
  • The Chancellor: The Remarkable Odyssey of Angela Merkel by Kati Marton
  • The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race by Walter Isaacson
  • The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
  • The Man Who Sold America: The Amazing (but True!) Story of Albert D. Lasker and the Creation of the Advertising Century​ by Jeffrey L. Cruikshank and Arthur W. Schultz
  • The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson

New episodes of Oncology, Etc. are released on the first Tuesday of every month. In the episodes, Dr. Loehrer and Dr. Johnson explore various topics in oncology through interviews with thought leaders, physicians, and humanitarians. Topics they explore with their guests include career paths, leadership, social justice, global health, grief, and much more. Listen on Apple, Google, Spotify, or wherever podcasts are available.

Back to Top