14 Memoirs About Illness and Medicine

"Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick." —Susan Sontag

Medical Memoirs

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Memoirs detailing the author’s lived experience with an illness, the aftermath of an accident, or some other physical condition have long been compelling to audiences. Some books offer readers insights into how they might grapple with similar situations, from the management of chronic conditions to coming to terms with a terminal diagnosis. Others can be fascinating for the ways in which they explore life in a situation that readers are unlikely to ever experience. And still others offer an implicit contrast between the medical treatments of a bygone time and the more advanced methodology of the present day.

A number of authors have written powerful books regarding matters of illness, and many more will join them, including Esmé Weijun Wang (The Collected Schizophrenias) and Porochista Khakpour (Sick), to cite two highly anticipated examples. Here’s a look at 14 books exploring questions of medicine, treatment, and the body.

Featured Image:  Jennifer N. R. Smith


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About Tobias Carroll

Tobias Carroll

TOBIAS CARROLL is the managing editor of Vol.1 Brooklyn. His writing has been published by Bookforum, Men’s Journal, Tin House, Hazlitt, and Rolling Stone. He is the author of the collection Transitory and the novel Reel. He’s on Twitter at @TobiasCarroll.

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