Book Recommendations for People with Chronic Illness, but Suitable for All
Hello and welcome to the first in a series of book roundups, curated with spoonies in mind! They’re all written by people with illness themselves, or with content that is relevant to our way of life. I’ll also throw in some unrelated, bonus recommendations here and there, as a welcome break from the constant talk of pain, pain, pain!
If you’re healthy, these are also great reads to delve into the strange world of disease, or to better understand what a loved one is going through. Illness is complex, and permeates all aspects of a person’s psyche and body.
Without further ado, here are the first five books for your consideration. If you’ve read any of these before, I’d love to hear what you thought about them, and I’m sure your review will be useful to others, too! Just leave a comment at the end of this post 🙂
*Note: This post contains affiliate links. It will not cost you anything to click on them, but I will get a small referral fee from any purchase, which will be used to maintain this blog. Thank you!
Table of Contents
If You’re Feeling…Self-Reflective
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating
By: Elisabeth Tova Bailey
A mysterious disease took over Elisabeth’s life, after a trip to Europe. Some speculation as to what she might be suffering from are tick-borne encephalitis, chronic fatigue syndrome, or dysautonomia.
In any case, she became bedridden, and this story is about her slow life with a pet snail for a companion. It is an autobiography, scientific observation, and meditative experience all in one. It reads like a novel, with much food for thought about life and chronic illness.
If You’re Feeling…Suspicious
The Woman Who Fooled The World
By: Beau Donelly & Nick Toscano
This is an exciting book that grips you right from the first page, about a woman called Belle Gibson. She faked brain cancer, and raked up quite the following on Instagram with suggestions for alternative, ‘natural’ treatments. She built the popular app, “Whole Pantry”, which Apple endorsed. Penguin even published a book she wrote.
Many cancer patients took her advice to heart to their detriment. This is a great read about modern society’s infatuation with the billion dollar wellness industry, and its dark side. The pace is fast and before you know it, you’re reading the last page!
If You’re Feeling…Scientific
The Clever Guts Diet
By: Dr Michael Mosley
This is a bestseller by the popular TV personality, Dr. Michael Mosley. I wanted to learn more about gut health, having understood that it affects every aspect of our health and body. There’s even evidence that mental health begins within our guts.
I don’t quite enjoy reading books that are too technical, so this was perfect. Dr. Mosley manages to explain scientific concepts in a way that the average person can grasp with ease. He has also written a few other popular books, such as the 5:2 fast diet.
If You’re Feeling…Wise
The Pain Companion
By: Sarah Anne Shockley
I loved this book by Sarah, which looks at pain in a very different light. We often believe that we’re failures, unless we fight against pain and defeat it. Yet in this book she talks about ways to live with it, respect it, and even partner up with it for the good of your long-term wellbeing. I used some of the methods in this book while in pain, and I must say that it did help to calm me down.
There are useful exercises and reflections you can try out, such as ‘writing a complaint letter to your pain’. While nobody wants to suffer no matter the amount of insight it brings, we might as well learn from these experiences that we don’t have a choice but to endure.
If You’re Feeling…Young
Carve the Mark
By: Veronica Roth
While I admit that I didn’t finish this book, I wanted to put it here as an option for a young adult fantasy fiction. This genre sure distracts the mind, doesn’t it? The main character is someone who lives in constant pain, and is able to unleash this as a torture weapon, too.
The thing I didn’t like about this book was how much she was able to accomplish despite being in immense, excruciating pain. If you’ve ever lived with such pain, you’d know that it’d be impossible, no matter how tough or determined you are.
Oh, and she falls in love with the enemy’s son. What a surprise, right? 😉 But anyway, it really isn’t too bad if you’re looking for a light, trashy read, ala chick flick style.
What’s on My Wish List
Thought I’d also share three books on my (neverending) wish list, just in case something catches your eye as well! 😉
1. The Little Book of Life Hacks: How to Make Your Life Happier, Healthier, and More Beautiful
By: Yumi Sakugawa
Don’t the illustrations in here look gorgeous? It’d probably make a great coffee table book, or a soothing bedtime browse!
2. Backbone: Living with Chronic Pain without Turning into One
By: Karen Duffy
I read an excerpt on Lenny Letter from this book and loved it. I find the sarcasm inspirational and it’s my kind of humour! I’ve ordered it and am just waiting for it to land on my doorstep 🙂
3. Sleep Affirmations: 200 Phrases for a Deep and Peaceful Sleep
By: Jennifer Williamson
I follow Jennifer’s blog, “Aim Happy”, and enjoy reading her posts. They really do stand out from the sea of repetitive self-help articles out there (and we know how they churn!).
I’ve always had issues with quality sleep, and many people with chronic illness suffer from painsomnia. These affirmations read like a charm, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. This is her first book written, so do show some support!
What’s Next for Book Recommendations?
I shall leave you with these book recommendations for now. Let me know what you’re in the mood for, and I’ll see what to add to the next list. In the meantime, click to check out the second book roundup and third book roundup of book recommendations for the chronically ill!
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