Category Archives: Wellcome Book Prize

Heart: A History by Sandeep Jauhar

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Heart: A History by Sandeep Jauhar

Can you mend a broken heart? It is a real pleasure to bring you my thoughts on Heart: A History by Sandeep Jauhar which has been shortlisted for the 2019 Wellcome Book Prize.

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For anyone who has as interest in this the most powerful of the organs in the human body yet many know and understand so little of the heart. For those of us who have experienced heart related problems and surgery you begin to take a closer interest on every beat in your chest. It is after all human nature.

For author Sandeep Jauhar he too has suffered as he tells his own story at the beginning of the book which led to a blockage in the main artery leading to the heart.

The heart is a very strong organ and it can withstand so much, as I found out reading Heart: A History it is the first organ to develop. Beginning to beat 3 weeks into life blood is not formed at this point. A remarkable fact that literally made me own heart skip at that thought. But when things do go wrong time is of the essence.

When Sandeep was young he knew of the problems related to the heart through his own family. It was as we learn when Sandeep was young did he take an interest in the heart and later decided he wanted to study Cardiology.

I became absorbed in the book as I learned more and more especially as Cardiology has been a fast paced part of medical study, it has advanced so fast in recent decades but yet there is still so much to learn and understand.

A few medical facts: The first coronary bypass operation I learned was in 1967 and the first coronary angioplasty was conducted as only in recent years back in 1977 yet this procedure seems to have been around for so much longer.

A fascinating and also moving book on the heart but one that is vital. A superb writer and Sandeep writes with such great prose. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

288 Pages.

Thank you to Charlotte Cooper from Midas PR for the review copy of Heart:  History by Sandeep Jauhar

Heart:  History by Sandeep Jauhar was published by Oneworld and was published on 27th September 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

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The 2019 Wellcome Book Prize Shortlist:

  • Amateur: A reckoning with gender, identity and masculinity (Canongate Books) by Thomas Page
  • Heart: A history (Oneworld) by Sandeep Jauhar (India/USA) Non-fiction
  • Mind on Fire: A memoir of madness and recovery (Penguin Ireland) by Arnold Thomas Fanning (Ireland) Non-fiction
  • Murmur (CB Editions) by Will Eaves (UK) Fiction
  • My Year of Rest and Relaxation (Jonathan Cape) by Ottessa Moshfegh (USA) Fiction
  • The Trauma Cleaner: One woman’s extraordinary life in death, decay and disaster (The Text Publishing Company) by Sarah Krasnostein (Australia/USA) Non-fiction

The winner will be announced on Wednesday 1st May at Wellcome Centre, London.

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How to follow the 10th Anniversary Wellcome Book Prize Blog Tour

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The Last Act of Love – Cathy Rentzenbrink

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The Last Act of Love – Cathy Rentzenbrink

2019 marks the 10th Anniversary of the Wellcome Book Prize. As part of the celebrations there is a Blog Tour and each of the winning books from 2009 to 2018. I am delighted today to bring you the winning book from 2016. The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink.

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This is the true story of Cathy’s brother Matt who in 1990 was hit by a car on the way home from a night out. As Matt lay in hospital just a few weeks before his GCSE results were to be announced Cathy and her parents sat beside Matt as he lay unconscious. Matt was never going to regain consciousness. Then as the hospital announced that there was no more that they could do for Matt they decided to take Matt home and for eight years they cared for him. Then the painful decision to apply to the courts to allow them to withdraw feeding him and allowing Matt to die.

This is an immensely powerful and moving memoir that tells the story of those years and the utterly heartbreaking decision to allow Matt to die. The pain and guilt must have been so overwhelming as hard as a decision as it was it was a decision to allow Matt to finally rest in peace and allow both parents and Cathy to grieve and start the long road to live again.

But for Cathy this was no easy journey, the grieving continued and depression sets in. Days when she thought she could cope but the depression was always in the background. It is not easy to write about someone so close to you and their death and how it hits you even years later always hoping for a miracle. Sadly, for Matt there was no miracle and left Cathy in a void. She sometimes believed it would have been better if it was her not Matt involved in the hit and run.

We are left to cope, they say with time it gets easier and life goes on? But the guilt remains. Why Matt and not me?

The Last Act of Love is devastatingly raw and powerful but also one of courage. Highly Recommended.

256 Pages.

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Thank you to Charlotte Cooper (Midas PR) for the copy of The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink

The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink was published by Picador and was published on 2nd July 2015 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

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