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Hello Hello! How are you?

Today I decided to do something a little bit different and I’m going to be talking to you about some books I have on my thesis reading list. This is going to be a sort of discussion/list post where I’ll tell you what my top picks are. I have so many books on my thesis reading list, but these are the ones I would like to read first, or really want to study for a specific topic.

As you have probably heard me say before, I have chosen to do my thesis on disability in English literature. As someone who has various serious and chronic conditions, and with family members who also have various conditions and some of whom are disabled, disability has always been a really important subject for me.

When I first got into reading properly when I was a teenager, I hardly came across disability in literature. As I’ve been getting more and more into reading for myself, and not just for school, and as I have found the genres I enjoy the most, I’ve come across disability a lot more thankfully. And when I discovered the bookish community and so many recommendations for books with disability rep, I was just so happy to finally be able to read books that featured characters I could truly relate to. While some portrayals are maybe a little too close to home and sometimes hit me a bit too hard in the feels, I am so grateful that authors are now including more and more disabled and sick characters because it is a universal reality and it’s not okay to ignore it.

Anyway, when I was accepted into my Publishing Masters and they asked us what subject we would write our thesis on, it had to be something we were passionate about and something we knew needed to be brought to the forefront of publishing. At that point, I got a lightbulb moment and the rest is history. This year, I’m focusing on the historical side of things, the actual medical, sociological and literary implications of disability representations, so I’ll be focusing on more research and actual reference books to help me. But next year, I get to pick some books to analyse and study, so here is a list of the top 30 books (plus an extra series), that I want to read for my thesis!

Books with Disability rep I’ll be reading soon!

I have a mix of children’s and middle grade, YA and adult literature through various genres such as fantasy, science fiction, classics, contemporary, romance, historical fiction, poetry, nonfiction and more!

Children’s/Middle grade fiction

  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling
  • The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker

YA fiction

  • A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
  • Scars Like Wings by Erin Stewart
  • Love from A to Z by S. K. Ali
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  • The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell
  • The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman
  • Our Bloody Pearl by D. N. Bryn
  • How We Roll by Natasha Friend
  • Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling by Lucy Frank
  • Unbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled Teens edited by Marieke Nijkamp
  • We Rule the Night by Claire Eliza Bartlett

Adult fiction

  • Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Moby Dick or, the Whale by Herman Melville
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  • The Girl in Red by Christina Henry
  • Hide and Seek by Wilkie Collins
  • Defying Doomsday, edited by Tsana Dolichva and Holly Kench
  • The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
  • A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin (this is the extra series that I added because I couldn’t not include it since it has so many portrayals of disability and illness)!

Nonfiction, own voices and disability memoirs

  • Mean Little Deaf Queer by Terry Galloway
  • Call Me Ahab: A Short Story Collection by Anne Finger
  • Laughing at My Nightmare by Shane Burcaw
  • Through the Shadowlands: A Science Writer’s Odyssey into an Illness Science Doesn’t Understand by Julie Rehmeyer
  • Please Read This Leaflet Carefully: Keep This Leaflet. You May Need to Read It Again. by Karen Havelin
  • Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of Disability Rights Activist by Judith Heumann and Kristen Joiner
  • Show Me Where It Hurts: Living with Invisible Illness by Kylie Maslen

So here it is, my massive list of books I will hopefully be reading soon for my thesis. I have a list of literally hundreds of books for this thesis, and I’m so excited to get started. This is a topic that I hold dear, that means a lot to me and that I’m faced with in my daily life.

If you know of any more books with disability or illness representation, please tell me about them in the comments below, I might not have them on my massive list yet!

That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed this post, see you soon, stay safe,

Ellie xx

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  1. That’s a wonderful dissertation topic, Ellie! I think we are gradually seeing more books with disability representation and I’d be excited to hear you thoughts on the books you’ve chosen. Good luck!

    1. Thank you so much Stephen! Yes, it is really good that disability is getting a bigger place in literature, and I hope it becomes a lot more common soon! I am looking forward to these! ☺️

  2. I absolutely love this! If I was in this kind of program (and I wish I was) I would probably do the same topic! Love from A to Z and Get a Life, Chloe Brown are excellent books, some of my favorites! Another book that you may have read already is Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz. It made me cry my eyes out hahaha

    Good luck on the thesis! I hope you do more posts about your journey.

    1. Thank you so much, that means a lot to me that you took the time to read and comment my post! Oh I think I have that one on my list! Thank you so much, looking forward to all of these books and will definitely update! 🥰

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