100 books like Ill Composed

By Olivia Weisser,

Here are 100 books that Ill Composed fans have personally recommended if you like Ill Composed. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Sufferers and Healers: The Experience of Illness in Seventeenth-Century England

Jennifer Evans Author Of Maladies and Medicine: Exploring Health & Healing, 1540-1740

From my list on early modern medicine.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a lecturer in history at the University of Hertfordshire where I teach early modern history of medicine and the body. I have published on reproductive history in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The history of medicine is endlessly diverse, and there are so many books on early modern medicine, some broad and others more specific, it’s this variety that I find endlessly intriguing. Some conditions from the era, like gout and cancer, are familiar, while others like, greensickness, aren’t recognized any longer. Thinking about these differences and about how people’s bodies ached and suffered helps me to appreciate their relationships, struggles, and triumphs in a whole new dimension.

Jennifer's book list on early modern medicine

Jennifer Evans Why did Jennifer love this book?

Originally published in 1987 this book is a classic text for those studying health and disease in this era. Drawing on diaries and printed materials it explains what people died of in the era and what conditions they lived with. It describes how people responded to ill health both spiritually and medically and it provides a series of case studies to illuminate different aspects of health, including women’s health. Using practitioners’ casebooks, it thinks about the differences between an urban surgeon and the practice of rural physicians. It thus moves beyond generalizations to show that practitioners worked alongside each other to heal patients drawn from different socio-economic backgrounds and that the practice of medicine was supplemented and relied upon interventions by friends, family, and community.

By Lucinda McCray Beier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sufferers and Healers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lucinda McCray Beier's remarkable book, first published in 1987, enters the world of illness in seventeenth-century England, exploring what it was like to be either a sufferer or a healer. A wide spectrum of healers existed, ranging between the housewife, with her simple herbal preparations, local cunning-folk and bonestters, travelling healers, and formally accredited surgeons and physicians. Basing her study upon personal accounts written by sufferers and healers, Beier examines the range of healers and therapies available, describes the disorders people suffered from, and indicates the various ways sufferers dealt with their ailments. She includes several case-studies of healers and…


Book cover of Physick and the Family: Health, Medicine and Care in Wales, 1600-1750

Jennifer Evans Author Of Maladies and Medicine: Exploring Health & Healing, 1540-1740

From my list on early modern medicine.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a lecturer in history at the University of Hertfordshire where I teach early modern history of medicine and the body. I have published on reproductive history in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The history of medicine is endlessly diverse, and there are so many books on early modern medicine, some broad and others more specific, it’s this variety that I find endlessly intriguing. Some conditions from the era, like gout and cancer, are familiar, while others like, greensickness, aren’t recognized any longer. Thinking about these differences and about how people’s bodies ached and suffered helps me to appreciate their relationships, struggles, and triumphs in a whole new dimension.

Jennifer's book list on early modern medicine

Jennifer Evans Why did Jennifer love this book?

So many history books about medicine in the early modern period focus on London and other English urban centers. Withey’s book allows readers to move beyond the metropolis and glimpse sickness, disease, and medicine in a largely rural setting. It challenges readers to move beyond the concept that rural medicine was dominated by folklore and magic, Wales was not insular or remote but connected to broader medical trends in both Britain and Europe. This book illuminates how the ‘Welsh’ body was perceived: strong, robust, possessed of a hot choleric temperament, and a fondness for toasted cheese. And paints a clear picture of the men who made their living treating these bodies.

By Alun Withey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Physick and the Family as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Physick and the family offers new insights into the early modern sickness experience, through a study of the medical history of Wales.

Newly available in paperback, this first ever monograph of early modern Welsh medicine utilises a large body of newly discovered source material. Using numerous approaches and methodologies, it makes a significant contribution to debates in medical history, including economies of knowledge, domestic medicine and care, material culture and the rural medical marketplace. Drawing on sources from probates to parish records, diaries to domestic remedy collections, Withey offers new directions for recovering the often obscure medical worldview of the…


Book cover of Female Patients in Early Modern Britain: Gender, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Jennifer Evans Author Of Maladies and Medicine: Exploring Health & Healing, 1540-1740

From my list on early modern medicine.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a lecturer in history at the University of Hertfordshire where I teach early modern history of medicine and the body. I have published on reproductive history in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The history of medicine is endlessly diverse, and there are so many books on early modern medicine, some broad and others more specific, it’s this variety that I find endlessly intriguing. Some conditions from the era, like gout and cancer, are familiar, while others like, greensickness, aren’t recognized any longer. Thinking about these differences and about how people’s bodies ached and suffered helps me to appreciate their relationships, struggles, and triumphs in a whole new dimension.

Jennifer's book list on early modern medicine

Jennifer Evans Why did Jennifer love this book?

I am always fascinated by gender history and women’s experiences in the past. Churchill’s book puts women front and center and considers how medical practitioners understood women’s bodies and health and what women experienced as patients. The book covers traditionally feminine conditions – gynecological and obstetrical issues – but also looks at disorders that affected both men and women, including smallpox, and mental health – hysteria and hypochondria. I like the way this book thinks through all aspects of women’s experiences, how their disorders were understood, who they sought treatment from, and how those treatments were adapted to the specifics of the female body (menstruation and lactation).

By Wendy D. Churchill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Female Patients in Early Modern Britain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This investigation contributes to the existing scholarship on women and medicine in early modern Britain by examining the diagnosis and treatment of female patients by male professional medical practitioners from 1590 to 1740. In order to obtain a clearer understanding of female illness and medicine during this period, this study examines ailments that were specific and unique to female patients as well as illnesses and conditions that afflicted both female and male patients. Through a qualitative and quantitative analysis of practitioners' records and patients' writings - such as casebooks, diaries and letters - an emphasis is placed on medical practice.…


Book cover of John Hall, Master of Physicke: A Casebook from Shakespeare's Stratford

Jennifer Evans Author Of Maladies and Medicine: Exploring Health & Healing, 1540-1740

From my list on early modern medicine.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a lecturer in history at the University of Hertfordshire where I teach early modern history of medicine and the body. I have published on reproductive history in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The history of medicine is endlessly diverse, and there are so many books on early modern medicine, some broad and others more specific, it’s this variety that I find endlessly intriguing. Some conditions from the era, like gout and cancer, are familiar, while others like, greensickness, aren’t recognized any longer. Thinking about these differences and about how people’s bodies ached and suffered helps me to appreciate their relationships, struggles, and triumphs in a whole new dimension.

Jennifer's book list on early modern medicine

Jennifer Evans Why did Jennifer love this book?

This is a great example for anyone who is intrigued to read a physician’s case notes. The edition presents the patient observations of John Hall, son-in-law to William Shakespeare from the 1630s. There is a detailed introduction outing Hall’s life, medical practice, and social setting with further information about his library and his manuscript. Patient’s cases are presented throughout the book with helpful footnotes explaining who people were and illustrations bringing locations and faces to life. There is a helpful glossary of medical terms at the end. This is not necessarily a sit-down and read it cover-to-cover book but it provides a fascinating glimpse into one man’s medical practice and the lives of his patients.

By Greg Wells,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked John Hall, Master of Physicke as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the first complete edition and English translation of John Hall's Little Book of Cures, a fascinating medical casebook composed in Latin around 1634-5. John Hall (1575-1635) was Shakespeare's son-in-law (Hall married Susanna Shakespeare in 1607), and based his medical practice in Stratford-upon-Avon. Readers have never before had access to a complete English translation of John Hall's casebook, which contains fascinating details about his treatment of patients in and around Stratford.

Until Wells's edition, our knowledge of Hall and his practice has had to rely only on a partial, seventeenth-century edition (produced by James Cooke in 1657 and 1679,…


Book cover of How Doctors Think

Cassandra Arnold Author Of Beyond Borders: Reflections from the Humanitarian Frontline

From my list on becoming the doctor your patients need you to be.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a doctor who is lucky enough to have worked in many countries with many people. I wanted to do this ever since I read Albert Sweitzer’s biography when I was about thirteen. I enrolled in medicine as a single parent in my thirties, then built up experience in emergency departments, pediatrics, obstetrics, remote area locum work, and a year in a hospice before beginning my career overseas. Being a doctor was, at one and the same time, exhilarating and terrifying, heartbreaking and absolutely filled with joy. The more I was able to connect to my patients, the more I loved every moment of my work. I hope the books on this list will give that same gift to you.

Cassandra's book list on becoming the doctor your patients need you to be

Cassandra Arnold Why did Cassandra love this book?

Reading this book set off fireworks in my brain. It is so engaging and as easy to read as a novel, but it is so much more life-changing.

Every chapter covers a different error of thinking, and page after page it brought back memories of when I had made exactly those same mistakes in my own clinical practice.

If there is one book I wish I had read earlier in my career, it would be this one because I think I would have saved more lives that way.

By Jerome E. Groopman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How Doctors Think as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A groundbreaking, profound view of twenty-first-century medical practice, giving doctors and patients the vital information they need to make better judgments together.

On average, a physician will interrupt a patient describing her symptoms within eighteen seconds. In that short time, many doctors decide on the likely diagnosis and best treatment. Often, decisions made this way are correct, but at crucial moments they can also be wrong—with catastrophic consequences. In this revolutionary book, Jerome Groopman pinpoints the forces and thought processes behind the decisions doctors make, offering direct, intelligent questions patients can ask their doctors to help them get back on…


Book cover of Obsession

Caroline England Author Of Betray Her

From my list on psychological thrillers with toxic friendships.

Why am I passionate about this?

Before becoming a writer I was a divorce lawyer, so I have plenty of personal experience about the dark side of relationships and I admit to a slight obsession with the human psyche, what goes on behind closed doors and beneath people’s façades! Consequently I love to tell stories about relatable characters who get caught up in extraordinary situations, relationships, pressures, dilemmas or crime. I also enjoy performing a literary sleight of hand in my novels and hopefully surprising my readers!

Caroline's book list on psychological thrillers with toxic friendships

Caroline England Why did Caroline love this book?

The book starts with a wife asking her husband who else he would sleep with, if he could. I loved this hook which any one of us might ask in a casual way, anticipating our partner to say ‘only you, darling!’ When the husband doesn’t give the expected reply, it unsurprisingly opens a can of worms which kept me turning the pages. This compulsive, sexy, roller coaster of a story didn’t disappoint me.

By Amanda Robson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Obsession as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The #1 ebook bestseller

'Thrilling, unputdownable, a fabulous rollercoaster of a read - I was obsessed by this book' B A PARIS, bestselling author of BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

'Compulsive reading with characters you will love to hate and an ending that will make your jaw drop.' JENNY BLACKHURST

One evening, a wife asks her husband a question: who else would you go for, if you could?
It is a simple question - a little game - that will destroy her life.

Carly and Rob are a happy couple. They share happy lives with their children and their close friends Craig…


Book cover of The Prince of Medicine: Galen in the Roman Empire

Josiah Osgood Author Of Rome and the Making of a World State, 150 BCE–20 CE

From my list on the grit and glamor of Ancient Rome.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of ancient Rome. My interest was sparked in my high school Latin classes. On my first trip to Rome, several years later, I truly fell in love. I could see the famed orator delivering his fierce attacks against Catiline amid the grand temples of the Forum and its surrounding hills. I could imagine myself standing in a crowd, listening. In Washington DC, where I now live and teach at Georgetown University, there are classical buildings all around to keep me inspired. I have written a number of books about Roman political history and have also translated the biographer Suetonius and the historian Sallust.

Josiah's book list on the grit and glamor of Ancient Rome

Josiah Osgood Why did Josiah love this book?

This biography of the second century CE celebrity doctor Galen is one of the most surprising and revealing books I’ve ever read about Rome. A native of Asia Minor who got his start treating gladiators, Galen came to Rome and vied for prominence with the city’s intellectuals. By his own account, he wowed Romans with his skill in diagnosis and public vivisections of animals as gruesome as anything you’d see in the arena. Something like one-eighth of all surviving classical Greek literature is made up of Galen’s writings. Susan Mattern excavates this vast body of material to recover Galen’s own astonishing career, his interactions with his patients (including the emperor Marcus Aurelius), and his observations of terrible scenes of Roman life such as a dangerous copper mine, famine in the countryside, and a major fire in 192 that burned down much of the imperial capital.

By Susan P. Mattern,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Prince of Medicine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Galen of Pergamum (A.D. 129 - ca. 216) began his remarkable career tending to wounded gladiators in provincial Asia Minor. Later in life he achieved great distinction as one of a small circle of court physicians to the family of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, at the very heart of Roman society. Susan Mattern's The Prince of Medicine offers the first authoritative biography in English of this brilliant, audacious, and profoundly influential figure.

Like many Greek intellectuals living in the high Roman Empire, Galen was a prodigious polymath, writing on subjects as varied as ethics and eczema, grammar and gout. Indeed, he…


Book cover of Earth Beings: Ecologies of Practice Across Andean Worlds

Catherine J. Allen Author Of The Hold Life Has: Coca and Cultural Identity in an Andean Community

From my list on Andean life, landscape, and personhood.

Why am I passionate about this?

My connection with the Andean highlands of southern Peru stretches back to 1975 when I spent about a year in a small community of Quechua-speaking potato farmers and llama herders. I have returned there many times over the years, most recently in 2019. Its people, their way of life, and vision of the world are dear to my heart and are the subject of The Hold Life Has as well as a play, creative nonfiction, and, more recently, poetry. I love the way anthropology forces me to think outside the box and experience the world with different eyes, something I aim to convey in my work.

Catherine's book list on Andean life, landscape, and personhood

Catherine J. Allen Why did Catherine love this book?

This book is about an unexpected meeting of minds. De la Cadena intended to write an account of a peasant campaign for land led by indigenous peasant leader Mariano Turpo during the 1950-60s.  But early on it became clear that she and Mariano were talking past each other, for Mariano understood his successful activism in terms of his relationship with animate places in the landscape (“earth beings”). The book contains a moving account of how the urban intellectual and traditional Andean leader learned to appreciate and communicate with each other. De la Cadena argues that attention to cultural difference—far from perpetuating false consciousnessmight open the way to radically new politics. Some readers may wish to pass over some dense theoretical passages, but the book is organized so one can do this without losing the larger picture.

By Marisol de la Cadena,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Earth Beings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Earth Beings is the fruit of Marisol de la Cadena's decade-long conversations with Mariano and Nazario Turpo, father and son, runakuna or Quechua people. Concerned with the mutual entanglements of indigenous and nonindigenous worlds, and the partial connections between them, de la Cadena presents how the Turpos' indigenous ways of knowing and being include and exceed modern and nonmodern practices. Her discussion of indigenous political strategies-a realm that need not abide by binary logics-reconfigures how to think about and question modern politics, while pushing her readers to think beyond "hybridity" and toward translation, communication that accepts incommensurability, and mutual difference…


Book cover of Take a Moment

Sandy Barker Author Of A Sunrise Over Bali

From my list on personal growth and transformation.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sandy is a writer, traveller, and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list, and many of her travel adventures have found homes in her novels. She’s also an avid reader, a film buff, a wine lover, and a coffee snob. She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her partner, Ben, who she met while travelling in Greece. Their real-life love story inspired Sandy’s debut novel One Summer in Santorini, the first in the five-book Holiday Romance series. The series continues in Paris, Sydney, Bali, and Tuscany. Sandy's standalone novel The Christmas Swap celebrates her favourite time of the year, and her rom-com, The Dating Game, is set in the world of Reality TV.

Sandy's book list on personal growth and transformation

Sandy Barker Why did Sandy love this book?

Kaye’s own diagnosis of a neurological disease sparked the idea for this terrific book―the protagonist, Alex, is diagnosed with MS and transforms her life to avoid being seen as ‘the victim.’ Like the author, Alex displays incredible bravery―she’s terrified of what’s to come but makes active steps in her life to follow her professional and creative dreams, as well as letting someone new into her life. This one tugged at my heartstrings.

By Nina Kaye,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Take a Moment as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Life is better lived in the moment

Meet Alex. She has a wonderful fiance, a job she thrives in, and a best friend she's known since childhood. Life's not perfect, but it's pretty fantastic. Until a shock diagnosis suddenly throws everything off course.

But Alex has never been one to back down from a fight. Now single and unemployed, she packs up and moves from her Glasgow hometown to vibrant Birmingham for a fresh start. In a new job, in a new city, she's learning all over again what's important in life.

Friendship, fun and even romance lie just around…


Book cover of Lakewood

Alex Jennings Author Of The Ballad of Perilous Graves

From my list on boundary-pushing fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

All of these books inspired me to become a better writer and to push my imagination to the limit by getting The Ballad of Perilous Graves onto the page. These books made me want to polish the contents of my own imagination and tell the biggest most heartfelt story I could. Ballad is in good company on library and bookstore shelves, so I wanted it to connect as hard as possible.

Alex's book list on boundary-pushing fantasy

Alex Jennings Why did Alex love this book?

Giddings takes the stories of Henrietta Lacks and the Tuskegee experiments and extrapolates them into the present day. A young woman dealing with crushing medical debt agrees to participate in medical trials with strange and debilitating side effects. This book is horrific, lyrically written, and brimming with emotion.

By Megan Giddings,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Lakewood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NPR Book of the Year 2020

Electric Literature: One of 55 Books by Women and Nonbinary Writers of Color to Read in 2020 | Lit Hub & The Millions: Most Anticipated Books of 2020 | Ms. Magazine: Anticipated 2020 Feminist Books | Refinery29: Books by Black Women We are Looking Forward To Reading | One of The Millions' Most Anticipated Reads of 2020 | Amazon Book of the Month Pick | Audible Editor's Pick | Essence's Pick| Glamour's Must Read | Ms. Magazine's Anticipated Read of 2020

A startling debut about class and race, Lakewood evokes a terrifying world of…


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