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Wendy Mitchell: Books that changed my life

Wendy Mitchell: Books that changed my life

Wendy Mitchell is a bestselling author and dementia advocate. Her book One Last Thing: How to Live With the End in Mind is published by Bloomsbury 

The Salt Path by Raynor Winn

The Salt Path by Raynor Winn book jacket

It was the last full-length book I ever read before my dementia took away that ability. I was sent the book by Raynor herself.

I’d been diagnosed with dementia for four and a half years. I’d published my first book, Somebody I Used to Know, so I knew how life-changing stories could be. We all have a story to tell, but often, it takes a life-changing moment to put pen to paper, as happened to me and Raynor.

What this book re-instilled in me was the power of human resilience. You either give in to bad situations, or you turn them around to make yourself a new life—a different life.

Under the Duvet by Marian Keyes

Under the Duvet by Marian Keyes book jacket

The Salt Path was the last full-length book dementia allowed me to read. But I loved reading, so I had to find an alternative. I tried a few short story books, but I couldn’t find any that held my attention, until I found Under the Duvet.

The book consists of glimpses into the hilarious and sometimes traumatic life of the author. From travelling, to family and friends, to food and her love of shoes. Each time I read this book I go to bed happy, feeling like I’ve had a chat with an old friend.

From the very thumbed pages I can tell I’ve re-read it lots of times. You see, that’s a gift from dementia. I can read a book and not remember anything, so reading is like the first, joyous time, every time.

Fox 8 by George Saunders

Fox 8 by George Saunders book jacket

This deceptively childlike story offers us a glance into the environmental disaster through the eyes of nature.

George cleverly disguises the seriousness of the messages by humanising Fox 8 and his communication with “Yumans”. The simple sketches that accompany draw your eyes away from the text and cement the words around them into visual clues.

Once you get used to the misspellings of the Yuman language by Fox 8, it all slips together nicely. Another well-thumbed classic in my drawer.

Banner credit: Jo Hanley

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