Formulary Book Club: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

Shaleen Ghosh, PharmD candidate ’25, has our June ’23 book recommendation

Story by Ryan McDaniel | Photo by Shaleen Ghosh | Published June 20, 2023

Student Shaleen Ghosh holds up the book "On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous"

Each month, the Formulary Book Club introduces a staff, student, faculty, or alumni of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and gets their recommendation for a great read.

This month we meet Shaleen Ghosh a third year PharmD student. Shaleen’s Formulary Book Club recommendation is On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong.

Cover of the book On Earth We're Briefly GorgeousThe book is a poetically crafted coming-of-age story told through a fictional letter from a son to his mother, who cannot read English. It follows the journey of the protagonist, Little Dog, his mother, Rose, and his grandmother, Lan, through the devastation of the Vietnam War, emigrating to the United States, and trying to find their own way in a new country and culture. In writing the letter to his mother, Little Dog begins to process difficult memories, even while trying to navigate his own life and identity as an adult.

“As a child of immigrants myself, I thought this book did an incredible job of describing the dual identities we carry—the struggle between honoring where we’ve come from and fitting where we are now,” says Shaleen. “Ocean Vuong is a poet by trade, and this novel is so beautifully written that lines will linger in your head long after you’ve put the book down.”

Shaleen is a third year student at the School, studying on the Chapel Hill campus. Originally from Akron, Ohio she attended The Ohio State University for undergrad, where she got her degree in biology. She chose the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy for her graduate studies because it offers early exposure to all areas of pharmacy and focuses on patient-centered care. “Rebuilding the trust between marginalized communities hand the health-care providers who serve them is an effort I’m so passionate about!” she explains.

For the coming academic year, Shaleen will be serving as the Marketing & Communications Chair for Student Senate as well as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Vice President for CAPS. “I love that these roles allow me to connect with students from the School that I might not have run into otherwise, as well as providing creative outlets,” reflects Shaleen.

Outside of her studies and co-curricular activities, Shaleen loves to hike, travel, and of course read. She also identifies as a huge foodie. “If there’s a new coffee shop or restaurant in town, I will be the first in line to try it!” she says.

Thank you, Shaleen, for this month’s book recommendation!