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Let’s Talk Cancer Books! #WorldBookDay

April 23 is designated as World Book Day. It’s also called World Book and Copyright Day. If you’re interested in learning the details as to when and why it was started, click here.

But who really cares about all that?

Every day is World Book Day or should be, right?

You might be thinking, oh there she goes again talking about her books. But you’d be wrong!

Well, I will mention mine later, but I decided World Book Day would be the perfect day to share about a few of my favorite cancer-related books. And I am hoping you will share about YOURS as well in the comments.

So, let’s talk cancer books.

Of course, not everyone who’s been diagnosed with cancer wants to read about cancer. I get that. I do. 

You might think since I’ve had a cancer diagnosis, have written and continue to write about about cancer, that’d be enough. MORE than enough. 

Call me weird, but I can’t seem to read enough about the subject.

In fact, I seem to be drawn to books, articles and even movies that are cancer related. Of course, I’m drawn to other topics, too, but that can be a topic for another day. And my favorite genre of all (cancer or no cancer) is memoir.

Probably no surprise there, right?

I divided my favorites into sections. So, let’s get to it.

1. Favorite science-based cancer book – The Emperor of All Maladies:  A Biography of Cancer, by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Hands down, it’s this one. I reviewed the PBS Ken Burns documentary just in case you’re interested and haven’t seen it. Mukherjee’s second book, The Gene, was excellent as well, but a bit (okay, a lot) too detailed for me. Took me FOREVER to get through it. But I’m a slow reader these days. 

Read my review of The Gene:  An Intimate History here. 

2. Favorite cancer memoir – The Mercy Papers:  A Memoir of Three Weeks by Robin Romm

This was a tough call as there are a bunch I love. But this one is so raw and so honest. In case you’re wondering about those three weeks – the book is about a daughter who goes home to spend time with her mother who’s dying from metastatic breast cancer. Yeah, it’s a tough read. But so good for so many reasons. Loved it.

3. Cancer-related poetry books:

April…In Pieces:  Seven Sisters Writing About Covid and Cancer by Lisa Valentine (and her sisters)

Read my review here.

Dancing with Cancer by Janet Cosner

Read my review.

Fine Black Lines by Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad 

Metastatic Madness by Carol A. Miele

4. Favorite advocacy book – Pink Ribbon Blues by Gayle Sulik

This book opened my eyes. It’s a must read.

You might want to read my review.

5. Favorite comic-style books – The Little Pink Book of (Mostly) Cancer Cartoons by Kate Matthews and In-Between Days by Teva Harrison.

I reviewed Harrison’s book here.

6. Favorite book with general breast cancer info – Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book by Susan M. Love, MD with Karen Lindsey and Elizabeth Love.

This book remains the go-to book for learning about breast cancer. Really good resource.

You might want to read my review.

7. Cancer-related books by fellow bloggers 

Okay, this list is long.

As a blogger/author myself, I feel it’s super important to support other bloggers/authors in the cancer genre, so sharing these titles just makes me happy.

If you’re able to, please support these writers by buying, reading and reviewing their books when and where you see fit.

If I forgot someone, apologies. Feel free to send me a reminder. I have books all over my house, and my memory sorta sucks. Plus, I haven’t read them ALL yet. But I’ll get to as many as I can.

Here’s my list so far of ones I’ve read. The ones with links, I reviewed.

Being Sarah by Sarah Horton

Beyond the Pink Moon:  A Memoir of Legacy, Loss and Survival by Nicki Boscia Durlester

Braving Chemo:  What to Expect, How to Prepare and How to Get Through It by Beverly A. Zavaleta, MD

Calling the Shots in Your Medical Care by Beth Gainer

The Cancer Culture Chronicles by Rachel Cheetam Moro

Does This Outfit Make Me Look Bald? by Jennifer Pellechio-Lukowiak

The Dog Lived (and so will I) by Teresa J. Rhyne

From Zero to Mastectomy by Jackie Fox

Help Me Live by Lori Hope

I Never Signed up for This by Darryle Pollack

I’m Still Standing by Wendy Watson

Kicking Cancer to the Curb by Carol A. Meile

Left Boob Gone Rogue by Uzma Yunas, MD

Mourning Has Broken by Jan Hasak

Navigating the C:  A Nurse Charts the Course for Survivorship Care by Alene Nitzky, PhD, RN, OCN

Not Done Yet by Laurie Kingston

Persevere:  A Life with Cancer by Lisa Bonchek Adams

The Pink Moon Lovelies:  Empowering Stories of Survival by Nicki Boscia Durlester

Resurrection Lily:  The BRCA Gene, Hereditary Cancer & Lifesaving Whispers from the Grandmother I Never Knew: A Memoir by Amy Byer Shainman

39 Things to Make a Cancer Patient Smile by Susan Rief

Ticking Off Breast Cancer by Sara Liyanage

The Throbbing Moon and the Three Season Tango by Michele Wheeler

Wear the Damn Swimsuit: Lessons and Stories From Cancer and Life by Ashli Brehm

A Woman’s Guide to Living with Heart Disease by Carolyn Thomas (Yeah, I know this one technically isn’t cancer related, but then again it is. Read it and you will understand what I mean.)

8. Other cancer-relater books I recommend:

Breast Cancer Alphabet by Madhulika Sikka

Bright-Sided by Barbara Ehrenreich

The Cancer Journals by Audre Lorde

Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved by Kate Bowler

Finding Peace by Adelyn Zara

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan

Prostate Cancer Strikes:  Navigating the Storm by Gogs Gagnon

Resilience by Elizabeth Edwards

The Unwinding of the Miracle by Julie Yip-Williams

So Much to Be Done by Barbara Brenner

What We Have by Amy Boesky

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Write for Life by David Tabatsky

And Finally…

You knew I had to mention mine, right?

I am proud of my three contributions thus far to the world’s book shelf. Okay, that’s a stretch, but you know what I mean.

If you’ve read any or all, thank you. If you haven’t, I hope you will.

#WorldBookDay #books #cancerbooks #cancer
Click on the image to learn more about my books.

And remember to write a review – not just for my books, but for any author’s book you like. Sure, reviews take a little work and a little time, but authors sure appreciate them. A lot!

Don’t forget to sign up for my weekly updates! Keeping it real. Support you can use.

Do you read cancer books? Why or why not?

If you do, share one or two of your favorites.

What are you reading right now or what’s on your to-read list? (cancer related or not cancer related)

Let's Talk #CancerBooks #cancer #breastcancer #books #bookreviews

When Someone You Care About Is Hurting, Don't Try to Be a Fixer #grief #loss #cancer #family #relationships #mbc
When Someone You Care About Is Hurting, Don't Try to Be a Fixer
When Your Doctor Doesn't Listen—10 Tips to Help Change that


Friday 23rd of April 2021

Thank you so much, Nancy! I'm honoured to see my book mentioned. I've shared the link to your post with my prostate cancer support groups.


Sunday 25th of April 2021

Gogs, My pleasure. As I mentioned, sharing books written by fellow cancer bloggers/authors is important to me. Thank you for sharing my post with your support groups. Appreciate it.

Beth Gainer

Saturday 18th of May 2019

Thank you for sharing these, Nancy. I so appreciate the mention of my book.


Tuesday 21st of May 2019

Beth, You're very welcome.

Secret Agent Woman

Saturday 4th of May 2019

I read loads of breast cancer books immediately after my diagnosis and through my treatment. Fewer now, but I do still read them. Immediately after diagnosis I found David Chan's book Breast Cancer: Real Questions, Real Answers very helpful, along with Love's book. For post-treatment, I liked Living Well Beyond Cancer: A Survivor's Guide, Marisa Weiss.

I read the Emperor of All Maladies before I got cancer and loved it. I need to re-read it now. I really liked When Breath Becomes Air, too. I highly recommend Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. LOVED it.


Monday 6th of May 2019

Secret Agent Woman, I will add "Being Mortal" to my to-read list. I've heard others mention it too. Thank you for taking time to share some of your favorite cancer books.

Carol A Miele

Friday 26th of April 2019

Nancy, thank you for listing both of my books (Metastatic Madness & Kicking Cancer to the Curb!) in this focus on cancer books. I also read a lot of cancer books, articles & blogs. At Stage 4 the past 8 1/2 years, I still feel I have much to learn & like to stay on top of things in Cancerland. You have a knack for touching on important topics related to breast cancer, the things that rub us wrong, the issues that gnaw at us & even those conversations that need to take place to fortify us. I'm so thankful for your writing & your instincts...I'm also humbled & grateful to receive your nod in this new posting.artic


Monday 29th of April 2019

Carol, You are so welcome. I loved both your books. And thank you for your kind words. They mean a lot.

Brenda Benedict

Wednesday 24th of April 2019

I vacillate between reading for information and emotional support and not being able to even open the latest magazine on cancer. Some days I'm strong and other days I'm not.

Ii do have a book that helped immensely during my husband's breast cancer treatment. Taking Charge of Cancer:What you need to know to get the best treatment. It was immensely helpful in evaluating the treatment he was receiving as well as finding additional resources.


Thursday 25th of April 2019

Brenda, You're certainly not alone in that vacillating. I am not familiar with the particular book you mentioned. I'm glad you found it immensely helpful. I hope your husband is doing well. Thank you for reading and taking time to comment too. My best to you both.