Novel Therapy | Books recommended for AS days | This AS Life

AS can affect different people in different ways on different days. For some it can be a case of vague discomfort, for others, an inability to even get out of bed.

Whatever impact AS is having on you, sometimes you just need a break and what better way than escaping into a good book? We’ve collected a suggested reading list, mixing books on AS with those by authors with AS and some which simply draw you in to provide a distraction when AS is getting on top of you.

All these books are available in eBook formats, making it as easy as possible for you to go from reading our round-ups to having the book in your hands. 

For days when you need a friend...

Pick of the pages

Mostly Cloudy With Some Bright Spells by Juliette Wills.

A successful sports journalist, Juliette Wills was diagnosed with both ankylosing spondylitis and ulcerative colitis in quick succession at the age of 27. ‘Mostly Cloudy With Some Bright Spells’ is her memoir; at times upbeat, at times tragic but always wickedly funny and self-deprecating. Wills’account of her disease journey offers a compelling story to empathize with and her memories of late-90’s Cool-Britannia excess provide a little spice to the tale. As a bonus, the chapter titles also provide a playlist so you can listen along as you read – a soundtrack for your flare day.


Off-the-wall option

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey.

An of beat choice for housebound days. After developing a mysterious and debilitating neurological condition Tova Bailey is confined to bed for a year, too weak to even sit up. Unable to read or watch TV she develops a quiet fascination with the habits of a woodland snail living in the terrarium by her bed, a fascination which gave her a new sense of purpose and a new perspective on life. An ode to the pleasures and rewards of contemplation, companionship and the power of nature to lift our spirits.


Honorable mention

Kicking My AS by Kip Jennings.

At only 40 pages long, this book is more of a quick read than an engrossing page-turner. However, this vivid and clear-eyed look at living with AS could be just what the doctor ordered to remind you that you’re not alone. Jennings’ journey is a source of inspiration; from energetic go-getter to worn-down zombie and then a climb back to the light, ultimately becoming a stronger, wiser person as a result of his struggles with AS.

For adventurous days...

Pick of the pages

Walking Home and Walking Away by Simon Armitage.

A prominent UK writer and Professor of Poetry at Oxford, Armitage is a master of words. He’s also been living with AS since the age of 26. The impact of the condition on his physical fitness makes these two works – where he hikes the UK’s Pennine Way and South West Coast path, swapping stories for bed and board – all the more impressive. See some of the most beautiful parts of the English countryside through the eyes of a poet without needing to set foot outside.


Off-the-wall option

The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner.

Eric Weiner, self-styled ‘grumpiest man on the planet’, goes in search of the nature of happiness. The quest will take him from Rotterdam to Reykjavik, Bhutan to Bangkok, investigating where different cultures find their happy place. Perfect for down days and for taking your mind to different places when your body can’t go far.

Honorable mention

City Squares: Eighteen Writers on the Spirit and Significance of Squares Around the World by Catie Marron.

Renowned writers from around the globe delve into the spirit and history of some of the world’s most recognized and significant city squares, with illustrations from equally distinguished photographers – allowing you to virtually travel the globe from the comfort of your favorite chair.



For days you want to escape...

Pick of the pages

Storywalker by David Bridger.

A multiverse-hopping quest of creatures and mythologies from warriors to dragons, all centered around a heroine whose invisible disease means she has to manage her exertion carefully each day. Nowhere else will you find chronic pain and fatigue so closely blended with magic and adventure to put a new spin on living with disease. Dungeons and Dragons meets sore joints and stiffness.


Off-the-wall option

A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin.

Sometimes the best route to relief from AS pain is not to stay still but to keep moving. In that case, you don’t want an epic read but something you can dip in and out of easily. This collection of short stories from Lucia Berlin lifts the curtain on mid-20th Century America for bite-size bits of intrigue. The most remarkable thing about these slice-of-life tales is that, from Alaskan mining camp to Manhattan loft, they are all slices of Berlin’s own life. Fiercely engaging


Honourable mention

Weird Wide World: 13 Twisted Tales by Greg J Porter.

Combining the quick accessibility of the short story with the fantastic adventure of the fiction novel, this anthology of tales from a new up-and-coming talent allows a series of quick escapes to suit every taste. From a midnight train to the depths of the sea to the far-flung future, if you’re bored of the four walls around you, Porter will transport you.


These are just our suggestions but, with the huge number of eBooks available online, you’ll never be short of something to read. And remember, for informative, expert articles on life with AS, This AS Life is always close to hand.


This article was written by one of the resident experts at A social site helping the whole AS community to: Learn. Share. Inspire. Discuss.





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