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Neurology book clubs: suggested reading list
  1. Phil E M Smith1,
  2. Geraint N Fuller2
  1. 1 Department of Neurology, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, UK
  2. 2 Department of Neurology, Gloucester Royal Hospital, Gloucester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Geraint N Fuller, Gloucester Royal Hospital, Gloucester GL1 3NN, UK; geraint.fuller{at}

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The idea of neurology book club meetings is growing and spreading, partly we hope through Practical Neurology’s regular reports of such discussions from various neurology centres. Wanting to help and encourage others to set up neurology book clubs, we asked the organisers of existing neurology book clubs to recommend the books that had generated the best discussions at such meetings. Not everyone has to like a book to prompt useful discussion: sometimes controversy makes for better engagement. And not every recommended book has to be completely neurology centred, but all must be relevant to neurologists and to have the potential to change the way we think about an aspect of our work.

From the suggested selection, the largest category comprises those that describe the experience of neurological disorders from the perspective of either the patient or a member of their family. Some are reflections from doctors of their clinical experiences. Some are works of fiction where the stories are woven around a patient with a neurological disorder. Finally, there are several that have no direct link to neurology, or in some cases to medicine, but are thought provoking and, more importantly for a book club, successfully engender animated discussion. Most of the recommended books are modest in length and reasonably priced, which increases the participation; readers might wish to leave the penultimate recommendation until everyone has got into the book club habit.

The classic

  • The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, by Oliver Sacks (233 pages, 1985). The classical neurological book (‘The Hat’) by arguably the world’s best-known neurological author, in a ground-breaking popular text describing cases from the neurological clinic.

Memoir: personal descriptions of neurological disease

  • The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly, by Jean-Dominique Bauby (149 pages, 1997). This has many of the essential features for a …

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  • Contributors PEMS and GNF contributed equally. PEMS is the guarantor.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned. Internally peer reviewed.

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