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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?

Newly added:

A Different Day by Ash Hunter 

This touching and compassionate tale gently explores themes of loss, grief, and the power of friendship. Young readers are invited to join Lilo on her emotional journey as she discovers the importance of empathy and the comforting role of a true friend. With its delightful illustrations and heartfelt message, A Different Day provides a sensitive and relatable resource for children navigating the complex emotions surrounding death and grief. 

Ash Hunter started writing after a counselling session as a way to deal with her grief over losing her dad, Kenny, in April 2020. Kenny was diagnosed with thyroid cancer a week before his 40th birthday in January 2009. He had his thyroid and lymph nodes removed, and part of a lung four years later, but went on to develop nine secondary brain tumours. 

Purchase the book 

Mummy Has A Lump by Simone Baldwin

Simone Baldwin was diagnosed with a brain tumour when her son was just six years old and struggled to know how to tell him about her diagnosis. She was inspired to write a book to support telling young children that a parent has a “lump” without using the words “tumour” or “cancer”.

This beautifully-illustrated poem is aimed at children aged four to eight years, and can be read together as a supportive way to open discussions. The book includes a description for adults of the author’s own experiences of a brain tumour diagnosis and treatment and how she told her family. 

Simone has also produced Daddy Has A Lump and a Welsh language version.

All In My Head

All In My Head by Jessica Morris

All In My Head is a memoir by a woman who in her early fifties received a life-shattering diagnosis. It is about her determined search for effective treatment, the birth of a campaign to get proper data and funding for research into glioblastoma (GBM), and finally her coming to terms with the knowledge that she has reached the end of the road.

Jessica Morris takes the reader on a whirlwind journey. How does an ordinary person who last studied biology aged sixteen negotiate with world-renowned doctors and surgeons about cutting-edge treatments she must decide between? How do you remain positive when the median statistics suggest you have only fourteen months to live? How instead do you cast those fears aside and bounce back?

All In My Head is much more than a book about GBM. It takes the reader into the life of a woman who when confronted by devastating news chooses to be strong. It is about fighting adversity with hope and finding reasons to be positive in the darkest moments.

Purchase the book via Amazon

All Recommended Reading:

I Pooed Myself

A Brain Tumour’s Travel Tale: Cards On The Table, I Pooed Myself - Claire Bullimore

After her shock diagnosis with a brain tumour, life-saving surgery and years of rehabilitation, Claire, the founder of Aunty M Brain Tumours, a blog and website dedicated to people affected by the disease, has written a book to help others.

Having had it all, a good job, nice boyfriend, lovely friends, Claire discovered she had something she didn’t want – a brain tumour. Even 12 years on, Claire, who underwent surgery for an intraventricular meningioma, is heavily reliant on seizure medication, suffers with fatigue and spasms on one side, has trouble finding words and is partially blind.

Her new book is a story of hope, of recovery and what happens when life doesn’t go according to plan, with the aim of helping others gain a better understanding of how brain tumours can be life-changing, with fundamental physical and mental effects.

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.

A Heart That Works JACKET

A Heart That Works by Rob Delaney

Rob Delaney's beautiful, bright, gloriously alive son Henry died. He was one when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour. An experience beyond comprehension, but
an experience Rob must share. Why does he feel compelled to talk about it, to write about it, to make people feel something like what he feels when he knows it will hurt them? Because, despite Henry's death, Rob still loves people. For that reason, he wants them to understand.

A Heart That Works is an intimate, unflinching and fiercely funny exploration of loss - from the harrowing illness to the vivid, bodily impact of grief and the blind, furious rage that follows, through to the forceful, unstoppable love that remains.

Purchase the book

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.

Broken Brain-Aria

Broken Brain: Brutally Honest, Brutally Me - Dr Aria Nikjooy

Broken Brain: Brutally Honest, Brutally Me is a no-holds-barred account of Aria Nikjooy’s life with a brain tumour. Painfully funny and honest, it is hoped that anyone affected by cancer – patients, family and friends – will draw hope and strength from the book. Raw and inspiring, the book also serves as a manual for medical professionals to understand what a patient goes through and to inspire them to remember the people behind the patients.

Purchase this book here.


Christine Rowe: My Words– S. L. Perrin and Christine Rowe

Christine Rowe was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in February 2021. She died on 21st May, just three months after her diagnosis.

At her funeral, the vicar read out a poem that Christine wrote in the 1960s for her then boyfriend Keith, who she would later marry. Her family discovered that she had written many more poems, which have now been compiled into a book published by her nephew, Steve Perrin.

Christine Rowe: My Words is an eclectic mix of traditional rhyming poems, free verse poems, folk songs and more, covering a range of topics from love and friendship to her favourite band, The Rolling Stones. The book also contains photos and touching messages from Christine’s family.

Proceeds from sales of the book will be donated to Brain Tumour Research in memory of Christine.

Purchase this book on AmazonSmile

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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.

Dark Days (Sue Hammond)covers (2)

Dark Days - Sue Hammond

This book came about after Sue lost her husband Jeff to pancreatic cancer and then her son Tom, 30, to brain cancer, only for her father to die a week later. These tragic events all happened during a devastating 10-month period with Tom coming home to die with his family, rather than remaining alone in a hospice during lockdown restrictions. He left two children aged three and 10.

Sue began writing the book, which started off as a journal, after she found counselling wasn’t helping and she was sliding into alcohol dependency. The book charts events leading up to the deaths of these three hugely significant men in Sue’s life and her grief at their terrible loss, but also shares lovely memories and funny anecdotes.

Sue hopes that her book will help others grieving for loved ones and raise awareness of the symptoms of brain tumours, while highlighting “not to be fobbed off by doctors”.

All proceeds from Dark Days will go to Brain Tumour Research to help find a cure for brain tumours.

Purchase this book from AmazonSmile

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.

Rian Ilett book cover

Every Day is a Battle (Fighting Demons, Jihadis and terminal cancer) - Rian Ilett

In March 2019, after being caught up in an explosion and flown home from the Middle East, Royal Marine Rian Ilett was diagnosed with an aggressive glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumour and given less than 18 months to live. Applying the same positive thought process he had adopted in the military, Rian pushed his body to overcome the doctors’ prognosis. Now nearly three years post-diagnosis, Rian has published a book about his battlefield and brain tumour experiences.

Every Day is a Battle (Fighting Demons, Jihadis and terminal cancer) shares Rian’s unique journey of positivity and ‘never giving up’. It is available from Amazon here.

Read Rian’s brain tumour story

Everything That Makes Us Human

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

“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.


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

“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.

Hope by Tom Parker

Hope: My inspirational life - Tom Parker

As Tom said: “This is not a book about dying: it's a book about living. It's a book about finding hope in whatever situation you're dealt and living your best life no matter what.”

Purchase a copy of the book online


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.


Like A Hole In The Head Cover

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.

Mummy Has A Lump Simone Baldwin

Simone Baldwin was diagnosed with a brain tumour when her son was just six years old and struggled to know how to tell him about her diagnosis. She was inspired to write a book to support telling young children that a parent has a “lump” without using the words “tumour” or “cancer”.

This beautifully-illustrated poem is aimed at children aged four to eight years, and can be read together as a supportive way to open discussions. The book includes a description for adults of the author’s own experiences of a brain tumour diagnosis and treatment and how she told her family. 

Simone has also produced Daddy Has A Lump and a Welsh language version.

my pensive moods

My Pensive Moods - Dixie King

Brain tumour patient, Dixie King, who was given months to live after being diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) has written this heart-felt collection of poems, sharing his thoughts and emotions during his battle with brain cancer and expressing his love for his family. He hopes his work, which contains more than 50 poems and a Foreword by Brain Tumour Research Chief Executive, Sue Farrington Smith MBE, will inspire other cancer patients and their families and is donating the proceeds from sales to Brain Tumour Research to help find a cure.

Read Dixie’s story here

Purchase this book by joining Dixie’s My Pensive Moods Facebook Group here

One Step Beyond

One Step Beyond – Allison Kelba

An authentic account of a teenage girl’s journey through a devastating health diagnosis and a mother's unwavering determination to save her daughter's life.

Allison Kelba was diagnosed with a brain tumour when she was just 16. One Step Beyond is made up of personal journal entries written by Allison and her mum, Terry Ducharme, along with Kelba’s present-day memories and reflections. The book reveals the optimism, light-hearted humour and practical wisdom both women drew upon time and again while confronting recurring hurdles and heart-breaking setbacks. Kelba’s more recent tragic loss of the person most dear to her forms part of the women’s shared story.

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

rev. cover - Regrets (4)

Regrets of the Dying: Stories and Wisdom That Remind Us How to Live – Georgina Scull

If you were told you were going to die tomorrow, what would you regret?

Ten years ago, without time to think or prepare, Georgina Scull experienced a potentially life-threatening medical emergency. As Georgina recovered, she began to consider the life she had led and what she would have left behind.

Paralysed by a fear of wasting what seemed like precious time but also fully ready to learn how to spend her second chance, Georgina set out to meet others who had faced their own mortality or had the end in sight. They include Alan Purvis, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2018.

The people she met taught her what it feels like to know you're running out of time, what tends to stays with you, what you should let go of, what everyone wishes they'd done differently and what it means to have a life well-lived.

Regrets of the Dying is a powerful and hopeful meditation on life and what really matters in the end.

Purchase this book from Amazon


Sickbed To Summits: The Story Of Triumph Over Adversity - Sara Crosland

“When first diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma, like many others, Sara went straight to the internet. Finding seemingly endless accounts of surgery, often with permanent, unwanted side effects, she was determined to make the best of the hand she’d been dealt. Despite a number of serious complications, Sara has returned to living life to the full and beyond, embracing every opportunity and taking on numerous, seemingly impossible challenges. In Sickbeds to Summits Sara documents the ups and downs of life with a brain tumour diagnosis, and how through drive and determination, despite some tough side effects, she has made it through treatment and beyond all expectations."

Purchase this book from AmazonSmile.

book cover

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


The Boy with the Saucepan Hat - Martyn Harvey

“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.

The Elements

The Elements – Kat Lister

What does it mean to become a widow at 35?

In her mid-thirties Kat Lister lost her husband to brain cancer. After five years of being a wife and one of being a carer, in love and in and out of hospitals, she became a widow.

In the year following his death Kat seeks refuge in stories of grief and widowhood, but struggles to find a language that can make sense of her experience and the physicality of bereavement. Instead, she turns to the elements – fire, water, earth, air – on her quest to come to terms with her grief, to inhabit her body again, and to find out who she is now.

The Elements is a story of love, pain, hope and, ultimately, transformation.

Purchase this book here

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.

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.

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Think Positive For Brain Tumour Research - Emma Patrick

Emma Patrick has an incurable brain tumour. Knowing how difficult it can be, she wants to support all those who are suffering.

Think Positive For Brain Tumour Research is a photo book packed with positive images for every day. Inspiring and uplifting, the book also contains positive pictures for you to colour in and spaces for you to write your own positive message and draw your own pictures.

Emma’s goal in life is to help others and make people happy. She hopes to inspire people that it isn’t about what we have in life, but what we can do with what we have.

To purchase this book, please contact Emma at


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.

Walking with my Angel

Walking With My Angel by Adam Scott Campbell

Adam Scott Campbell was first diagnosed with a recurring brain tumour at the age of nine and has lived through the effects, including depression, low self-esteem, emotional isolation and suicidal thoughts.

Thirty years on, he has published Walking With My Angel, a series of poetic letters to and from a heavenly Angel and her mortal companion. He hopes others find hope, encouragement, empowerment and enlightenment from reading them.

Purchase this book using AmazonSmile

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.