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Recommended Reading

16,000 people diagnosed with a brain tumour every year

Listening to our brain tumour community, we know that sometimes a book can help you to cope, to learn more about the disease, to discover other people’s stories and find inspiration in their words.  

We’ve pulled together a list of brain tumour book titles that we think might be helpful. These books could be useful to anyone living with a brain tumour, having lost someone to the devastating disease, or understanding the challenges facing those who work in front line of treatments.

We’ve summarised the books on this page and provided a link to where you can buy them online. Don’t forget, if you buy from Amazon, you can use Amazon Smile or if shopping on other sites, try using easyfundraising - either way, you can shop online and raise funds for Brain Tumour Research at the same time. What's not to like?


Fightback from a brain tumour: A patient’s book of hope and survival 

“Having survived three craniotomies, with the last being in 2011, and reaching the age of 40, Jason Oliver from Suffolk wanted to do something to help others. Knowing he couldn’t run a marathon, Jason decided to write a book about his brain tumour journey to bring hope and inspiration to others – and this book became his personal marathon".

Purchase this book from AmazonSmile.


The Boy with the Saucepan Hat 

“The Boy with the Saucepan Hat features a Boy and a Saucepan (obviously), some worried parents, a cute baby sister and a loyal best mate, Alan. This is a story about what happens when the unfortunate Oliver Todd takes his head and the saucepan (which is stuck on that head) to the local Accident and Emergency Department. It's one of Martyn Harvey's latest funny books for kids!"

Martyn Harvey (the author) has supported Brain Tumour Research via various fundraising activities, including donating to us for each copy sold for Brain Tumour Awareness Month.

Purchase this book from Penzance Press.

Everything That Makes Us Human

Everything That Makes Us Human - Case Notes of a Children's Brain Surgeon 

“An unflinchingly human memoir- pacy. poignant and ultimately inspiring - by consultant paediatric neurosurgeon at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford and start of the acclaimed BBC fly-on-the-wall series 'Brain Doctors' - Jay Jayahohan"

Purchase this book from Amazon.

A Brain Tumour Travel Tale Cover

A Brain Tumour Travel Tale – Claire Bullimore 

“In 2008 I was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour when I was 25... I keep a diary that I have now turned into this book. The book shows my true emotions and hardships of a brain tumour, surgery, recovery and then the scars inside and out.” – Claire Bullimore

Purchase this book from Amazon.

Admissions - A Life In Brain Surgery Cover

Admissions: A life in Brain Surgery – Henry Marsh 

Henry Marsh has spent a lifetime operating on the surgical frontline. There have been exhilarating highs and devastating lows, but his love for the practice of neurosurgery has never wavered. 

Purchase this book from Amazon.

Gordon Shaw's comic book

Bitter Sweet – Gordon Shaw

This comic book has been created by graphic artist Gordon Shaw, following his diagnosis with a brain tumour to help people gain a greater understanding of cancer and the effect it has on patients. Gordon, who has named his tumour Rick (from the word ‘turmeric’), was diagnosed with a low-grade brain tumour in 2012 which quickly progressed to being high-grade. He is donating 5% of the proceeds from sales to Brain Tumour Research. 

Purchase this book here.

Read Gordon’s brain tumour story here.

Brain Tumours - Living Low Grade Cover

Brain Tumours: Living low grade – Gideon Burrows

Slow growing brain tumours change lives forever. This readable and moving non-technical guide is about living with a low grade tumour, a diagnosis given to thousands of people every year.

Purchase this book from Amazon.

Danny's Journey front cover

Danny’s Journey – Chris Green

The true story of Danny Green’s battle with brain and spine cancer, as told by his dad Chris Green.

Purchase this book from our eBay page.

Do No Harm Cover

Do No Harm – Henry Marsh 

Why has no one ever written a book like this before? It simply tells the stories, with great tenderness, insight and self-doubt, of a phenomenal neurosurgeon…” – The Observer

Purchase this book from Amazon.

The Finch in My Brain cover

The Finch in My Brain: How I forgot how to read but found how to live – Martino Sclavi

"I have a Finch on the left side of my brain, and no matter what happens along the way, I know that it will help me to fly and transform all my handicaps into new ways of seeing and narrating the comedy and drama of everyday life." – Martino Sclavi

Purchase this book from Amazon.

Tanya Malpass' book

The Hope that I Have…to remission and beyond – Dr Tanya Malpass 

Written by a retired A&E consultant who was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumour in 2015, this book is humorous and full of hope and optimism. Tanya encourages the reader to question everything and remain open-minded about what might help to put cancer behind them.

Purchase this book on Kindle, and in print from Tanya’s blog (later also to be available via Amazon) 

Read Tanya’s brain tumour story.

IT’S ALL IN MY HEAD- How to Survive a Brain Tumour and Find Peace of Mind

It's All In My Head: How to Survive a Brain Tumour and Find Peace of Mind – Jo Barlow 

Jo’s real life story of feeling constantly dizzy and drunk for 4 months at the start of 2016, finally getting a MRI, and finding out she needed urgent brain surgery on a Hemangioblastoma (a benign blood vessel tumour) in her cerebellum. Written in the hope that her explaining how she felt both emotionally and the odd physical sensations that worried her, will support and help others who have been diagnosed with a brain tumour, or anyone needing brain surgery.

Purchase this book from Amazon

Read Jo’s brain tumour story.

Jack and Jen Cover

Jack and Jen – Jeni McCrea

The true story of how your world is tipped on its head following a brain cancer diagnosis at a young age.

Purchase this book from Amazon

Cover of Life Matters

Life Matters: How Grief and Horses Changed My Life - Kathryn White 

The true story of Kathryn White, who lost her husband and soulmate Ian to a brain tumour. Kathryn’s world is suddenly shattered into tiny, heart-breaking pieces as she is plunged into widowhood aged 37. It’s testament to her fighting spirit and courage that she begins to rebuild her life, determined to live it to the full.

10% of all profits from sales of this book will be coming to Brain Tumour Research.

Purchase this book from Amazon.


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Like A Hole In The Head – Ivan Noble 

Faced with a desperately hard battle against cancer, Ivan decided he would like to share his experiences with readers of the BBC News website. He hoped it could help demystify a disease that touches so many lives, and would allow people across the world to discuss the disease and share their experiences.

Purchase this book from Amazon.

Living With A Brain Tumour Cover

Living with a brain tumor: A guide to taking control of your treatment – Peter Black

Each year, thousands of people are diagnosed with a brain tumour. Dr. Peter McLaren Black provides an accessible medical resource for adult patients and their families.

Purchase this book from Amazon.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat front cover

The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat – Oliver Sacks 

Oliver Sacks has become the world’s best-known neurologist. His case studies of broken minds offer brilliant insight into the mysteries of consciousness”  – The Guardian. 

Purchase this book from Amazon.

The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind

The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind: A Memoir of Madness and Recovery – Barbara Lipska

When neuroscientist Barbara Lipska was diagnosed with brain cancer, she thought she knew about the physical toll. But she was unprepared for its effect on her behaviour. “I was a caricature of my worst traits.” – Barbara Lipska

Purchase this book from Amazon.

Pear Shaped Cover

Pear Shaped – Adam Blain 

The true story of Adam Blain, a 44-year-old London lawyer and family man who one day, ends up in A&E after a series of headaches and consistent nausea. Expecting to be sent home with a packet of Paracetamol, he’s shocked when harassed doctors are suddenly offering to buy him gourmet coffee. 

Purchase this book from Amazon

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Story Hats for Charlotte! – Janet Dowling

Charlotte is a young girl from Sidmouth, Devon who has a brain tumour. It's her goal to raise £19,000 for Brain Tumour Research - to pay for one week of research. Local storyteller Janet Dowling compiled this collection of traditional tales from around the world (all involving hats) to sell and help her reach her target. Anyone from 5 to 105 years will enjoy them! PLUS there are illustrations of hats (by Vicky Jocher) for you to colour. Two books for the price of one!

To purchase this book, please, contact Janet Dowling at

To live and to die

To Live and To Die – Anjee Gitte Carlsen 

From the moment Anjee's husband is diagnosed with a fatal brain tumour, the couple's life is catapulted onto a new trajectory. They are unwittingly forced onto a long and difficult journey. This period is filled with pain as well as love, and they experience all the intensity and beauty of living daily with life and death. 

Purchase this book from Amazon.

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Toby Teapot's Daddy has a poorly lid – Paula and Richard Middleton

A short story for children that uses accessible characters to help explain to a child about a parent being diagnosed with a brain tumour. It follows Toby the teapot's Daddy through the journey of the first signs and symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

Purchase this book from Amazon.

Until Further Notice, I Am Alive Cover

Until Further Notice, I Am Alive – Tom Lubbock 

In 2008, Tom Lubbock was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour and told he had only two years to live. Physically fit and healthy, and suffering from few symptoms, he faced his death with the same directness and courage that had marked the rest of his life. 

Purchase this book from Amazon.

When Breath Becomes Air Cover

When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi

At the age of 36, on the verge of completing a decade’s training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying next he was a patient struggling to live. 

Purchase this book from Amazon.

You are my sunshine

You are my sunshine: One woman's inspirational battle with illness and disability – Anna Gray

‘You are my sunshine' is the inspiring true story of one woman's battle against illness and disability; it charts her struggles adjusting to her new life and disabilities and the limitations which they bring. The book details her interactions with the medical staff and the progression of her life and her condition; and ultimately time spent in hospital. It tells the story of this woman’s life of illness and her battles to remain positive amidst all the chaos.

Purchase this book from Amazon.

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