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June Readings

June 14, 2016 7:00pm
Hardwick Hall, UBC Medical Student and Alumni Centre
2750 Heather St, Vancouver

For the June meeting of the Lucid Book Club and Reading Series, we will be featuring a diverse group of writers and mental health practitioners from the local communities, presenting their writing projects. The event will showcase a variety of work, ranging from memoir to poetry, fiction and self-help.
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The Empathy Exams: Essays

empathy-examsMonday April 4, 2016 7:00 pm
Hardwick Hall, UBC Medical Student and Alumni Centre
2750 Heather St, Vancouver

Discussant: Rita Charon, MD, PhD, Professor of Clinical Medicine and Executive Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University.

Readers note – only the first essay of the collection (also titled “The Empathy Exams”) will be discussed.

Beginning with her experience as a medical actor, paid to act out symptoms for medical students to diagnose, Leslie Jamison’s visceral and revealing essays ask essential questions about our basic understanding of others: How should we care about one another? How can we feel another’s pain, especially when pain can be assumed, distorted, or performed? Is empathy a tool by which to test or even grade each other? By confronting pain—real and imagined, her own and others’—Jamison uncovers a personal and cultural urgency to feel. She draws from her own experiences of illness and bodily injury to engage in an exploration that extends far beyond her life, spanning wide-ranging territory—from poverty tourism to phantom diseases, street violence to reality television, illness to incarceration—in its search for a kind of sight shaped by humility and grace. The Empathy Exams is a brilliant and forceful book by one of America’s vital young writers.

“Extraordinary . . . she calls to mind writers as disparate as Joan Didion and John Jeremiah Sullivan as she interrogates the palpitations of not just her own trippy heart but of all of ours. . . . Her cerebral, witty, multichambered essays tend to swing around to one topic in particular: what we mean when we say we feel someone else’s pain. . . . I’m not sure I’m capable of recommending a book because it might make you a better person. But watching the philosopher in Ms. Jamison grapple with empathy is a heart-expanding exercise.”Dwight Garner, The New York Times

“[A] stunning collection. . . . A profound investigation of empathy’s potential and its limits.”Cosmopolitan, “10 Books by Women You Have to Read This Spring”

More Reviews at:

Download the reading guide (PDF)


An Anthropologist on Mars

An-Anthropologist-on-Mars-1Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Alumni Room
UBC Medical Student & Alumni Centre (MSAC)
2750 Heather Street, Vancouver, BC  Canada  V5Z 4M2
(Corner of 12th and Heather)

“Neurological patients, Oliver Sacks has written, are travellers to unimaginable lands. An Anthropologist on Mars offers portraits of seven such travellers– including a surgeon consumed by the compulsive tics of Tourette’s Syndrome except when he is operating; an artist who loses all sense of color in a car accident, but finds a new sensibility and creative power in black and white; and an autistic professor who has great difficulty deciphering the simplest social exchange between humans, but has built a career out of her intuitive understanding of animal behavior.

These are paradoxical tales, for neurological disease can conduct one to other modes of being that–however abnormal they may be to our way of thinking–may develop virtues and beauties of their own. The exploration of these individual lives is not one that can be made in a consulting room or office, and Dr. Sacks has taken off his white coat and deserted the hospital, by and large, to join his subjects in their own environments. He feels, he says, in part like a neuroanthropologist, but most of all like a physician, called here and there to make house calls, house calls at the far borders of experience.

Along the way, he gives us a new perspective on the way our brains construct our individual worlds. In his lucid and compelling reconstructions of the mental acts we take for granted–the act of seeing, the transport of memory, the notion of color–Oliver Sacks provokes anew a sense of wonder at who we are.”

Discussion facilitated by Dr Robert Stowe. Dr. Robert Stowe obtained an MD at Queen’s University; a year of graduate studies in philosophy of mind and a neurology residency at  the University of Toronto; and a fellowship in behavioral neurology at Harvard Medical School. He was a founding Core Faculty member of the joint University of Pittsburgh-Carnegie Mellon University Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition. Since 1998 he has been practising behavioral neurology and neuropsychiatry in Vancouver, where he is based in the UBC Neuropsychiatry Program, and lectures on disorders of higher cortical function.

Call for Presenters

The Lucid Book Club and Reading Series is seeking 10-15 minute creative readings on the theme of mental illness/health for our June 11th meeting, running from 7:15-9:00PM.  We are open to all genres of creative expression, from poetry, fiction, essay, memoir, drama, graphic novel, etc. Please submit a brief description of the work you’d like to present by May 1st to

children of air india: un/authorized exhibits and interjections

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 – 7:15 pm

Poet Renée Sarojini Saklikar will be reading from her new book, children of air india, a poetic exploration of Air India Flight 182, Canada’s worst act of aviation terror.

Renée Sarojini Saklikar writes thecanadaproject, a life-long poem chronicle about her life from

India to Canada, from coast to coast. Work from thecanadaproject appears in literary publications including The Georgia Straight,The Vancouver Review, PRISM international, Poetry is Dead, SubTerrain,Ricepaper, CV2,Ryga: a journal of provocations, Geistand Arc Poetry Magazine and is forthcoming in the recent anthologies, Alive at the Center: Contemporary Poems from the Pacific Northwestand Force Field: 77 Women Poets of British Columbia. Renée is married to Adrian Dix, Leader of the Official Opposition in British Columbia. children of air india is her debut collection.

Feel free to email us with any questions or comments at, and be sure to check out our blog: for updates!

Thank you for supporting Lucid!

Spring 2014 Events Calendar

Dear friends of the Lucid Book Club and Reading Series:

We are delighted to announce our Spring 2014 events calendar.  Starting in February, our meetings will resume on the second Wednesday of each month at the Coach House on Green College, UBC Campus, 7:15 PM – 9:00 PM.

JANUARY – no meeting

FEBRUARY 12th – poet Renée Sarojini Saklikar will be reading from her new book, children of air india, a poetic exploration of Air India Flight 182, Canada’s worst act of aviation terror.

MARCH 12th – writer and Lucid Book Club participant Lenore Rowntree will be reading from and leading a discussion about Bad Animals: A Father’s Accidental Education in Autism by Joel Yanofsky.

APRIL 9th – local author Daniel Kalla will be joining us to read from his most recent novel Rising Sun, Falling Shadow, and discuss his dual career as an emergency room physician and writer.

MAY 14th – Author and journalist Timothy Taylor will be joining us to discuss his recent research and writings in the field of PTSD.

JUNE 11th – Open Mike. An opportunity for members of the Lucid Book Club and Reading Series to share their creative work.

Please stay tuned for more information about the events and presenters as events draw nearer.

Feel free to email us with any questions or comments and be sure to check out our blog: for updates!

Thank you for supporting Lucid!