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?
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.
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.
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 – 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.
Broken Brain: Brutally Honest, Brutally Me
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.
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.
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
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"
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
My Pensive Moods
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 – 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.
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.
Sickbed To Summits: The Story Of Triumph Over Adversity
“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."
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 Janettells@gmail.com.
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.
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.
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
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 – 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.
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
Think Positive For Brain Tumour Research
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.