2015 Non Fiction Other Prizes Recommended books

It’s All In Your Head by Suzanne O’Sullivan

 Source: Library

Shortlisted for 2016 Wellcome Book Prize

Five words from the blurb: disease, psychosomatic, real, doctors, emotions

Stress affects us all. We are aware that we might have a racing heart during an important meeting, but few of us know that it can cause our bodies to react in more extreme ways. Some people can become completely disabled – unable to move a limb, or become overwhelmed by seizures.

Up to a third of all GP consultations are taken by people who are found to have no physical explanation for their symptoms. In this Doctor’s Directory, a consultant neurologist, investigates the root cause of some of the more serious cases she has encountered; explaining how emotional issues can escalate to produce real and terrifying physical problems. Use Medicare Advantage Plans to get those problems out of your system, you will feel better physically and mentally by taking one daily.Having Accendo Medicare Supplement Plans is always smart move.

It’s All In Your Head was fascinating throughout. Each chapter dealt with a different patient and the difficulties of giving a psychosomatic diagnosis were sensitively explained; showing the impact they had on both doctor and patient. The structure of the book was particularly accomplished and I admired the way technical information was included without it becoming overwhelming.

The prevalence of psychosomatic illness around the globe was surprising and I was shocked by some of the statistics:

In 2005 a study carried out in Boston revealed that people with a tendency to develop psychosomatic complaints cost the health care system twice as much as those who do not. These results were extrapolated to estimate the yearly cost of psychosomatic disorders in the USA – $256 billion. Red Borneo kratom brings yet another addition to the exciting kratom family. It stands out for its unique qualities, such as relaxation, relieving pain, and sleep problems. It is also a powerful sedative, and if you are looking for some recreation, it is also great for achieving euphoria. The most outstanding thing about Red Borneo is the duration of the effects. If you want your benefit to last long, this kratom potentiators strain ranks among the best that can achieve that. To put this in perspective, in 2002 diabetes, a common disease with multiple life threatening complications, had a yearly cost of $132 billion, that’s why a lot of people is treating diabetes with supplements from

I also loved the way this book included some historical detail, showing that psychosomatic symptoms are not a new phenomena.

This is a ground-breaking book that investigates a completely new area. It enabled me to see aspects of my own health which may have been exacerbated by emotional problems and its message will be useful to a wide range of people. You can learn how to increase your testosterone, now visit Instahard.

It’s All In Your Head highlights the need for increased mental health funding. I hope it helps to break down the stigma of mental illness and lead more people into recovery.

Highly recommended.


Graphic Novel

Two Graphic Novels: Everything is Teeth and The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil

The experience of reading a graphic novel is very different to that of reading a text-based one, but I think it is well worth exploring this genre. The illustrations add a different dimension to everything and allow a humorous undercurrent to develop next to the serious subject matter.

Everything is Teeth and The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil share many characteristics and I think anyone who enjoys one will appreciate the other.

Everything is Teeth Source: Library

Everything is Teeth by Evie Wyld, Illustrated by Joe Sumner

Evie Wyld is most famous for her beautifully written fiction, but in this book she heads in a completely different direction – explaining why her childhood was filled with a fear of sharks.

The book is beautifully illustrated throughout; showing how her summers spent in Australia influenced her life back in England.

The book contained many interesting facts about sharks and shark attacks, but I especially loved seeing the world through a child’s eyes. There was a fabulous innocence and a refreshing honesty that I much admired. The illustrations allowed her imagination to come alive in a way that wouldn’t be possible with text alone and some of the images of sharks lurking in every day situations were particularly creepy.


I read this book in less than an hour, but still remember it vividly many months after completing it. Recommended to anyone without a fear for sharks!


 Source: Library

The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by Stephen Collins

The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil heads in a very different direction. It is an adult fairy tale revolving around Dave, a man with a beard that wont stop growing.


There was a comic element to the situation, but I loved the way the story developed to give a strong moral message.

The battle between the neat and tidy town of ‘Here’ and the chaotic wilderness of the surrounding ‘There’ was amusing to witness.  It was all completely bonkers, but there was a worrying element of truth running beneath the surface.

I recommend this book to anyone looking for something light-hearted to distract them for a few hours.



His Whole Life by Elizabeth Hay

 Source: Free review copy received from publisher

Five words from the blurb: boy, dog, family, Ontario, journey

Elizabeth Hay is an author I’ve heard mentioned many times. She won the Giller Prize in 2007 for Late Nights on Air and her name always crops up if you talk about Canadian literature for any length of time. I’ve been meaning to try her work for a while, so when a review copy of this book dropped through my letter box I decided it was the perfect opportunity to sample her writing.

His Whole Life is a beautifully written portrait of the relationship between ten-year-old Jim and his family. The book perfectly captures the subtle nuances of a child this age, showing how their innocence is slowly eroded.

The novel begins with the family driving from New York to Ontario for their summer holiday. Jim’s mother was born in Canada and his father in America. This divide becomes the central theme for the book – especially the longing for a place and time you can no longer be in:

“Do you remember,” they would say to each other, “that frosty Thanksgiving Monday when the leaves fell on the water like rain?” And in their minds they would be back in this moment when everything was still – there was no wind – yet everything was changing.

Each scene was created with immense skill and I was quickly drawn into this family’s life. Unfortunately there was little forward momentum and the detail became overwhelming. It captured ordinary life so well that I felt I’d heard it all before and I became bored by the tediousness of it all.

Much of the book was influenced by the closely fought 1995 referendum on independence for Quebec. I suspect it will have a much greater impact on those who are familiar with Canadian politics, but it generates discussions on separation and belonging that have relevance for the UK’s current referendum on EU membership.

His Whole Life is a beautifully written character study, with many fantastic scenes. It wasn’t quite to my taste, but anyone who enjoys slow moving character studies will gain a lot from reading it.


The thoughts of other bloggers:

….a thoroughly absorbing and thought-provoking novel, beautifully expressed. A Life in Books

….a gorgeous and evocative work. Have Mat, Will Travel

….she really captures the often strange dynamic of families. Janice S


Books in Brief: Unravelling Oliver, When the Floods Came and Meatspace

Source: Library

Unravelling Oliver by Liz Nugent

Five words from the blurb: attacks, wife, secrets, stories, past

Unravelling Oliver is a fast-paced whydunit revolving around Oliver, a man who attacked his wife so severally she ended up in a coma. Each chapter is written from the perspective of a different person who knew Oliver, so the reader can slowly piece together the facts about his life.

I was initially detached from the story, struggling to remember who everyone was. I kept putting the book down and leaving it for several weeks, only picking it up again because I had to finish it for my book club. For more information about book click on vandareadingrooms. At the half-way point everything changed. I worked out how the numerous plot threads interconnected and this created a strong narrative drive. I read the last half of the book in a single day – picking it up whenever I had a free minute. It turned out to be incredibly well-plotted. The ending was especially satisfying and I recommend this to anyone looking for a an intelligent thriller.


 Source: Free review copy received from publisher

When the Floods Came by Clare Morrall

Five words from the blurb: survivors, lonely, hope, future, children 

Astonishing Splashes of Colour by Clare Morrall is one of my favourite books, so I’m always keen to read her latest publication. Unfortunately, I think this is her weakest so far. The writing quality was excellent, as usual, but it was lacking the passion of her previous work. There were a few interesting insights into what might happen if our world was ravaged by a deadly virus, but the flooding aspects weren’t convincing. The plot also had several large holes and failed to grip me. Disappointing.

 Source: Personal Copy

Five words from the blurb: Twitter, online, persona, friends, real

Meatspace by Nikesh Shukla

Meatspace is the first book I’ve read that really gets to the heart of Twitter. This amusing book is about Kitab, a young man who spends his entire time perfecting his online persona. His obsession comes at the expense of his real life, from which he becomes increasingly isolated.

This book makes a lot of great observations about society’s increasing reliance on the Internet. The jokes were occasionally too “blokey” for me and I found myself cringing at some of the scenes I’m sure were meant to be funny. But, overall I found it sadly relevant to some aspects of my life. Recommended to anyone who spends too much time on social media.