The Wellcome Book Prize 2019 – Mind On Fire by Arnold Thomas Fanning

The Wellcome Book Prize is almost here and I’ve been lucky enough to work with the team on another fantastic book in the short list. I received a copy of Mind On Fire in exchange for this blog and my honest opinions.

I’ve really enjoyed working with the Wellcome Book Prize in the past because it has such a diverse long list, it really shows a broad scope of what it means to be human. Here’s a peak at the 2019 short list. Now, on with my thoughts.

Mind on Fire recounts Fanning’s own experience of mental illness, the good, the bad and the ugly. Through the pages of this novel you are transported to his side and at first it can be a little hard to understand – particularly as the book opens with a manic episode. I think that could throw some people off but I would say to work through it because it is a worthwhile read.

Fanning goes through a lot in these pages, from his initial breakdown, hospitalisations, homelessness, his travels and attempts to still be creative despite his mental illness. It is a difficult read, you want to reach through and help. You want to make a change so that people with a mental illness who are struggling.

This also shows what mental illness can do to the relationships of those around them. The breakdown of Fanning’s relationships with his father and sister were incredibly truthful – I can’t imagine this was an easy book to write.

I gave this book I 4 stars. An important an interesting read but I can appreciate that for some it could be quite hard to get into. This is incredibly raw and hits home what life with a mental illness can be like.

Thank you to the Wellcome Book Prize, the author and publisher for this opportunity.

March 2019 Favourites

It’s time for my favourites agaaaaain! I’ll admit I was unsure about doing one for this month as life has been SUPER quiet. I haven’t been travelling into London much so I’ve mostly been a homebody.

Books

Boooooks, wonderful booooks. I’ll have a full post of what I read in March coming up for you guys but I had an even split of fiction and non-fiction in my favourites this month.

I picked up Internment by Samira Ahmed after loving her debut and this got a 4.5 star rating from me. A story set in a not too distant future where Muslims are sent to Internment camps – something I’m scared could happen in this current climate.

Next up was That’s Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger another new release. This focuses on the lives of school shooting survivors and what really happened on that day, rather than what was reported. This also got 4.5 stars from me, a really interesting read.

I was sent a copy of Mind On Fire by Arnold Thomas Fanning, a memoir about the author’s life with mental illness, a 4 star read from me. This was a tough but incredibly well written book and I’m so excited that it’s on the Wellcome Prize shortlist for 2019! Full review to come.

And finally I was given an early release copy of Voices of Powerful Women by Zoe Sallis. This is a collection of big questions put to incredible women and although I didn’t know all of them it was a refreshing read.

Movies

Ummm, hello new favourite superhero with a kick ass soundtrack. I love Captain Marvel and really wish that I’d had her growing up. This film has proven that there is a place for female superheroes so umm, Marvel can we get that Black Widow and Scarlet Witch movie going? Thanks.

Gigs

I went to 2 amazing gigs in March with some of my favourite people. First up, George Ezra with my sister and I can honestly say he is brilliant live and was well worth the wait. This was my sister’s Christmas present from me, I always try and get her a gig ticket/something to look forward to.

I also went to see Dream State. Ali’s a fan and got me into them, so he got us tickets to a local show, these guys are also going to be playing Reading & Leeds this year. Definitely one to watch.

Wompa

And three became four. Yep we got our fourth hamster baby this month, I spotted her and thought no, we have enough. Then I called Ali…who told me to go get her, within 5 minutes I was back in the shop. She’s called Wompa, she’s very inquisitive and right now likes to bite things, including me.

General Life

Ok guys, not to brag or anything but I went out TWICE this month. I know, who is this party girl? I kid, I kid. A night of drinking for funsies and a birthday celebration but, you know a girl can’t go too wild.

I also got Ali home from tour and he got me this AWESOME Harry Potter jacket (an engagement ring one month and a jacket the next – definitely picked a winner there). And finally, I just wanted to share with you all this dress that my Mum got me because I felt hella cute.

February Book Haul 2019

My February Book Haul

Well, after buying no books in the month of January February was a little different. It’s time for my February book haul and buckle up because there is a LOT. It’s worth noting that I’m only hauling physical books…let’s not even get into the e-ARCS.

The Gifted Books

First up, the books I have sent by lovely people who encourage my bookish ways. I’ve received Eye Level by Jenny Xie as I’ll be working on the International Dylan Thomas Prize and this is a contender. I have also been sent two books that are on the longlist for the 2019 Wellcome Book Prize. Educated by Tara Westover is one I’ve heard about constantly and while I haven’t heard about Mind On Fire by Arnold Thomas Fanning I always want to read more mental health memoirs. And I also was sent Am I Ugly? by Michelle Elman a memoir I’m looking forward to getting into.

The Sale Books

Sooo, Waterstones had a sale. I got all of these books for £1 each! They’re not damaged and I don’t quite know why they went into sale but I’m excited. I picked up three YA novels and one general fiction.

In YA we have Hello, Goodbye and Everything In Between by Jennifer E. Smith, Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga and Fearsome Dreamer by Laure Eve. I’ve enjoyed books by Eve and Warga before and have no idea about Smith so we’ll see. And we also have Look At Me by Sarah Duguid which involves finding a family member who was never known about! Dun, dun, duuuuun.

The YA Books

I might have gone on a little Amazon spending spree in YA. I keep hearing about Five Feet Apart by Racheael Lippincott with Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Laconis so I picked it up and so far, so good. It’s giving me The Fault In Our Stars vibes – one of my favourite books.

I also picked up A Danger To Herself And Others by Alyssa Sheimmel, I loved her previous novel Faceless so as soon as I saw this I needed to pick it up. Also, while I’ve never read or watched DUFF, I’ve bought That’s Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger. The blurb looked really interesting and I’ve heard nothing but good things about Keplinger so why not pick it up?

Other Books

I also picked up two poetry collections Feminine Gospels and Standing Female Nude by Carol Ann Duffy. I do love some poetry and I couldn’t resist when I went to Waterstones Picadilly, I could have stayed there for so long. I was also lucky enough to be given a copy of Fairytale by my friends Nan because she is so adorable.

So, that was a MONTH and I’m super glad I’ve got a new bookcase to put them all onto! Did you buy many books in February? Let me know below!