Category Archives: Biographical

Levi, Carlo. Christ Stopped at Eboli

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It was to Lucania, a desolate land in southern Italy, that Carlo Levi—a doctor, painter, philosopher, and man of letters—was confined as a political prisoner because of his opposition to Italy’s Fascist government at the start of the Ethiopian war in 1935. While there, Levi reflected on the harsh landscape and its inhabitants, peasants who lived the same lives their ancestors had, constantly fearing black magic and the near presence of death. In so doing, Levi offered a starkly beautiful and moving account of a place and a people living outside the boundaries of progress and time.

Publisher: Penguin Classics;
Year: 2000
ISBN-10: 0141183217

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Nicholson, Julie. A Song for Jenny: A Mother’s Story

jenny jenny

On 7 July 2005, Julie Nicholson’s life was changed forever. Her daughter, Jenny, was killed on her way to work in the London bombings, shaking Julie’s beliefs. With heartbreaking honesty and integrity, Julie tells her story of love, tragedy and heartache for the first time.

Jenny Nicolson was travelling to work when a bomb exploded at Edgware Road Tube station. Her mother, Reverend Julie Nicholson, struggled to comprehend the tragedy, her sorrow and longing for her daughter turning to rage and anger. Finding herself unable to articulate the three parts of the Eucharist: peace, reconciliation and forgiveness, because she ‘felt so far from those herself’, Julie made the difficult decision to resign her role as priest-in-charge of St Aidan with St George Church, Bristol, unable to reconcile her feelings with her position.

Publisher: Harper
Year: 2011
ISBN-10: 0007250819

Deraniyagala, Sonali. Wave: A Memoir of Life After the Tsunami

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The book opens and we are inside the wave: thirty feet high, moving at twenty-five mph, racing two miles inland. And from there into the depths of the author’s despair: how to live now that her life has been undone?

Sonali Deraniyagala tells her story – the loss of her two boys, her husband, and her parents – without artifice or sentimentality. In the stark language of unfathomable sorrow, anger, and guilt: she struggles through the first months following the tragedy — someone always at her side to prevent her from harming herself, her whole being furiously clenched against the reality she can’t face; and then reluctantly emerging and, over the ensuing years, slowly allowing her memory to function again.

Then she goes back through the rich and joyous life she’s mourning, from her family’s home in London, to the birth of her children, to the year she met her English husband at Cambridge, to her childhood in Colombo while learning the balance between the almost unbearable reminders of her loss and her fundamental need to keep her family, somehow, still with her.

Publisher: Virago
Year 2013
ISBN-10: 184408907X

Strayed, Cheryl. Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found

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At twenty-six, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s rapid death from cancer, her family disbanded and her marriage crumbled. With nothing to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to walk eleven-hundred miles of the west coast of America – from the Mojave Desert, through California and Oregon, and into Washington state – and to do it alone. She had no experience of long-distance hiking and the journey was nothing more than a line on a map. But it held a promise – a promise of piecing together a life that lay in ruins at her feet.

Publisher: Atlantic Books
Year: 2015
ISBN-10: 1782394869

Hood Ann. Comfort: A Journey Through Grief

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In 2002, Ann Hood’s five-year-old daughter Grace died suddenly from a virulent form of strep throat. Stunned and devastated, the family searched for comfort in a time when none seemed possible. Hood-an accomplished novelist-was unable to read or write. She could only reflect on her lost daughter-“the way she looked splashing in the bathtub …the way we sang ‘Eight Days a Week.'” One day, a friend suggested she learn to knit. Knitting soothed her and gave her something to do. Eventually, she began to read and write again. A semblance of normalcy returned, but grief, in ever new and different forms, still held the family. What they could not know was that comfort would come, and in surprising ways. Hood traces her descent into grief and reveals how she found comfort and hope again-a journey to recovery that culminates with a newly adopted daughter.

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Year: 2009
ISBN-10: 039333659X

Rendell, Matt. The Death of Marco Pantani


On Valentine’s day 2004, Marco Pantani was found dead in a cheap hotel. It defied belief: Pantani, having won the rare double of the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France in 1998, was regarded as the only cyclist capable of challenging Lance Armstrong’s dominance. Only later did it emerge that Pantani had been addicted to cocaine since 1999.

Drawing on his personal encounters with Pantani, as well as exclusive access to his psychoanalysts, and interviews with his family and friends, Matt Rendell has produced the definitive account of an iconic sporting figure.

Publisher: W&N
Year: 2015
ISBN-10: 1474600778

Leighton, Ralph, Feynman, Richard. Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman: Adventures of a Curious Character as Told to Ralph Leighton


Winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1965, Richard Feynman was one of the world’s greatest theoretical physicists, but he was also a man who fell, often jumped, into adventure. An artist, safecracker, practical joker and storyteller, Feynman’s life was a series of combustible combinations made possible by his unique mixture of high intelligence, unquenchable curiosity and eternal scepticism. Over a period of years, Feynman’s conversations with his friend Ralph Leighton were first taped and then set down as they appear here, little changed from their spoken form, giving a wise, funny, passionate and totally honest self-portrait of one of the greatest men of our age.

Publisher: Vintage
Year: 1992
ISBN-10: 009917331X

Liptrot, Amy. The Outrun


At the age of thirty, Amy Liptrot finds herself washed up back home on Orkney. Standing unstable on the island, she tries to come to terms with the addiction that has swallowed the last decade of her life. As she spends her mornings swimming in the bracingly cold sea, her days tracking Orkney’s wildlife, and her nights searching the sky for the Merry Dancers, Amy discovers how the wild can restore life and renew hope.

Publisher: Canongate Books
Year: 2016
ISBN-10: 178211548X

Macdonald, Helen. H is for Hawk


As a child, Helen Macdonald was determined to become a falconer, learning the arcane terminology and reading all the classic books. Years later, when her father died and she was struck deeply by grief, she became obsessed with the idea of training her own goshawk. She bought Mabel for £800 on a Scottish quayside and took her home to Cambridge, ready to embark on the long, strange business of trying to train this wildest of animals.

H is for Hawk is an unflinchingly honest account of Macdonald’s struggle with grief during the difficult process of the hawk’s taming and her own untaming. This is a book about memory, nature and nation, and how it might be possible to reconcile death with life and love.

Publisher: Vintage
Year: 2015
ISBN-10: 0099575450


Bennett, Alan. Keeping on Keeping on

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‘I seem to have banged on this year rather more than usual. I make no apology for that, nor am I nervous that it will it make a jot of difference. I shall still be thought to be kindly, cosy and essentially harmless. I am in the pigeon-hole marked ‘no threat’ and did I stab Judi Dench with a pitchfork I should still be a teddy bear.’

Alan Bennett’s third collection of prose Keeping On Keeping On follows in the footsteps of the phenomenally successful Writing Home and Untold Stories, each published ten years apart. This latest collection contains Bennett’s peerless diaries 2005 to 2015, reflecting on a decade that saw four premieres at the National Theatre (The Habit of Art, People, Hymn and Cocktail Sticks), a West End double-bill transfer, and the films of The History Boys and The Lady in the Van.

There’s a provocative sermon on private education given before the University at King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, and ‘Baffled at a Bookcase’ offers a passionate defence of the public library. The book includes Denmark Hill, a darkly comic radio play set in suburban south London, as well as Bennett’s reflections on a quarter of a century’s collaboration with Nicholas Hytner. This is an engaging, humane, sharp, funny and unforgettable record of life according to the inimitable Alan Bennett.

Publisher: Profile Faber
Year: 2016
ISBN-10: 1781256497

Munch, Edvard. The Sick Child


The Sick Child 1907 Edvard Munch 1863-1944 Presented by Thomas Olsen 1939

The Sick Child 1907 Edvard Munch 1863-1944 Presented by Thomas Olsen 1939 [CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported)]

The Sick Child touches on the fragility of life. It draws upon Munch’s personal memories, including the trauma of his sister’s death, and visits to dying patients with his doctor father. He described the 1885 painting as ‘a breakthrough in my art’ and made several subsequent versions, of which this is the fourth.

Acquired by the city of Dresden in 1928, it was displayed in the Gemäldegalerie. A decade later, the Nazis declared that Munch’s art was ‘degenerate’ and, in November 1938, all his works in German public collections were collected in Berlin for auction. The Norwegian dealer Harald Holst Halvorsen secured as many as possible, including The Sick Child, and returned them safely to Oslo. Thomas Olsen bought the painting in 1939 and gave it to the Tate. Norway fell to the Germans in 1940. Looking back, Olsen explained that his gift was stimulated by ‘my knowledge, from talks with Munch, that he felt the need of recognition in Western Europe, especially so after the advent of Hitler.’



Peirce, Kimberly (dir). Boys Don’t Cry


In Falls City, Nebraska, Brandon Teena arrives to start a new future for himself. The local community falls for his charms and everyone becomes drawn to his innocence and wit. However, behind the charming persona is a totally different person – Brandon is actually a woman. After falling for a local karaoke singer, Brandon moves in with her family and wins them over. But when Brandon’s secret is finally out, the rest of the family all turn against him, branding him sick and evil.

Directed: Kimberly Peirce
Written: Andy Bienen, Kimberly Peirce
Year: 1999







Beaumont, Henny. Hole in the Heart: Bringing up Beth


On Mother’s Day 2004 Henny Beaumont gave birth to her third child. For the first few hours, her baby seemed no different to her two other little girls.

With stunning art and refreshing honesty, Henny describes how family life changed the moment the registrar told her and her husband that their daughter might have Down’s Syndrome. She knew that her life was over. How can this weak little baby, who would demand so much more from Henny than her other two children, and who would need an operation in order to survive, provoke such feelings of hatred and resentment? How can Henny learn to love her? And if she can’t trust her own reactions to Beth, how can she expect other people to overcome their prejudices and ignorance about her condition?

Publisher: Myriad Editions
Year: 2016
ISBN-10: 1908434929

Murphy, Robert. The Body Silent: The Different World of the Disabled

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Robert Murphy was in the prime of his career as an anthropologist when he felt the first symptom of a malady that would ultimately take him on an odyssey stranger than any field trip to the Amazon: a tumor of the spinal cord that progressed slowly and irreversibly into quadriplegia. In this gripping account, Murphy explores society’s fears, myths, and misunderstandings about disability, and the damage they inflict. He reports how paralysis like all disabilities assaults people’s identity, social standing, and ties with others, while at the same time making the love of life burn even more fiercely.

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company;
Year: 2001
ISBN-10: 0393320421

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Suri, Sandhya (dir). I for India


In 1965 Yash Pal Suri left India for the U.K. The first thing he does on his arrival in England is to buy two Super-8 cameras, two projectors and two reel to reel recorders. One set of equipment he sends to his family in India, the other he keeps for himself. For 40 years he uses it to share his new life abroad with those back home – images of snow, miniskirted ladies dancing bare-legged, the first trip to an English supermarket – his taped thoughts and observations providing a unique chronicle of the eccentricities of his new English hosts. Back in India, his relatives in turn, respond with their own ‘cine-letters’ telling tales of weddings, festivals and village life. As time passes and the planned return to India becomes an increasingly remote possibility, the joy and curiosity of the early exchanges give way to the darker reality of alienation, racism and a family falling apart. A bitter-sweet time capsule of alienation, discovery, racism and belonging, I for India is a chronicle of immigration in sixties Britain and beyond, seen through the eyes of one Asian family and their movie camera.

Director: Sandhya Suri
Year: 2007
Distributer: ICA Projects

Donaldson, Ross. The Lassa Ward

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In the summer of 2003, a perilous helicopter descent delivered Ross Donaldson, an American medical student in his twenties, into Sierra Leone. With abundant schooling but little practical experience, Ross wanted to save the world. Little did he know that by the end of his journey, it would be he who would need rescue.

With rebels fighting just across the border in Liberia, humanitarian need quickly swept Ross southward towards makeshift refugee camps and the heart of danger. There, he had his first terrifying encounter with the highly contagious Lassa Virus. Working on the Lassa Fever Ward, he was wholly unprepared for what he would find, and for twist of fate that saw him running the facility alone, with only a handful of untrained nurses to help him.

Based on his personal journal, this gripping memoir details the time Ross spent on the Lassa Ward, and his own battle with a potentially fatal illness. It is a real-life thriller that not only tells the adventure-packed tale of a modern-day hero, but also bears witness to a people in need, and the struggle of those who risk their daily comforts, and even their lives, to help them.

Publisher: Black Swan
Year: 2010
ISBN-10: 0552775665

Worth, Jennifer. Call the midwife: A True Story Of the East End in the 1950s

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Jennifer Worth came from a sheltered background when she became a midwife in the Docklands in the 1950s. The conditions in which many women gave birth just half a century ago were horrifying, not only because of their grimly impoverished surroundings, but also because of what they were expected to endure. But while Jennifer witnessed brutality and tragedy, she also met with amazing kindness and understanding, tempered by a great deal of Cockney humour. She also earned the confidences of some whose lives were truly stranger, more poignant and more terrifying than could ever be recounted in fiction.

Attached to an order of nuns who had been working in the slums since the 1870s, Jennifer tells the story not only of the women she treated, but also of the community of nuns (including one who was accused of stealing jewels from Hatton Garden) and the camaraderie of the midwives with whom she trained. Funny, disturbing and incredibly moving, Jennifer’s stories bring to life the colourful world of the East End in the 1950s.

Publisher: W&N
Year: 2012
ISBN-10: 0753827875

Sacks, Oliver. A Leg to Stand On

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When Oliver Sacks, a physician by profession, injured his leg while climbing a mountain, he found himself in an unusual position – that of patient. The injury itself was severe, but straightforward to fix; the psychological effects, however, were far less easy to predict, explain, or resolve: Sacks experienced paralysis and an inability to perceive his leg as his own, instead seeing it as some kind of alien and inanimate object, over which he had no control. A Leg to Stand On is both an account of Sacks’ ordeal and subsequent recovery, and an exploration of the ways in which mind and body are inextricably linked.

Publisher: Picador
ISBN-10: 0330507621

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Clark, Rachel. A Long Walk Home

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“Dr Reynolds was a young woman, only a few years older than I was. I rather liked her. We sat down and chatted, exchanging social pleasantries for a while. So, what did the path. results show? Do you know what it is?’ I asked, trying to get down to the issue that had been gnawing at my mind constantly for over a week. I don’t think it will mean that much to you’ she replied. Now, obviously the first question you will have is how long have you got’ she looked directly at me and I’m afraid I can’t tell you.’ I was confused. What was she talking about? I’m sorry’ I started haltingly, I don’t understand what you mean. Do you mean how long it is going to take until I’m better? How long the treatment is going to take?’ No’ she hesitated, I meant how long you have got to live’ she paused and I’m afraid I can’t tell you because I’m not an oncologist.’

Here was another medical word I was expected to understand. What was an oncologist’, and why wasn’t one here, whatever they were? Half-formed questions tumbled around inside my head. To each poorly articulated question that stumbled out of my mouth she seemed to answer I don’t know, I’m not an oncologist.’ She was right, she wasn’t, where was this elusive beast? Come back on Monday morning’ she told me. Her parting remark stuck in my mind. Please don’t go and jump off Sydney Harbour Bridge.’ At least she didn’t attempt to tell me to have a nice weekend’. She didn’t know that I didn’t know I had cancer. She didn’t know.

A Long Walk Home is Rachel Clark’s evocative and moving account of her treatment and experiences with health professionals in Britain and Australia while she was living with, and dying from, cancer. It includes an Epilogue by her twin sister Naomi Jefferies, and learning points for health professionals by John Hasler and David Pendleton.”

Publisher: CRC Press
Year: 2003
ISBN-10: 1857759060

Guevara, Ernesto ‘Che’. The Motorcycle Diaries

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“In January 1952, two young men from Buenos Aires set out to explore South America on a 500cc Norton. One of them was the twenty-three-year-old Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara.

Written eight years before the Cuban Revolution, these are the diaries of Che Guevara, full of disasters and discoveries, high drama and laddish improvisations. Touring through Argentina, Chile, Peru and Venezuela, his greatest concerns are where the next drink is coming from, where the next bed is to be found and who might be around to share it. Within a decade Che Guevara would be a household name. His trip might have been the adventure of a lifetime – had his lifetime not turned into a much greater adventure.”

Publisher: Harper Perennial
Year: 2004
ISBN-10: 0007172338

Didion, Joan.The Year of Magical Thinking

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“Several days before Christmas 2003, John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion saw their only daughter, Quintana, fall ill. At first they thought it was flu, then pneumonia, then complete sceptic shock. She was put into an induced coma and placed on life support. Days later – the night before New Year’s Eve –the Dunnes were just sitting down to dinner after visiting the hospital when John suffered a massive and fatal coronary. In a second, this close, symbiotic partnership of 40 years was over. Four weeks later, their daughter pulled through. Two months after that, arriving at LA airport, she collapsed and underwent six hours of brain surgery at UCLA Medical Centre to relieve a massive hematoma.

This powerful book is Didion’s ‘attempt to make sense of the weeks and then months that cut loose any fixed idea I ever had about death, about illness … about marriage and children and memory … about the shallowness of sanity, about life itself’. The result is an exploration of an intensely personal yet universal experience: a portrait of a marriage, and a life, in good times and bad.”

Publisher: Harper Perennial
Year: 2006
ISBN-10: 0007216858

Spufford, Francis. The Child that Books Built.

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“Children’s books – from Narnia to The Hobbit – are celebrated in this enlightened examination of the joys of childhood reading.

Fairy tales and Where the Wild Things Are, The Lord of the Rings and the Narnia books, Little House on the Prairie and The Earthsea Trilogy. What would you find if you went back and re-read your favourite books from childhood? Francis Spufford discovers both delight and sadness, in this widely celebrated memoir of a boy who retreats into books, faced with a tragedy in his family.”

Publisher: Faber & Faber
Year: 2003
ISBN-10: 0571214673

Miller, Sue. The Story of My Father

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“In the spring of 1986, Sue Miller found herself more and more deeply involved in caring for her father as he slipped into the grasp of Alzheimer’s disease. “The Story of My Father” is a profound, deeply moving account of her father’s final days and her own response to it. With care, restraint and consummate skill, Miller writes of her struggles to be fully with her father in his illness while confronting her own terror of abandonment, and eventually the long, hard work of grieving for him. And through this candid, painful record, she offers a rigorous, compassionate inventory of two lives, a powerful meditation on the variable nature of memory and the difficulty of weaving a truthful narrative from the threads of a dissolving life.”

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Year: 2004
ISBN-10: 0747565228

Longden, Deric. Lost For Words

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“Deric Longden’s mum was a wonderfully endearing, eccentric lady whose passions ranged from pot plants and her beloved pussycats to Buttercup Syrup which she consumed in vast quantities. She also provided comfort, advice and her own particular brand of wisdom in the years when Deric was struggling after the death of his first wife, Diana. Deric’s many happy memories include the vision of his mother’s unmistakeable backside as she charged through Marks & Spencers; the way in which she charmed everyone she met, including the surliest of youths, and her unusual technique of selling a house which involved plying potential buyers with iced buns whilst pointing out the damp patches and dodgy electrics. Strangely, it worked. Lost For Words is a funny, poignant and ultimately heartwarming book that may well make you cry, but will certainly make you laugh.”

Publisher: Corgi
Year: 1998
ISBN-10: 0552139432

Bennett, Alan. Untold Stories

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“Untold Stories contains significant previously unpublished work, including a poignant memoir of his family and of growing up in Leeds, together with his much celebrated diary for the years 1996-2004, and numerous other exceptional essays, reviews and comic pieces. Bennett, as always, is both amusing and poignant, whether he’s discussing his modest childhood or his work with figures such as Maggie Smith, Thora Hird and John Gielgud.”

Publisher: Faber & Faber
Year: 2006
ISBN-10: 0571228313

Schwalbe, Will. The End of Your Life Book Club

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“Mary Anne Schwalbe is waiting for her chemotherapy treatments when Will casually asks her what she’s reading. The conversation they have grows into tradition: soon they are reading the same books so they can have something to talk about in the hospital waiting room. Their choices range from classic (Howards End) to popular (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), from fantastic (The Hobbit) to spiritual (Jon Kabat-Zinn), with many in between. We hear their passion for reading and their love for each other in their intimate and searching discussions.
A profoundly moving testament to the power of love between a child and parent, and the power of reading in our lives.”

Publisher: Two Roads
Year: 2013
ISBN-10: 1444706381


Briggs, Raymond. Ethel & Ernest: A True Story

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“Ethel and Ernest were solid members of the English working class, part of the generation that lived through the most tumultuous years of the twentieth century. They met during the Depression–she working as a maid, he as a milkman–and we follow them as they court and marry, make a home, raise their son, and cope with the dark days of World War II. Briggs’s portrayal of how his parents succeeded, or failed, in coming to terms with the events of their rapidly shifting world–the advent of radio, television, and telephones; the development of the atomic bomb; the moon landing; the social and political turmoil of the sixties–is irresistibly engaging, full of sympathy and affection, yet clear-eyed and unsentimental.”

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Year: 1999
ISBN-10: 0375407588

Rentzenbrink, Cathy. The Last Act of Love: The Story of My Brother and His Sister

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“In the summer of 1990, Cathy’s brother Matty was knocked down by a car on the way home from a night out. It was two weeks before his GCSE results, which turned out to be the best in his school. Sitting by his unconscious body in hospital, holding his hand and watching his heartbeat on the monitors, Cathy and her parents willed him to survive. They did not know then that there are many and various fates worse than death.

This is the story of what happened to Cathy and her brother, and the unimaginable decision that she and her parents had to make eight years after the night that changed everything. It’s a story for anyone who has ever watched someone suffer or lost someone they loved or lived through a painful time that left them forever changed. Told with boundless warmth and affection, The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink is a heartbreaking yet uplifting testament to a family’s survival and the price we pay for love.”

Publisher: Picador
Year: 2015
ISBN-10: 1447286375

Granger, Kate. The Bright Side.


“The Bright Side tells the on-going story of a young doctor who is living with a rare and aggressive type of sarcoma that will end her life prematurely. It explores her return to work after a prolonged period of absence, her innermost thoughts and reflections about dying and her continuing interactions with health services. It also portrays her determined attitude to maintain positivity despite her tragic circumstances and her openness about dying.”

For more information and links >click here<

Granger, Kate. The Other Side

the_other_side theother3d

“A true story of one doctor’s journey as a patient coming to terms with a terminal cancer diagnosis. The hope is that by reading it healthcare professionals will be better able understand exactly what being the patient is really like and how their behaviours, no matter how small can impact massively on the people they look after. It is also a story of personal battles with control, learning how and when to relinquish this.”

For more information and links >click here<

Publisher: Kate Granger
ISBN-10: 1471625850

Pausch, Randy; Zaslow, Jeffrey. The Last Lecture: Lessons in Living

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“A lot of professors give talks titled ‘The Last Lecture’. Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?
When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn’t have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave, ‘Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams’, wasnt about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because time is all you have and you may find one day that you have less than you think). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.
In this book, Randy Pausch has combined the humour, inspiration, and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and given it an indelible form. It is a book that will be shared for generations to come.”

Watch a recording of the lecture at YouTube – > Here <

Publisher: Two Roads
Year: 2010
ISBN-10: 0340978503

Sacks, Oliver. On the Move: A Life.

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When Oliver Sacks was twelve years old, a perceptive schoolmaster wrote in his report: ‘Sacks will go far, if he does not go too far’. It is now abundantly clear that Sacks has never stopped going. From its opening pages on his youthful obsession with motorcycles and speed, On the Move is infused with his restless energy. As he recounts his experiences as a young neurologist in the early 1960s, first in California and then in New York, where he discovered a long-forgotten illness in the back wards of a chronic hospital, as well as with a group of patients who would define his life, it becomes clear that Sacks’s earnest desire for engagement has occasioned unexpected encounters and travels – sending him through bars and alleys, over oceans, and across continents.

‘On the Move’ is the story of a brilliantly unconventional physician and writer – and of the man who has illuminated the many ways that the brain makes us human.

Publisher: Picador
Year: 2015
ISBN-10: 1447264045

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Marchetto, Marissa. Cancer Vixen


“What happens when a shoe-crazy, lipstick-obsessed, wine-swilling, pasta-slurping, fashion-fanatic, about-to-get-married big-city girl cartoonist with a fabulous life finds . . . a lump in her breast?” That’s the question that sets this powerful, funny, and poignant graphic memoir in motion. In vivid color and with a taboo-breaking sense of humor, Marisa Acocella Marchetto tells the story of her eleven-month, ultimately triumphant bout with breast cancer—from diagnosis to cure, and every challenging step in between.

Publisher: Pantheon Books
Year: 2009
ISBN-10: 037571474X

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For a review on the Graphic Medicine site click >here<

Tristram, Matilda. Probably Nothing: A Diary of Not Your Average Nine Months


At 31, Matilda Tristram was 17 weeks pregnant and looking forward to having her first baby. Then she discovered she had bowel cancer.

This touching and hilarious graphic memoir, which is never morose or self-pitying, starts at the moment Matilda was diagnosed and ends when her course of chemotherapy finishes in October 2013. Recording the awkward conversations, the highs and lows of treatment, the mixed blessings of receiving ‘Get Well’ cards, and the reality of still having to queue too long for croissants, Matilda captures her experiences with style and warmth. Along the way she learns to cherish the small details of life. Her beautiful and boisterous son was born without complications and is reliably keeping her up most nights.

Publisher: Viking
Year: 2014
ISBN-10: 0241004152

Johnstone, Matthew. I Had a Black Dog

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There are many different breeds of Black Dog affecting millions of people from all walks of life. The Black Dog is an equal opportunity mongrel.
It was Winston Churchill who popularized the phrase Black Dog to describe the bouts of depression he experienced for much of his life.
Matthew Johnstone, a sufferer himself, has written and illustrated this moving and uplifting insight into what it is like to have a Black Dog as a companion and how he learned to tame it and bring it to heel.

Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2007
ISBN-10: 1845295897

Fies, Brian. Mom’s Cancer

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An honest, unflinching, and sometimes humorous look at the practical and emotional effect that serious illness can have on patients and their families, “Mom’s Cancer” is a story of hope–uniquely told in words and illustrations. Brian Fies is a freelance journalist whose mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. As he and his two sisters struggled with the effects of her illness and her ongoing recovery from treatment, Brian processed the experience in his journal, which took the form of words and pictures.

Publisher: Abrams
Year: 2010
ISBN-10: 0810971070

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Small, David. Stitches: A Memoir

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One day David Small awoke from a supposedly harmless operation to discover that he had been transformed into a virtual mute. A vocal cord removed, his throat slashed and stitched together like a bloody boot, the fourteen-year-old boy had not been told that he had cancer and was expected to die. In Stitches, Small, the award-winning children’s illustrator and author, re-creates this terrifying event in a life story that might have been imagined by Kafka. As the images painfully tumble out, one by one, we gain a ringside seat at a gothic family drama where David-a highly anxious yet supremely talented child-all too often became the unwitting object of his parents’ buried frustration and rage. Believing that they were trying to do their best, David’s parents did just the reverse. Edward Small, a Detroit physician, who vented his own anger by hitting a punching bag, was convinced that he could cure his young son’s respiratory problems with heavy doses of radiation, possibly causing David’s cancer. Elizabeth, David’s mother, tyrannically stingy and excessively scolding, ran the Small household under a cone of silence where emotions, especially her own, were hidden. Depicting this coming-of-age story with dazzling, kaleidoscopic images that turn nightmare into fairy tale, Small tells us of his journey from sickly child to cancer patient, to the troubled teen whose risky decision to run away from home at sixteen-with nothing more than the dream of becoming an artist-will resonate as the ultimate survival statement. A silent movie masquerading as a book, Stitches renders a broken world suddenly seamless and beautiful again.

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Year: 2009
ISBN-10: 0393068579

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Green Katie. Lighter than my Shadow

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Like most kids, Katie was a picky eater. She’d sit at the table in silent protest, hide uneaten toast in her bedroom, listen to parental threats that she’d have to eat it for breakfast.

But in any life a set of circumstance can collide, and normal behaviour might soon shade into something sinister, something deadly.

Lighter Than My Shadow is a hand-drawn story of struggle and recovery, a trip into the black heart of a taboo illness, an exposure of those who are so weak as to prey on the vulnerable, and an inspiration to anybody who believes in the human power to endure towards happiness.

Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Year: 2013
ISBN-10: 0224090984

24page preview

Explore the website >here<


Leavitt, Sarah.Tangles: Alzheimer’s, My Mother, and Me

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What do you do when your outspoken, passionate, and quick-witted mother starts fading into a forgetful, fearful woman? In this powerful graphic memoir, Sarah Leavitt reveals how Alzheimer’s disease transformed her mother Midge–and her family–forever.In spare black and white drawings and clear, candid prose, Sarah shares her family’s journey through a harrowing range of emotions–shock, denial, hope, anger, frustration–all the while learning to cope, and managing to find moments of happiness. Midge, a Harvard-educated intellectual, struggles to comprehend the simplest words; Sarah’s father Rob slowly adapts to his new role as full-time caretaker, but still finds time for word-play and poetry with his wife; Sarah and her sister Hannah argue, laugh, and grieve together as they join forces to help Midge get to sleep, rage about family friends who have disappeared, or collapse in tears at the end of a heartbreaking day.”Tangles” provides a window on the complexity of Alzheimer’s disease, and ultimately opens a knot of moments, memories, and dreams to reveal a bond between a mother and a daughter that will never come apart.

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
Year: 2012
ISBN-10: 1616086394

Read a review on Graphic Medicine site >here<

Miller, George (dir). Lorenzo’s Oil


A boy develops a disease so rare that nobody is working on a cure, so his father decides to learn all about it and tackle the problem himself.

Producers: Doug Mitchell, George Miller
Year: 1992
Director: George Miller
Writer: George Miller, Nick Enright

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McGuiness, Frank. A Short Stay in Switzerland

This TV programme is made available via the Education Recording Agency (ERA) licence, as such the following link will only work via a computer on the HYMS network.

>click here<

Having recently witnessed the death of her husband from a neurological disease, Anne Turner is diagnosed with a near-identical illness and determines to end her life once her condition has reached a critical point.

As her health deteriorates, Anne’s son and two daughters struggle to reach a consensus over their mother’s intentions and while they search for alternative options, silent recriminations and stubborn practicality threaten to tear the family apart. With her family at logger heads, Anne must also face the fury of her best friend, whose opposing views bring them into direct conflict.

Eyre, Richard (dir). Iris


A biographical film that tells the story of novelist Iris Murdoch and her relationship with John Bayley. The film contrasts the start of their relationship, when Murdoch (Kate Winslet) was an outgoing, dominant individual as compared to her timid and scholarly partner Bayley (Hugh Bonneville), and their later life, when Murdoch (Judi Dench) was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and tended to by a frustrated Bayley (Jim Broadbent) in their North Oxford home in Charlbury Road.

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Fadiman, Anne. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures.

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When three-month-old Lia Lee Arrived at the county hospital emergency room in Merced, California, a chain of events was set in motion from which neither she nor her parents nor her doctors would ever recover. Lia’s parents, Foua and Nao Kao, were part of a large Hmong community in Merced, refugees from the CIA-run “Quiet War” in Laos. The Hmong, traditionally a close-knit and fiercely independent people, have been less amenable to assimilation than most immigrants, adhering steadfastly to the rituals and beliefs of their ancestors. Lia’s pediatricians, Neil Ernst and his wife, Peggy Philip, cleaved just as strongly to another tradition: that of Western medicine. When Lia Lee Entered the American medical system, diagnosed as an epileptic, her story became a tragic case history of cultural miscommunication.

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Year: 1997
ISBN-10: 0374525641

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B, David. Epileptic

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The most acclaimed European graphic novel of the last ten years, Epileptic is David B.’s story of his brother’s battle with epilepsy – but it turns into a penetrating and sometimes lacerating self-examination on the author’s part, as he delves into his own complex emotions and his family’s troubled history, as well as his own youthful fantasy life. Particularly pointed is his description of the family journey from one attempted cure to another, including acupuncture, spiritualism and macrobiotics.

Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Year: 2006
ISBN-10: 0224079204

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Buehler, Phillip. Woody Guthrie’s Wardy Forty: Greystone Park State Hospital Revisited


Through never-before-published letters, historic family photographs, and rare personal interviews, Woody Guthrie’s Wardy Forty explores the five years Woody spent at Greystone Park State Hospital in New Jersey. Woody was a patient there from 1956 – 1961, in Ward 40 and called it “Wardy Forty.” Through contemporary photographs of the now-abandoned hospital, these years are brought to life and provide a mysterious glimpse into a deserted bygone era.

Ligocka, Roma. The Girl In The Red Coat

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Roma Ligocka has lived multiple lives over the last fifty years – artist, theatrical designer, bohemian nomad, political activist, wife, mother – but she was first ‘the girl in the red coat’ . Famously picked out in red in the black and white footage of Spielberg’s ‘Schindler’s List’ it was only when she saw the image of herself on screen that she realised the extent of her failure to come to terms with the anguish of her childhood. This powerful memoir revisits the horror of her early years and reveals how far its effects have reached throughout her life. Leading an apparently successful life, she has nonetheless often been at the mercy of depressions. Now, after 50 years, she is able to write about honestly examining the scars of a traumatic childhood and getting past sorrow while still acknowledging the truth of the past.

Publisher: Sceptre
Year: 2003
ISBN-10: 0340819073

Brittain, V. Testament of Youth


One of the most famous autobiographies of the First World War, is Brittain’s account of how she urvived the period; how she lost the man she loved; how she nursed the wounded and how she emerged into an altered world. A passionate record of a lost generation, it made Vera Brittain one of the best-loved writers of her time.

Publisher: Virago
Year 2004
ISBN-10: 0860680355

Alexander, SH. She Touched the World: Laura Bridgman, Deaf-Blind Pioneer



When she was just two years old, Laura Bridgman lost her sight, her hearing, and most of her senses of smell and taste. At the time, no one believed a child with such severe disabilities could be taught to communicate, much less lead a full and productive life. But then a progressive doctor, who had just opened the country’s first school for the blind in Boston, took her in. Laura learned to communicate, read, and write—and eventually even to teach. By the age of 12, she was world famous.
Audiences flocked to see her, and she was loved and admired by children everywhere. This fascinating and moving biography shows how Laura Bridgman paved the way for future generations of children with disabilities, making possible important advances in the way they would be educated. As a blind person with some hearing loss, Sally Hobart Alexander lends a unique and intimate perspective to this inspiring account. At last, the story of Laura Bridgman can find its long-deserved place alongside those of Louis Braille and Helen Keller.

Publisher: Clarion Books
Year: 2008
ISBN-10: 0618852999

Armstrong, L. It’s not about the bike: my journey back to life.

People around the world have found inspiration in the story of Lance Armstrong–a world-class athlete nearly struck down by cancer, only to recover and win the Tour de France.

Author: Armstrong,

Yellow Jersey Press

Year: 2001
ISBN: 0224060872

Viewers Comments:

Perhaps an even more interesting book to read in 2013 than it was in 2001 – it clearly was indeed not all about the bike.

Happy to donate my copy of this book to anyone who might want it!

Carson, Ben. Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story

Gifted hands, an autobiographical glimpse into the life of one of the top American Neurosurgeon who went from being a “common black boy” in the inner-city Detroit, Michigan to being the director of paediatric neurosurgery. M.D., Ben Carson mother Sonya Carson, one of 24 children and a third grade school dropout, married at the age 13 and later divorced when Ben was young.  As an uneducated single parent, Sonya found it difficult to raise her children and as a result Ben resorted into being a “Ghetto Boy” full on uncontrollable temper tantrums.  However, somehow along the way his mother managed to motivate Ben under strict rules of study before play – a strategy that led to the development of M.D Ben Carson, a leader in paediatric neurosurgery.   One of his famous works includes performing separating a pair of seven-month-old German conjoined twins in 1987, who were joined at the head; he also lead team that lead to the separation of and Luka Banda, infant boys from Zambia in 1997.

Author: M.D., Ben Carson
Title: Gifted Hands
Publisher: Grand Rapids, Mich. : ZondervanPublishingHouse
Year: 1996, ©1990.
ISBN:  ISBN 0-310-21469-6

Viewer Comments:


A “common” black boy from an impoverished and single parenthood home to become a top American neurosurgeon, and the Director of Paediatric Neurosurgery at John Hopkins Hospital??? What? Are you dreaming??!! Who would have thought this would happen in America especially in the 70s – an era of the turmoil of social and race distinctions?

This is a truly motivating and inspiring well paced autobiography for anyone.  For me, after reading this book, my faith in God was re-affirmed. I assure you that after reading this book, you’ll walk away a changed person.


Other Books by M.D., Ben Carson

Think Big: Unleashing your Potential for Excellence

Take the Risk: Learning to Identify, Choose and Live with Acceptable Risk

The Big Picture: Getting Perspective on What’s really Important in Life

I was given a copy of this book whilst living in Michigan and finally got round to reading it this summer. Inspiring story, especially as a Christian, who like Ben Carson, attributes any gifts or skills i may possess as a gift from God and not of myself.

Isherwood, Christopher. Goodbye to Berlin

“I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking,” are the famous lines on the first page. This a semi-autobiographical account of Isherwood’s time in 1930s Berlin.

Written as a connected series of six short stories the book, first published in 1939, is a brilliant evocation of the decadence and repression, glamour and sleaze of Berlin society. Isherwood shows the lives of people at threat from the rise of the Nazis: Natalia Laundauer, the rich, Jewish heiress, Peter and Otto, a gay couple andthe “divinely decadent” Sally Bowles, a young English woman who was so memorably portrayed by Liza Minnelli.

Jonathan Lloyd HYMS: The original book on which “Cabaret” was based, on the surface it is about the disintegration of society and the rise of fascism, underneath it is also about hedonism, repression, love, sexuality and growing up etc etc ….. I think you could read the book then watch the film!

Publisher: Vintage Classics
ISBN-10: 0749390549

Winterson Jeanette. Why be Happy when you could be Normal?

This book is the story of a life’s work to find happiness. It is a book full of stories: about a girl locked out of her home, sitting on the doorstep all night; about a tyrant in place of a mother, who has two sets of false teeth and a revolver in the duster drawer, waiting for Armageddon; about growing up in an northern industrial town now changed beyond recognition, part of a community now vanished; about the Universe as a Cosmic Dustbin. It is the story of how the painful past Jeanette Winterson thought she had written over and repainted returned to haunt her later life, and sent her on a journey into madness and out again, in search of her real mother. It is also a book about other people’s stories, showing how fiction and poetry can form a string of guiding lights, a life-raft which supports us when we are sinking.

Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Year: 2011
ISBN-10: 0224093452

McCrum, R. My Year Off: Rediscovering life after a stroke

‘When I was just forty-two I suffered a severe stroke. Paralysed on my left side and unable to walk, I was confined to hospital for three months, then spent about a year recovering, slowly getting myself back into the world. When I was seriously ill in hospital, I longed to read a book that would tell me that I might expect in convalescence and also give me something to think about. . .’

Publisher: Picador
Year: 2008
ISBN: 033045711X

Rose, G. Love’s Work

In a memoir by turns brilliant and exasperating, Rose, who teaches philosophy in England, travels between the adjoining territories of love and death after being diagnosed with-and receiving brutal and ambiguously effective treatment for-abdominal cancer. “Keep your mind in hell, and despair not,” he admonishes herself, rejecting both the uncertain certainties of traditional medicine and the sterile idealism of New Age healing. Instead, she puts her shoulder to the wheel of “love’s work,” getting down in the muck of mortal experience rather than training futilely to rise above it. Along the way, Rose discusses such worldly subjects as growing up with dyslexia and divorce, finding relief from deadening school lessons on Plato and Pascal and sharing a bed with a Catholic priest. She doesn’t wear her extravagant learning lightly (Greek- and German-studded passages and the constant reaching for aphorism may alarm the uninitiated), but her unusual love story rewards the labor it demands. It cuts to the quick.

Author: Rose, Gillian
Title: Love’s Work
Publisher: NYRB Classics
Year: 2010
ISBN: 1590173651

Levi, Primo. The Periodic Table

A chemist by training, Primo Levi became one of the supreme witnesses to twentieth-century atrocity. In these haunting reflections inspired by the elements of the periodic table, he ranges from young love to political savagery; from the inert gas argon – and ‘inert’ relatives like the uncle who stayed in bed for twenty-two years – to life-giving carbon. ‘Iron’ honours the mountain-climbing resistance hero who put iron in Levi’s student soul, ‘Cerium’ recalls the improvised cigarette lighters which saved his life in Auschwitz, while ‘Vanadium’ describes an eerie post-war correspondence with the man who had been his ‘boss’ there. All are written with characteristically understated eloquence and shot through with deep humanity.

Publisher: Penguin Classics
Year: 2000
ISBN: 0141185147

(afraid Hull currently only has in the original Italian
“Il sistema periodico”, but you are a cosmopolitan bunch.)

Viewer Comments:


This was the first book I read by Primo Levi, it is a real mix. Each chapter has the title of an element, and develops (loosely) round that topic. If you find one chapter ‘heavy’ (the first one can seem a bit dull on first read) try another, they are all free-standing and all very different. I just re-read the chapter on ‘carbon’ that simply tells the life-story of a carbon atom. I don’t think this is Levi’s best work – his writing on his time in Auschwitz ‘If this is a Man’ is, for me, one of
the last century’s truly great books – but, sticking to our brief of the suggestions for where art throws lights on science and medicine I think its the best fit for ‘Worth a Look?’

Levi, Primo. If this is a Man

Janine Henderson HYMS: Wonderful narrative of Levi`s time in Auschwitz which departs from what you might expect in that it is not a detailed account of his own suffering but much more a kind of anthropological observation of man`s behaviour under duress. He manages to be almost entirely non-judgmental, despite the atrocities which he is witnessing and experiencing, trying to understand the behaviours of his fellow men in the context which creates them. Despite his  apparent positivity, Levi died 40 years later in what many assume was a suicidal fall down a stairwell. Wonderful quote from fellow survivor Elie Weisel “Primo Levi died at Auschwitz forty years earlier.”

Publisher: Abacus
ISBN-10: 0349100136

Plath, S. The Bell Jar

This novel is semi-autobiographical with the names of places and people changed. It is often regarded as a roman à clef, with the protagonist’s descent into mental illness paralleling Plath’s own experiences with what may have been either bipolar disorder or clinical depression.

Author:Plath, Sylvia
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Year: 2005
ISBN: 0571226167

 (spoiler alert)

Shadyac, Tom (dir). Patch Adams

Producers: Mike Farrell, Barry Kemp, Marvin Minoff, Charles Newirth, Marsha Garces
Year: 1998
Director: Tom Shadyac
Screenplay: Steve Oedekerk

Gofannon Le Boutillier HYMS student: In this biographical drama Robin Williams stars as the real life American physician Dr Hunter ‘Patch’ Adams.

Patch founded the Gesundheit Institute in 1971, a non-profit health care organization founded on the principle that one cannot separate the health of the individual from the health of the family, the community, the world or the health care system itself. The institute began life in West Virginia as a free community hospital staffed entirely by volunteers. Central to its ethos is the philosophy that laughter and play are essential components of effective medical care. Today, Gesundheit runs a global outreach programme and has provided humanitarian aid, medical education and clowning missions in over 65 countries. 

The film opens with Adams committing himself into a psychiatric hospital. Depressed and suicidal, he seeks deliverance through the medical profession. However, life as a patient is not easy and in the sterile, sombre confines of the hospital, he struggles with his cold and uncompassionate psychiatrist. Patch gradually begins to bond with his fellow patients and through them is inspired to become a doctor. In one hilarious scene, Adams’s cellmate trembles in fear as imaginary squirrels encircle his bed. Patch dispatches the furry menace with an imaginary bazooka and a doctor is born!

Fast forward two years and Patch begins medical school where he soon bumps heads with the pompous Dean Walcott. The Dean, a staunch advocate of distancing oneself from the patient to effectively treat disease proclaims; “our job is to rigorously and ruthlessly train the humanity out of you and make you into something better. We’re gonna make doctors out of you.” Unconvinced by such rhetoric, trouble begins when Patch starts making unauthorised ward rounds and befriending patients.

A scene where Adams entertains children on a cancer ward using his own brand of slapstick clowning (substituting an enema bulb for a clowns nose) is particularly touching. The stage is set for a climatic showdown as the dedicated Adams ruffles the administrative feathers of Dean Walcott.

Robin Williams is expertly cast as the warm hearted, maverick medical student and has some of the best lines in the film “You treat a disease, you win, you loose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you’ll win, no matter what the outcome.” The script is genuinely funny (look out for the gynaecological convention) and there are just enough dramatic twists to keep things interesting.

What would Patch make of medical education today?
As set out by the GMC in Tomorrow’s Doctors (2009) and Good Medical Practice (2006), effective communication and a patient-centred approach to healthcare are at the forefront of UK undergraduate and postgraduate curricula. Through innovative teaching practices such as Problem Based Learning and early patient contact, today’s medical graduates work in partnership with their patients. Patient’s views about their own health are valued and their concerns and preferences are given voice.

I’m sure the real Patch would approve. So, should Patch Adams be required viewing for doctors? Perhaps not, but if you think laughter really is the best medicine and are prepared to overlook the sentimental Hollywood clichés, then you won’t go far wrong with his thoughtful and intelligent film.

Lawrence, J. Lawrence, R. When the Fighting is Over

Andy Davidson (HYMS): Robert Lawrence, shot by a sniper in the Falklands war, sustained a severe head wound and the book details how he came to terms with his injury and its effects.

Title: When the Fighting is Over: A Personal Story of the Battle for Tumbledown Mountain and Its Aftermath
Author: Lawrence, J. Lawrence, R.
Publisher: 22 Books
Year: 1990
ISBN: 1862380015

Lees, A and Kennedy, R. Ray of Hope: The Ray Kennedy Story

Former Liverpool & England footballer who developed Parkinson’s Disease at 35 (If you don’t remember the late 1970’s here he is in his prime)

Title: Ray of Hope: The Ray Kennedy Story
Authors: Lees, A & Kennedy, R
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Year: 1994
ISBN: 0140172610

Keenan, B. An evil cradling

Candidly evoking a hostage’s despair, an Irish socialist and teacher kidnapped by Beirut fundamentalists and held for more than four years recreates the link that he and a fellow hostage, an upper-class English journalist, share.

Author: Keenan, Brian
Title: An evil cradling
Publisher: Vintage
Year: 1993
ISBN: 009999030X

Campo, R. The poetry of healing: a doctors education in empathy, identity and desire

The author reveals his spiritual and psychological development as a doctor, discussing his passions and fears as well as his life as a doctor, poet, Hispanic American, and gay man

Author: Campo, Rafael
Title: The poetry of healing: a doctors education in empathy, identity and desire
Publisher: WW Norton & Co
Year: 1998
ISBN: 0393317714

Bayley, J. Iris – A memoir of Iris Murdoch

John Bayley was married to the writer Dame Iris Murdoch from 1956 until her death in 1999.  When Iris was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, he wrote the book Iris: A Memoir of Iris Murdoch, which was made into the 2001 film Iris by Richard Eyre.  When Iris begins experiencing forgetfulness and dementia, the ever-doltish but devoted John struggles with hopelessness and frustration to become her caretaker, as his wife’s mind deteriorates from the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease.

Author: Bayley, John
Title: Iris: a memoir of Iris Murdoch
Publisher: London,
Year: 1998
ISBN: 0715628488

Bliss, Michael. William Osler: A Life in Medicine

William Osler was born in a parsonage in backwoods Canada on July 12, 1849. In a life lasting seventy years, he practiced, taught, and wrote about medicine at Canada’s McGill University, America’s Johns Hopkins University, and finally as Regius Professor at Oxford. At the time of his death in England in 1919, many considered him to be the greatest doctor in the world. Osler, who was a brilliant, innovative teacher and a scholar of the natural history of disease, revolutionized the art of practicing medicine at the bedside of his patients. He was idolized by two generations of medical students and practitioners for whom he came to personify the ideal doctor. But much more than a physician, Osler was a supremely intelligent humanist. In both his writings and his personal life, and through the prism of the tragedy of the Great War, he embodied the art of living. It was perhaps his legendary compassion that elevated his healing talents to an art form and attracted to his private practice students, colleagues, poets (Walt Whitman for example) politicians, royalty, and nameless ordinary people with extraordinary conditions. William Osler’s life lucidly illuminates the times in which he lived. Indeed, this is a book not only about the evolution of modern medicine, the training of doctors, holism in medical thought, and the doctor-patient relationship, but also about humanism, Victorianism, the Great War, and much else. Meticulously researched, drawing on many new sources and offering new interpretations, William Osler: A Life in Medicine brings to life both a fascinating man and the formative age of twentieth-century medicine. It is a classic biography of a classic life, both authoritative and highly readable.

Year: 1999
ISBN-10: 0195123468