The most recommended books about comas

Who picked these books? Meet our 32 experts.

32 authors created a book list connected to comas, and here are their favorite coma books.
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Book cover of In The Pines

Vicki-Ann Bush Author Of Alex McKenna and the Geranium Deaths

From my list on paranormal books for talking with the dead.

Who am I?

Since I was very young, I’ve had experiences with the paranormal. Whether it be a soft graze along my cheek or a spirit standing in front of me, I’ve always been drawn to things behind the veil. Joining the world of the living with the dead comes natural for me, and reading the genres of paranormal and fantasy is like a cup of hot tea on a chilly winter afternoon.

Vicki-Ann's book list on paranormal books for talking with the dead

Vicki-Ann Bush Why did Vicki-Ann love this book?

This book hits all the points I love to read when I want to escape. Witches, family, mystery, and the angst of  true love. I felt a closeness to the relationship between the sisters, and the love they have for each other. It reminded me of my brother and I, and how no matter what, even if there’s disagreements, we always emerge together.

The descriptions of the area they live in and the town were amazing. I could create a vivid picture in my mind of the setting and wanted to visit. 

By Mariah Stillbrook,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Two witches, two secrets, and a curse that could tear a family apart.

Olivia and Ellie have lived their lives knowing a dark entity is stalking their family, determined to kill them all. After the death of Olivia’s son, she abandons her magic and her family, leaving Ellie in a nightmare of heartbreak, her marriage crumbling and her sister gone. Determined to save their mother Arianna from a spell that left her comatose, the two sisters must come together to unravel the riddle of the curse that has haunted their family for generations.

But as they delve into the past,…


Book cover of Violet Black

Fleur Beale Author Of Juno of Taris

From my list on young people trapped by draconian rules.

Who am I?

I’m a writer from Aotearoa New Zealand and I’ve always been drawn to stories of struggle, especially where a character fights against outside control. I started writing for the high school students I was teaching and got hooked on the YA genre. I love it partly because it crosses all genres – I can write about a 14-year-old girl trying to live in a repressive religious cult but I can also write about a 15-year-old boy who’s a champion kart driver. Karting at top level takes enormous skill as I discovered, but it also has room for dirty tricks.

Fleur's book list on young people trapped by draconian rules

Fleur Beale Why did Fleur love this book?

Violet Black is the first book in a trilogy set in the near future. Violet Black and Ethan Wright are both in a coma after contracting the lethal M-fever. They have never met:

I couldn’t speak, but I was trying so hard to communicate and then... then... I pushed. And something, someone, pushed back. Her name is Violet. Violet, but she is sunshine-yellow, and I need to find her because I think she might be just like me.

But there is a far more serious reason for Ethan to find Violet: the sinister Foundation is trying to hunt them down.

Violet Black in the first book of a trilogy where Violet must fight for her sanity and her freedom from those who want to control her. It’s always wonderful when you’ve got captured by a story and its characters to know that there are more books to come. I love…

By Eileen Merriman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Violet Black as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

The first book in the Black Spiral Trilogy

Set in the near future, this first book in a fast-paced trilogy will hook you in from the first page.

Violet Black and Ethan Wright are both in a coma after contracting the lethal M-fever. They have never met-

I couldn't speak, but I was trying so hard to communicate and then . . . then . . .
I pushed. And something, someone, pushed back.
Her name is Violet. Violet, but she is sunshine-yellow, and I need to find her because I think she might be just like me.

But there…


Book cover of If I Stay

Kimberly Sabatini Author Of Touching the Surface

From my list on where life is complicated—but so is the afterlife.

Who am I?

My father passed away in early 2005, but it wasn’t until after I finished drafting Touching the Surface, that I became consciously aware of how my writing was deeply connected to the thoughts I had about losing my Dad. The realization only added to my fascination with stories about the afterlife. Simultaneously it also expanded my intrigue with the themes of bad things happening to good people and life-altering mistakes being meant to alter lives. The more I explored the stories I loved and dug deeper into my own writing, the more I realized these themes overlapped like carefully folded origami. Complicated choices are intriguing.

Kimberly's book list on where life is complicated—but so is the afterlife

Kimberly Sabatini Why did Kimberly love this book?

In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen-­year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, observing her broken body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces—to figure out what she’s lost and what she has left. If I Stay carefully walks the line on being an afterlife story because Mia is suspended--caught between life and death. But we’re suspended too, waiting for her to decide. I love books with tough choices, stories where there are no right or wrong answers, just decisions. This one is perfectly imperfect.

“Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make you.”

By Gayle Forman,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked If I Stay as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

The critically acclaimed, bestselling novel from Gayle Forman, author of Where She Went, Just One Day, Just One Year, and I Was Here.

Now a major motion picture, starring Chloe Grace Moretz! Includes exclusive interviews with Chloe Grace Moretz and her co-star Jamie Blackley.

In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and…


Coma and Near-Death Experience: The Beautiful, Disturbing, and Dangerous World of the Unconscious

By Alan Pearce, Beverley Pearce,

Book cover of Coma and Near-Death Experience: The Beautiful, Disturbing, and Dangerous World of the Unconscious

Alan Pearce Author Of Coma and Near-Death Experience: The Beautiful, Disturbing, and Dangerous World of the Unconscious

New book alert!

Who am I?

As a journalist, I'm driven to find stories that have not been covered before and to make clear the incomprehensible. I like people, and I like asking questions. I've covered wars and disasters, and on any given day, I could expect to see people at their very worst and at their very best. With my book about comas, I've met some of the finest people of my career, doctors, nurses, and other clinicians who are fighting the system, and coma survivors who are simply fighting to get through each and every day. This is the story I am now driven to tell.

Alan's book list on consciousness that demonstrates there is more to life than we know

What is my book about?

What happens when a person is placed into a medically-induced coma?

The brain might be flatlining, but the mind is far from inactive: experiencing alternate lives rich in every detail that spans decades, visiting realms of stunning and majestic beauty, or plummeting to the very depths of Hell while defying all medical and scientific understanding.

Everything you think you know about coma is wrong. Doctors call it 'sleeping' when in reality, many are trapped on a hamster wheel of brain-damaging, nightmarish events that scar those that survive for life. Others are left to question whether they touched levels of existence previously confined to fantasy or whether they teetered on the brink of this life and the next. Coma is not what you think.

Coma and Near-Death Experience: The Beautiful, Disturbing, and Dangerous World of the Unconscious

By Alan Pearce, Beverley Pearce,

What is this book about?

Explores the extraordinary states of expanded consciousness that arise during comas, both positive and negative

Every day around the world, thousands of people are placed in medically-induced comas. For some coma survivors, the experience is an utter blank. Others lay paralyzed, aware of everything around them but unable to move, speak, or even blink. Many experience alternate lives spanning decades, lives they grieve once awakened. Some encounter ultra-vivid nightmares, while others undergo a deep, spiritual oneness with the Universe or say they have glimpsed the Afterlife.

Examining the beautiful and disturbing experiences of those who have survived comas, Alan and…


Book cover of Paula: A Memoir

Joanne Greene Author Of By Accident: A Memoir of Letting Go

From my list on by and about wise, vulnerable, badass women.

Who am I?

When called a badass, I say thank you. Though I was raised to say and do the right thing, I’ve spent a lifetime speaking my truth, on radio and now on podcasts, being both reverent and irreverent. It took losing three immediate family members and getting hit by a car as a pedestrian for me to learn that I don’t have to be in perpetual motion. I went from being the baby of my family to being the matriarch in a heartbeat and am honored to share what I’ve learned about resilience and authenticity in my first book, By Accident: A Memoir of Letting Go.  

Joanne's book list on by and about wise, vulnerable, badass women

Joanne Greene Why did Joanne love this book?

I cannot imagine sitting at the bedside of one of my children in a coma.

Isabel Allende not only did that, but used her grief, fear, pain, hope, optimism, memory, and humor to write an extraordinarily compelling book. We come to know not only Paula, Isabel’s gravely ill daughter, but a colorful cast of characters from the family’s past.

We learn about Chilean history and somehow find ourselves laughing and crying in the same chapter. At least I did. Allende is a master with words – and English is not her first language. Do yourself a favor and read this gem.

By Isabel Allende,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Beautiful and heartrending. . . . Memoir, autobiography, epicedium, perhaps even some fiction: they are all here, and they are all quite wonderful."-Los Angeles Times

In this literary classic, New York Times bestselling author Isabel Allende recalls the story of her beloved daughter and her remarkable family's past.

When her daughter, Paula, became gravely ill and fell into a coma, Isabel Allende began to write the story of her family for her unconscious child. Bizarre ancestors are introduced; delightful and bitter childhood memories are shared; amazing anecdotes of youthful years are relived, and the most intimate secrets are quietly passed…


Book cover of The Dead Zone

J.M. Unrue Author Of The Festival of Sin: and other tales of fantasy

From my list on showing that somebody has it worse than you do.

Who am I?

I’m an old guy. I say this with a bit of cheek and a certain amount of incongruity. All the books on my list are old. That’s one area of continuity. Another, and I’ll probably stop at two, is that they all deal with ordinary people caught in extraordinary circumstances—those curveballs of life we flail at with an unfamiliar bat; the getting stuck on the Interstate behind a semi and some geezer in a golf cap hogging the passing lane in a Buick Le Sabre. No one makes it through this life unscathed. How we cope does more to define us than a thousand smiles when things are rosy. Thus endeth the lesson.

J.M.'s book list on showing that somebody has it worse than you do

J.M. Unrue Why did J.M. love this book?

Had King’s name not been on the cover this book would have been hailed as much a masterwork of horror/fantasy as The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby.

This book (in my opinion) is his most potent prose. Besides being a great storyline, it is a work of art and worthy of recognition beyond just another King novel. Weighty responsibility foisted upon a vulnerable person is a theme I’ve employed. King nailed this. 

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Set in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine

A #1 New York Times bestseller about a man who wakes up from a five-year coma able to see people’s futures and the terrible fate awaiting mankind—a “compulsive page-turner” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

Johnny Smith awakens from a five-year coma after his car accident and discovers that he can see people’s futures and pasts when he touches them. Many consider his talent a gift; Johnny feels cursed. His fiancée married another man during his coma and people clamor for him to solve their problems.

When Johnny has a disturbing vision after he…


Book cover of Beijing Coma

Yang Huang Author Of Living Treasures

From my list on China’s one-child policy and Tiananmen Square protests.

Who am I?

I grew up in China during the years of the one-child policy. In 1989 I joined millions of people in the pro-democracy protests. Our hope and joy were crushed by the Tiananmen Square Massacre. A year later, I left China and came to the States. I wanted to write a story about the students’ fight but create a more meaningful arc. It took me twenty years of soul searching to find my story. At the heart of my novel Living Treasures is a metaphor for the Tiananmen Square Massacre. My heroine continues the fight by doing grassroots work and helping rural women, who are victimized by the one-child policy.

Yang's book list on China’s one-child policy and Tiananmen Square protests

Yang Huang Why did Yang love this book?

Ma Jian, a preeminent dissident writer, returned to Beijing in 1989 and supported the pro-democracy activists in Tiananmen Square. In his novel Beijing Coma, protagonist Dai Wei, a molecular biology Ph.D. student, was struck by a soldier’s bullet and fell into a deep coma. Dai Wei has lain in bed for over a decade, like a vegetable, but with acute hearing and sense of smell, as he relieves his past—his childhood and student life, and the heady days of the democracy movement—while all around him China continues to change. Beijing Coma examines the confusion and contradictions of the Tiananmen Square protests and evokes the horrors of an oppressive regime in minute, gruesome detail. I admired the story’s stark beauty and Ma Jian’s unflinching gaze.

By Ma Jian, Flora Drew (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Dai Wei has been unconscious for almost a decade. A medical student and a pro-democracy protestor in Tiananmen Square in June 1989, he was struck by a soldier's bullet and fell into a deep coma. As soon as the hospital authorities discovered that he had been an activist, his mother was forced to take him home. She allowed pharmacists access to his body and sold his urine and his left kidney to fund special treatment from Master Yao, a member of the outlawed Falun Gong sect. But during a government crackdown, the Master was arrested, and Dai Wai's mother—who had…


Book cover of The Borrowed

Mo Moulton Author Of The Mutual Admiration Society: How Dorothy L. Sayers and Her Oxford Circle Remade the World for Women

From my list on fans of Dorothy L. Sayers.

Who am I?

I got hooked on mystery novels as a kid reading the Encyclopedia Brown stories. Something about the combination of a great story and a puzzle to solve is irresistible to me.  As a historian, I’m interested in communities, and especially how people understood themselves as being part of the new kinds of economic, political, and cultural communities that emerged in the first half of the twentieth century. When I learned about Dorothy L. Sayers’ lifelong writing group, the wryly named ‘Mutual Admiration Society’, I was thrilled at the chance to combine my professional interests with my personal passion for detective fiction. 

Mo's book list on fans of Dorothy L. Sayers

Mo Moulton Why did Mo love this book?

This set of interlocked novellas opens with a comatose detective – a legend in his time – apparently conducting an interrogation through means of electrical signals sent from his brain to a computer. I was skeptical.

I’m a fan of the rules that Sayers and the Detection Club developed: no magic, no ‘jiggery-pokery’, no mystery poisons or miracle drugs, only the fair play of putting the evidence before the reader and letting them practice deduction. My skepticism was totally misplaced.

Chan Ho-Kei’s brilliant work tells the history of twentieth-century Hong Kong through the careers of two policemen. Each novella pays homage to the classic genres of crime fiction, and they build up to twists and revelations that are both shocking and completely faithful to fair play as Sayers knew it.

By Chan Ho-Kei, Jeremy Tiang (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Six interlocking stories. One spellbinding novel. The year is 2013, and Hong Kong's greatest detective is dying. For fifty years, Inspector Kwan quietly solved cases while the world changed around him. Now his partner Detective Lok has come to his deathbed for help with one final case. Where there is murder, there is humanity. This bold and intricate crime novel spans five decades of love, honour, race, class, jealousy and revenge in one of the most intriguing nations in the world. This is the story of a man who let justice shine in the space between black and white. This…


Book cover of The Ice Garden

Tamsin Winter Author Of Girl (in Real Life)

From my list on strong female protagonists.

Who am I?

Whatever story I’m telling, I try to write female characters who are smart, funny, kind, and ultimately empowering; characters that drive the narrative, not the other way around. It is really important for me that my female characters have agency – that they actively move the story forward, make decisions and step up. Those are the kind of stories I like to read too. The books on this list are some of my favourites and all contain strong female protagonists. I hope you enjoy.

Tamsin's book list on strong female protagonists

Tamsin Winter Why did Tamsin love this book?

This is an absolute heartstopper of a novel. The protagonist, Jess, has a rare skin condition that means she is allergic to sunlight. Even the tiniest exposure can cause her serious injury and pain. She lives her life in a world of loneliness and shadows, but is desperate for an adventure. When she sneaks out one night she discovers a garden of ice that will change her life forever. Not only did I love the magic of this novel, I loved Jess’s humour and I was weeping for her towards the end. A wonderful book that really touched my heart.

By Guy Jones,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Ice Garden as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Tom's Midnight Garden meets The Secret
Garden in this mystical, classic-feeling adventure!

'A beautiful book that touches on friendship and the unbreakable
bond between a protective parent and her child.' THE
SUN

'Elegant, assured, sad and hilarious' GUARDIAN

Jess is allergic to the sun. She lives in a world of shadows and
hospitals, peeking at the other children in the playground from
behind curtains. Her only friend is a boy in a coma, to whom she
tells stories.

One night she sneaks out to explore the empty playground she's
longed to visit, where she discovers a beautiful impossiblity: a
magical…


Book cover of Sometimes I Lie

N.L. Blandford Author Of The Perilous Road To Her

From my list on thrillers you won't want to put down.

Who am I?

I devour dark, gripping, thrillers which take readers on a journey alongside the characters. People who battle their own demons on whatever road they travel. It’s with this passion that I write stories which do the same. I bring readers into the story to the point where they are cheering for both the hero and the villain. Throw in a few twists and cliffhangers and voila – readers don’t sleep, or do their chores ;) The books on this list fuel my need to be thrilled. I hope you grip the pages like I did…and forget those chores!

N.L.'s book list on thrillers you won't want to put down

N.L. Blandford Why did N.L. love this book?

This was my first foray in Alice Feeney’s writing and it will not be my last. 

The many twists and turns make this a well-crafted whodunit. I’ll admit, I still don’t think I get the ending - but that did not detract from my love for this book. I was left questioning everything that happened…in a good way.

The movement between past and present worked well and gave me an insight into the characters that I thought meant I had it all figured out…oh but I didn’t!

Forget switching the laundering over. Switch to this book immediately to try and figure out what is the truth and what is a lie.

By Alice Feeney,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Sometimes I Lie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

ALICE FEENEYS NEW YORK TIMES AND INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER

“Boldly plotted, tightly knotted—a provocative true-or-false thriller that deepens and darkens to its ink-black finale. Marvelous.” —AJ Finn, author of The Woman in the Window

My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:
1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.

Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a…


Book cover of The Coma

JL Civi Author Of L Extreme: A Novel Based on the Songs of Benji Hughes

From my list on bizarrely bewildering and brilliantly beautiful.

Who am I?

Stories that break the rules or attempt ambitious stunts have always intrigued me. Characters who break the fourth wall, non-traditional structures, winking nods to pop culture, hidden messages, silly wordplay, or good old-fashioned WTF moments nobody saw coming. My second novel L Extreme turns my favorite album into a fantastical song by song, chapter by chapter origin story for the record starring a fictionalized version of the musician who created it. Asking “what happens if I pretend this album is the soundtrack to a book?” took me on a long, strange trip in the spirit of these other bizarrely brilliant books that broke the mold for the better. 

JL's book list on bizarrely bewildering and brilliantly beautiful

JL Civi Why did JL love this book?

A short, eerie, and mysterious fever dream of a novella with a secret you may not realize your first time through--hidden messages in the text! I won't spoil what they are or how to find them here, but I will say that ever since reading this book I may or may not try to crack similar codes in nearly every book I pick up. (I may or may not have also done something similar in my own writing; hat tip to Mr. Garland for the inspiration.)

By Alex Garland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the internationally-known author of The Beach, a gripping mystery and stylistic tour de force that delves into the subconscious mind, with brilliantly disturbing results. A young man is brutally assaulted late at night in an underground train by a gang of thugs. Beaten unconscious, he lies for days in a hospital bed - but appears to make a full recovery. On discharge from hospital, Carl picks up the threads of his daily life, visiting friends, seeing his girlfriend - until he starts to notice strange leaps in his perception of time, distortions in his experience. Is he truly reacting…