Welcome to the second edition of book recommendations for spoonies! Like the first roundup, these are all books written by people with illnesses themselves, or revolve around related topics. They’re suitable even if you’re a healthy person with no medical issues, and provide many interesting cultural and humane insights from around the world.
I hope you enjoy this new collection, and I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below, especially if you’ve already read any of these books!
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If You’re Feeling…Existential
Man’s Search for Meaning
By: Viktor E. Frankl
This is still one of my all-time favourite books. The amount of wisdom packed into a mere hundred pages is astounding, although the circumstances they derive from were horrific and inhumane. It’s one of those books that remains a staple on my bookshelf, as there’s always something new to learn from it, or to remind myself about. (Read my full review and reflections about this book here.)
If You’re Feeling…Endearing
My Patients and Other Animals: A Veterinarian’s Stories of Love, Loss, and Hope
By: Suzy Fincham-Gray
I’ve only read a third of this book so far, but I was excited to receive it in the mail! Humans are not the only creatures who get sick and go to the A&E, animals and pets do, too. In this book, Suzy shares about her life as a student and vet, with cultural anecdotes between the UK and US peppered in.
It touches on the emotional aspect of a caregiving or healing profession, and the constant self-questioning one faces while trying to balance humanity, financial limitations, and circumstances. This book might resonate with you if you are an animal lover, or curious about the veterinary profession.
If You’re Feeling…Humane
Tears of Salt, A Doctor’s Story
By: Pietro Bartolo and Lidia Tilotta
To be honest, this wasn’t my favourite book, but it was still a good read for insight into the migrant situation in Italy. Lampedusa is where Dr. Pietro calls home, and where he returned to after becoming a doctor.
It’s a little island off Italy which sees the arrival of many migrants from all over due to its location. Dr. Pietro shares their different life stories, providing them with a human voice. His perspective is also very important both as a local who grew up on Lampedusa, and as a physician who works on the ground with patients.
If You’re Feeling…Cultural
The Sound of Sch, a Mental Breakdown, a Life Journey
By: Danielle Lim
Written by a Singaporean author, this is a good read if you wish to understand more about mental illness, and its role in local Chinese culture. These elements are all interwoven within the fabric of society, and influence both our perspective and approach toward mental illness. This goes on to affect all other facets of ‘normal’ life, from private to public interactions, career, and treatment.
Schizophrenia is no laughing matter, even though many people use it as an adjective in everyday language. Doing so reduces the severity of this devastating, often life changing illness. This is a well written and wonderful tribute to human resilience and sacrifice.
If You’re Feeling…Educational
Writing Tools, 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer
By: Roy Peter Clark
This is one of my favourite books on how to write better, as it’s easy to read, memorable, and practical all at once. I particularly liked how he used each chapter to represent a writing tool, which I can refer to as needed.
This is a helpful book if you are a writer or blogger who wants to raise awareness through your writing. The words we use can make a difference in the lives of others, and how we express them can also vary its impact. This one’s worth keeping in your blogging arsenal!
What’s on My Wish List
The wish list for books is a neverending one, I suppose! There’s more than enough knowledge to last us this lifetime, and even more that we have yet to discover. Here are a few more books that I’ve been meaning to read, but obviously haven’t done so 😉
1. Sick Rose: Disease in the Golden Age of Medical Illustration
By: Richard Barnett
This book is a collection of gruesome but gorgeous medical illustrations, before the age of colour photography. They represented the human body and visible afflictions, during an era where epidemics were rampant. I’d imagine they’d have to be as accurate as is possible!
Illustrating something somehow transforms it into a piece of artwork, no matter what the topic is about. I think it’s also a beautiful reminder that the human body is indeed, an amazing work of art! Every single one of us is a curated assembly of organs and organisms, working towards the singular goal of survival.
2. Running from the Mirror: A Memoir
By: Howard Shulman
Just three days after birth, Howard contracted a bacterial infection which destroyed his face. His parents abandoned him after, and this is his life story. Displaced and transferred between homes, he had many families, but belonged to none. He managed to contact his birth mother one day, but this doesn’t seem to end well, either.
This is a book I definitely want to read next; his writing style is beautiful, despite all the pain that stems from it. You can read an excerpt on Narratively here.
1. An Anatomy of Addiction, Sigmund Freud, William Halsted, and the Miracle Drug Cocaine
By: Howard Markel
This book has been sitting on my shelf for a few years *sheepish grin*. Howard Markel is an acclaimed medical historian, and this book takes us down the fascinating paths of Sigmund Freud and William Halsted, two important people in the history of medicine. He shows how cocaine shaped their enormous contributions to the fields of psychology and medicine, during a time when the drug was new, unregulated, and barely understood.
I hope you enjoyed this book list. If you do read any of them, I’d love to hear your thoughts via the comments section below! If there are any other genres you’d like to see in the next selection, feel free to comment as well.
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