The best books about epilepsy

Who picked these books? Meet our 12 experts.

12 authors created a book list connected to epilepsy, and here are their favorite epilepsy books.
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What type of epilepsy book?


The Heiress Effect

By Courtney Milan,

Book cover of The Heiress Effect

Edie Cay Author Of A Lady's Finder

From the list on misfits that should totally be your best friend.

Who am I?

I’m a writer of relatable misfits, and a misfit myself. My outsides and insides have never matched, and my accent has always been wrong. I’ve lived all over the United States, and no matter what, I’m always from somewhere else, no matter how long I’ve lived there. I usually end up good friends with other interesting folx who are the same as me: a little different, a little crafty, and a hell of a lot of fun. 

Edie's book list on misfits that should totally be your best friend

Discover why each book is one of Edie's favorite books.

Why did Edie love this book?

This is the book that made me want to write a historical romance. The protagonist, Miss Jane Fairfield, is outlandishly rich. But she can’t get married and leave her younger sister, who has epilepsy, to the well-meaning but cruel treatments recommended by their uncle, who is also their guardian. Since her money makes her an appealing target for many an impoverished rake, Jane has to work extra to become unappealing while still seeming like she’s trying to attract a man. She wears obnoxiously bright clothing, insults people with the kindest tone, and—in one desperate attempt to make a man be mean to her—takes the food right off his plate. This is a book about people trying to put you in your place and keep you small. And let me give you a hint: it’s a romance, so there’s definitely a Happily Ever After, and that includes small-minded people getting their…

By Courtney Milan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Miss Jane Fairfield has made a career of social disaster. She wears outrageous gowns and says even more outrageous things. The only reason she's invited anywhere is because of her immense dowry--which is all part of her plan to avoid marriage and keep the fortune-hunters at bay. Mr. Oliver Marshall is the illegitimate son of a duke. His acceptance in society is tenuous as it is. If he wants any kind of career at all, he must do everything right. He doesn't need to come to the rescue of the wrong woman. He certainly doesn't need to fall in love…


By Claire Fitzpatrick,

Book cover of Metamorphosis: Short Stories

Matthew R. Davis Author Of Bites Eyes: 13 Macabre Morsels

From the list on Australian short story collections with real bite.

Who am I?

I’m a horror writer to the core, always have been, so few things get me as interested as a great collection of short stories. I can remember a few corkers that really put the wind up me as a kid, and it seems I’ve been chasing that feeling ever since! Australia is my home, and it has a broad and diverse genre scene that deserves a lot more attention – I’ve befriended a great many authors of horror, fantasy, SF, and all points in between, and to a person they are lovely, generous, and talented. I’m doing my part to draw attention to the proliferation of vital voices down here.

Matthew's book list on Australian short story collections with real bite

Discover why each book is one of Matthew's favorite books.

Why did Matthew love this book?

Claire is an irreverent delight in person, but you won’t see much of that persona in her stories – this book is heavy with gooey and bizarre body horror that always has a deeply personal context for her characters.

She’s admitted that writing is a vehicle for talking about her epilepsy, but you don’t need to share that with her to relate to the strange changes that take place on her pages.

This is just her first collection, an opening salvo across the bow of Australian horror, so it will be interesting indeed to see how her work evolves and metamorphosises over time – to meet the creature that crawls, slime-slicked and hungry, from the casing of her next books.

By Claire Fitzpatrick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This short story collection includes 17 tales of terror. Madeline will never become a woman. William will never become a man. Does June deserve to be human? Does Lilith deserve a heart? If imperfection is crucial to a society’s survival, what makes a monster?

Permanent Present Tense

By Suzanne Corkin,

Book cover of Permanent Present Tense: The Unforgettable Life of the Amnesic Patient, H. M.

Sandeep Jauhar Author Of My Father's Brain: Life in the Shadow of Alzheimer's

From the list on the complexities of Alzheimer's and dementia.

Who am I?

For nearly 7 years I watched my father decline from Alzheimer’s. It was perhaps the most difficult journey I’ve ever taken. My book, My Father’s Brain, is a memoir of my relationship with my father as he succumbed to his disease, but it is also a scientific and historical inquiry into the fragility of the brain. In the book, I set my father’s descent into dementia alongside my own journey, as a doctor, writer, and son, toward understanding this mysterious and devastating disease.

Sandeep's book list on the complexities of Alzheimer's and dementia

Discover why each book is one of Sandeep's favorite books.

Why did Sandeep love this book?

Corkin, a research psychologist, presents a fascinating case study of her patient, Henry Molaison, a man with no memory. Molaison—or H.M., as he was known in the scientific literature until his death in 2008—was a 27-year-old with severe epilepsy when he underwent radical brain surgery in 1953 to cure his intractable seizures.

Though Molaison’s seizures largely abated after the operation, he developed an even bigger problem, which manifested almost immediately after his surgery. Daily events vanished from his mind almost as soon as they had occurred.

Like most patients living with dementia, he could form no new long-term memories. With no new memories, he lived in a perpetual present, disconnected from his past (or at least the past after his surgery) and his future.

By Suzanne Corkin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1953, 27-year-old Henry Gustave Molaison underwent an experimental psychosurgical" procedure,a targeted lobotomy,in an effort to alleviate his debilitating epilepsy. The outcome was unexpected,when Henry awoke, he could no longer form new memories, and for the rest of his life would be trapped in the moment. But Henry's tragedy would prove a gift to humanity. As renowned neuroscientist Suzanne Corkin explains in Permanent Present Tense , she and her colleagues brought to light the sharp contrast between Henry's crippling memory impairment and his preserved intellect. This new insight that the capacity for remembering is housed in a specific brain area…

Book cover of The Islands at the End of the World

Lehua Parker Author Of One Boy, No Water

From the list on authentically Hawaiian books for tweens and teens.

Who am I?

Growing up in a kanaka maoli—Native Hawaiian—family in Hawai’i, I hungered for stories centered around island kids and their authentic lived experiences. I scoured classrooms, libraries, and bookstores looking for stories that reflected my reality, but all I ever found were dusty collections of ancient legends, not books that appealed to my sense of wonder or adventure. It’s the reason I wrote the Niuhi Shark Saga trilogy and why I’m so excited to share this collection with you. These books are everything I always wanted to read as a child growing up in Hawai‘i—and more!

Lehua's book list on authentically Hawaiian books for tweens and teens

Discover why each book is one of Lehua's favorite books.

Why did Lehua love this book?

When sixteen-year-old Leilani and her father traveled to O’ahu from Hilo to try a promising but experimental treatment for her epilepsy, they never expected to be stranded in the middle of a worldwide geomagnetic storm. With tsunamis striking randomly, all modern technology broken, and facing food shortages under martial law, Leilani and her father have to fight their way home. Along the way, Leilani discovers that the one thing that makes her different may be the one thing that saves us all. It’s an apocalyptic page-turner centered on Hawaii’s ecology and traditional cultural solutions.

By Austin Aslan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Islands at the End of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this fast-paced survival story set in Hawaii, electronics fail worldwide, the islands become completely isolated, and a strange starscape fills the sky. Leilani and her father embark on a nightmare odyssey from Oahu to their home on the Big Island. Leilani’s epilepsy holds a clue to the disaster, if only they can survive as the islands revert to earlier ways. 
   A powerful story enriched by fascinating elements of Hawaiian ecology, culture, and warfare, this captivating and dramatic debut from Austin Aslan is the first of two novels. The author has a master’s degree in tropical conservation biology from the…

In Praise of Paths

By Torbjorn Ekelund, Becky L. Crook (translator),

Book cover of In Praise of Paths: Walking through Time and Nature

Irfan Shah Author Of Where Lay My Homeward Path: Selected Short Stories by Edward Thomas

From the list on nature-writing with humans at the center.

Who am I?

I am a writer and researcher from North Yorkshire, England. Although I’ve written extensively on pre-cinema history (for example, I co-wrote the BAFTA long-listed documentary, The First Film) I have also researched little-known stories connected with the natural world, particularly the beautiful Yorkshire Moors, where I live. My upcoming travelogue The Witches’ Way will combine nature-writing with original historical research, and will be published by Open Space Books in the Autumn. I have long been an admirer of the poetry of Edward Thomas – bringing his long-forgotten fiction to a new audience has been a real passion project of mine.

Irfan's book list on nature-writing with humans at the center

Discover why each book is one of Irfan's favorite books.

Why did Irfan love this book?

I have chosen this book because of the idea behind it.

After recovering from a blackout, author Torbjørn Ekelund was told he had developed epilepsy and would not be allowed to drive. As a consequence, Ekelund decided not to be held back by this and instead began to walk everywhere – through urban areas and countryside – looking for any path however obvious or hidden.

In the book that resulted from this new approach to life, Ekelund has not only written about his own experiences but tied them in to a wider meditation on pathways, from the physical to the metaphorical to the spiritual. 

A mix of history, philosophy and travelogue, what I liked about all this is the author’s choice to turn the trauma of an epileptic fit into an opportunity to walk, think, observe and feel more than ever.

By Torbjorn Ekelund, Becky L. Crook (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"What [Ekelund is] addressing is the intention to walk one's way to meaning: the walk as spiritual exercise, a kind of vision quest... A key strategy for finding ourselves, then, is to first get lost."-The New York Times Book Review

An ode to paths and the journeys we take through nature, as told by a gifted writer who stopped driving and rediscovered the joys of traveling by foot.

Torbjorn Ekelund started to walk-everywhere-after an epilepsy diagnosis affected his ability to drive. The more he ventured out, the more he came to love the act of walking, and an interest in…


By Lauren Slater,

Book cover of Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir

Hillary S. Webb Author Of The Friendliest Place in the Universe: Love, Laughter, and Stand-Up Comedy in Berlin

From the list on deliciously out-of-the-box memoirs by women.

Who am I?

I’m a cultural anthropologist with a passion for exploring how we humans make meaning of the wonderful, terrible, startling, often-absurd existence in which we find ourselves. My research has taken me from NYC’s underground occult scene to the conflict-resolution strategies of Central Peru; from circus performers in Portland, Maine, grappling with their physical potential, to a comedy club in Berlin where I set out to discover the secret sauce for evoking “collective joy” amongst strangers. I am drawn to artistic works that mix genres and defy categorization… and thus have a penchant for alienating editors, librarians, and bookstore owners who struggle to identify on which shelf my books belong. 

Hillary's book list on deliciously out-of-the-box memoirs by women

Discover why each book is one of Hillary's favorite books.

Why did Hillary love this book?

Love it or hate it, this is a truly unique book. Slater presents herself as the ultimate unreliable narrator, describing her life-long struggles with epilepsy, only to reveal that her diagnosis is a lie. (Or is it? Apparently, even she is not sure.) Which makes the experience of reading Lying a slippery head trip. One becomes easily absorbed in Slater’s evocative prose and haunting descriptions, only to be reminded a sentence later that it may all be complete BS. 

Some readers might be turned off by what is, admittedly, a bit of a mind fuck. Me, I’m fascinated by it. Lying offers the opportunity to vicariously inhabit a mind not quite tethered to truth… thus forcing readers to contemplate our own relationship to Truth.

By Lauren Slater,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this powerful and provocative new memoir, award-winning author Lauren Slater forces readers to redraw the boundary between what we know as fact and what we believe through the creation of our own personal fictions. Mixing memoir with mendacity, Slater examines memories of her youth, when after being diagnosed with a strange illness she developed seizures and neurological disturbances-and the compulsion to lie. Openly questioning the reliability of memoir itself, Slater presents the mesmerizing story of a young woman who discovers not only what plagues her but also what cures her-the birth of her sensuality, her creativity as an artist,…

The Spiral Staircase

By Karen Armstrong,

Book cover of The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness

Niki Harré Author Of Psychology for a Better World: Working with People to Save the Planet

From the list on living well together.

Who am I?

As a psychologist with environmental interests people often ask me about hope. It goes something like this: “Climate change is pushing us toward disaster! What is your source of hope?”  I finally figured out that I only have one source of hope. It is that we, as people, are able to work together just well enough to keep it all afloat. There’s a lot involved in working together – learning to listen with compassion, run good meetings, empower everyone to give of their best, and rebuild trust when it starts to break down. I’ve been researching these topics in community settings for the past 15 years. 

Niki's book list on living well together

Discover why each book is one of Niki's favorite books.

Why did Niki love this book?

The Spiral Staircase is the book I’ve read the most number of times as an adult. It is the autobiography of Karen Armstrong who was a Catholic nun for six years in the 1960s in the UK. The book picks up after she leaves her convent and is studying English literature at Oxford University. She is also suffering from mysterious episodes of fainting and memory loss, and so we are taken into her struggles with both academia and the psychiatry of the 1970s. She then spirals through other careers and eventually returns to God – not now as a person of faith but as a writer about religion – its beauty and its tension.

This is perhaps the most honest book I’ve read, as it unflinchingly describes the experience of making terrible mistakes – as we almost all do – without blame or self-flagellation. Karen Armstrong learns, in the end,…

By Karen Armstrong,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • The New York Times bestselling author of A History of God delivers the gripping, inspirational story about her own search for God.  

“A story about becoming human, being recognized, finally recognizing oneself…. It fills the reader with hope.” —The Washington Post Book World

In 1962, at age seventeen, Karen Armstrong entered a convent, eager to meet God. After seven brutally unhappy years as a nun, she left her order to pursue English literature at Oxford. But convent life had profoundly altered her, and coping with the outside world and her expiring faith proved to be excruciating. Her…

How to Pray

By Pete Greig,

Book cover of How to Pray

Jodie Berndt Author Of Praying the Scriptures for Your Life: 31 Days of Abiding in the Presence, Provision, and Power of God

From the list on prayer and why it is so powerful.

Who am I?

I’m often introduced as a “prayer expert” but I’m not. I’m just someone who’s found herself praying a lot—for my family, my friends, and even sometimes complete strangers. And while there are all sorts of ways we can pray, I like praying the Scriptures—taking the actual words of the Bible and using them to shape our perspective as well as our prayers. Not only has that approach made my conversations with God more diverse and creative, but it has made them more powerful. Plus, praying this way has equipped me to trust God and experience freedom from worry or fear—even when things don’t happen the way, or in the timing, that I want them to.

Jodie's book list on prayer and why it is so powerful

Discover why each book is one of Jodie's favorite books.

Why did Jodie love this book?

With Pete Greig’s How to Pray, the subtitle says it all: A Simple Guide for Normal People. Greig is a worldwide authority on prayer, but as a self-described “scruffy Brit,” he writes in a way that makes prayer both appealing and accessible. With disarming humor and candor, Greig addresses questions we’ve all asked, from why God heals some people but not others (Greig’s wife, for example, suffers severe epilepsy) to whether or not it’s okay to pray for a parking space. (Spoiler alert:  Greig says yes to parking place prayers, since doing so equips us to live life with greater gratitude. Love that.) I have more than two dozen well-loved books about prayer on my shelf, but How to Pray might be my favorite. It is, to borrow a word from the Brits, “brilliant.”

By Pete Greig,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

2021 ECPA Award Finalist in the Christian Living Category

“An instant spiritual classic.” ―Christianity Today

Is prayer the most challenging area of your Christian journey? It doesn’t have to be. Pete Greig, one of the founders of 24-7 Prayer International, is passionate about introducing people to simple, honest, relevant conversations with God.

How to Pray is a raw, real, and relevant look at prayer for everyone―from the committed follower of Jesus to the skeptic and the scared. Full of biblically sound wisdom, How to Pray will offer honest encouragement and real-life methods to refresh your spirit and help you practice…

Book cover of Because You'll Never Meet Me

Deanna Cabinian Author Of One Night

From the list on unlikely friendships.

Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by the intensity of friendships, whether they last a few months or a lifetime. For me, unlikely friendships have always been the most interesting, whether it be differences in class, age, hobbies, etc. I think all people can find common ground if they just listen to one another and talk for a minute. I love books featuring unlikely duos and almost always include them in my own novels. I hope you enjoy these books as much as I do, and they remind you of the best friends you’ve ever had.

Deanna's book list on unlikely friendships

Discover why each book is one of Deanna's favorite books.

Why did Deanna love this book?

Because You’ll Never Meet Me is a YA novel that takes quirky friendships to a different level. Ollie is allergic to electricity and Moritz suffers from a rare heart condition. He was also born without eyes. Because of their medical issues, Ollie and Moritz can never meet. Ollie’s mom and doctor urge him to befriend someone like him and he and Moritz become long-distance pen pals. Their friendship is brought to life through the heartfelt letters they write to each other. There’s also a dark secret about their past and where they came from. 

By Leah Thomas,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Because You'll Never Meet Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ollie and Moritz are two teenagers who will never meet. Each of them lives with a life-affecting illness. Contact with electricity sends Ollie into debilitating seizures, while Moritz has a heart defect and is kept alive by an electronic pacemaker. If they did meet, Ollie would seize, but turning off the pacemaker would kill Moritz.

Through an exchange of letters, the two boys develop a strong bond of friendship which becomes a lifeline during dark times - until Moritz reveals that he holds the key to their shared, sinister past, and has been keeping it from Ollie all along.

Yoga for Life

By Colleen Saidman Yee,

Book cover of Yoga for Life: A Journey to Inner Peace and Freedom

Kathryn E. Livingston Author Of Yin, Yang, Yogini: A Woman's Quest for Balance, Strength and Inner Peace

From the list on yoga memoirs to inspire you on your path.

Who am I?

Nearly 20 years ago, I awkwardly stumbled into a yoga class after a therapist informed me that I needed to do something about my anxiety issues (“Take your pick,” she said, “I’ll prescribe pills or you can try yoga.”) From the very first class, I was drawn not only to the physical practice, but to the sense that yoga could lead me deeper into my own heart and soul. I wrote a memoir about my journey—and about how yoga helped me later face and conquer breast cancer. I now teach yoga, and I love reading about how yoga changes lives—as it almost always does. 

Kathryn's book list on yoga memoirs to inspire you on your path

Discover why each book is one of Kathryn's favorite books.

Why did Kathryn love this book?

I really liked this book because beautiful, blonde, former model Saidman Yee (wife of the popular yoga teacher Rodney Yee) seems so perfect on the outside that one couldn’t imagine she’d ever have had a notable problem—let alone a seizure disorder or substance abuse issues. Growing up in Indiana, one of seven kids, the author ended up posing for glamour shots and making a name for herself in the fashion world. But inside she experienced anxiety and fear of failure. Saidman Yee’s vulnerability and authenticity shine in this candid story of how yoga helped her go within and honor her true self. Wonderful yoga sequences designed by Saidman Yee are included.

By Colleen Saidman Yee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The very first time Saidman Yee took a yoga class, she left feeling inexplicably different-something inside had shifted. She felt alive-so alive that yoga became the center of her life, helping her come to terms with her insecurities and find her true identity and voice. From learning to cope with a frightening seizure disorder to navigating marriages and divorces to becoming a mother, finding the right life partner, and grieving a beloved parent, Saidman Yee has been through it all-and has found that yoga holds the answers to life's greatest challenges.

Approachable, sympathetic, funny, and candid, Saidman Yee shares personal…

The Battle for Your Brain

By Nita A. Farahany,

Book cover of The Battle for Your Brain: Defending the Right to Think Freely in the Age of Neurotechnology

Sally Adee Author Of We Are Electric: Inside the 200-Year Hunt for Our Body's Bioelectric Code, and What the Future Holds

From the list on the history and future of bioelectricity.

Who am I?

I’m a science and technology journalist who has reported on neurotech and bioelectricity for over 15 years, for publications including New Scientist, IEEE Spectrum and Quartz. After a formative experience in a DARPA brain-stimulation experiment, I began to dig into the history and science of bioelectricity, trying to understand both the science at the level of membrane biophysics, and the history and psychology of how biology lost custody of electricity. My resulting book is an effort to create a repository of the real, rigorous studies that have advanced our understanding of this fascinating science at an accelerating rate in the past 20 to 40 years - and what the new science means about the future.

Sally's book list on the history and future of bioelectricity

Discover why each book is one of Sally's favorite books.

Why did Sally love this book?

They say the law is perpetually at least five years behind new developments in technology.

Nowhere is it more important to reverse this phenomenon than in neurotechnology. We may not understand the brain, but that hasn’t stopped neurotech startups and big tech companies from trying to eavesdrop on and interpret its bioelectric signals.

Farahany, a bioethics professor at Duke University, says that this market is expected to reach $21 billion by 2026 largely because it will be a boon for surveillance capitalism. The devices don’t even have to actually tell you what a person is thinking or feeling for the information to be used that way by companies and governments.

People become credulous when AI tells them something, whether it’s a policing or recidivism algorithms. Wearable says you are about to commit a crime or have an affair? 

Farahany makes an impassioned argument to build the legal framework that will…

By Nita A. Farahany,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A new dawn of brain tracking and hacking is coming. Will you be prepared for what comes next?

Imagine a world where your brain can be interrogated to learn your political beliefs, your thoughts can be used as evidence of a crime, and your own feelings can be held against you. A world where people who suffer from epilepsy receive alerts moments before a seizure, and the average person can peer into their own mind to eliminate painful memories or cure addictions.

Neuroscience has already made all of this possible today, and neurotechnology will soon become the “universal controller” for…