The Wellcome Book Prize judges for 2016 will shortly be announcing their shortlisted books for this year, showcasing the most exceptional recently published works of fiction and non-fiction in the field of medicine. In the meantime, here are their choice selections for books which can help cure those winter blues.
From Damian Barr, columnist and Wellcome Book Prize Judge 2016:
Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade by Patrick Dennis - this high-camp classic from 1953 is about an orphaned boy adopted by his fabulous and highly irregular aunt. The movie is also very good (for once!)
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons. Seth Starkadder will set your pulse racing and you’ll want to slap Delfine and watch our for something nasty in the woodshed!
Tales Of The City by Armistead Maupin will transport you to Barbary Lane in the 1970s and put you in the shoes of Mar-Ann Singleton as she sheds her mid-Western inhibitions and loses her heart to San Francisco.
From Frances Balkwill OBE, Professor of Cancer Biology at Barts Cancer Institute and Wellcome Book Prize Judge 2016:
Any of the Mapp & Lucia books by EF Benson – like eating yummy chocolates, drinking fine wine, relaxing in a hot bath
Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris – original and very, very funny
Mrs Palfrey At The Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor – one of the most under-estimated writers of the 20th century – in fact any book by Elizabeth Taylor
Some Tame Gazelle by Barbara Pym – a (the) 20th Century Jane Austen – all of her books are wonderful – another under-estimated author
From Sathnam Sanghera, Times journalist and Wellcome Book Prize Judge 2016:
Any Human Heart by William Boyd - a book that will make you laugh, cry and think about what you want from your life and relationships. What else could you want in a novel? I must have bought it for about 20 people now.
This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz - I’ve been obsessed with Junot Diaz ever since I picked up The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. I think Diaz is the most original voice to have appeared in last decade.
The Old Wives' Tale by Arnold Bennett - published in 1908, and about the lives of two sisters growing up in a drapery shop in the Potteries, The Old Wives' Tale provided part of the inspiration for my novel Marriage Material. A forgotten classic, and a massive treat
From Tessa Hadley, award-winning novelist and Wellcome Book Prize Judge 2016:
Black Narcissusby Rumer Godden – It’s nothing like the Powell and Pressburger film (which Godden didn’t like). A beautiful, subtle novel about nuns in the 1930s, in the Himalayan mountains near Darjeeling. Bright and warm - though never sentimental - for dark days.
Down the Rabbit Holeby Juan Pablo Villalobos - Another hot place; Mexico this time. Clever and very funny story about a little boy holed up with his dangerous narco father.
The Maples Stories by John Updike - Lovely pocket-sized compendium of Updike’s short stories about one family, warming and funny and wrapped around with New Englander prosperity
From Joan Bakewell DBE, author, journalist and chair of Wellcome Book Prize judges:
Any P.G. Wodehouse
The Warden by Anthony Trollope
Any Shakespeare play