Jan Carson: My Dementia Bookcase

Jan Carson’s Dementia Bookcase

For the last five years, I’ve been gradually building up a Dementia bookcase. It began life as a shelf and, as more and more things have been written on the subject, gradually expanded to take over an entire bookcase. I’ve read some amazing non-fiction books: biographies written by people living with Dementia and their loved ones, and also books which have helped me understand the social, neurological and medical issues associated with Dementia. I’ve also read some fantastic novels which explore different aspects of the condition in a variety of hugely engaging and imaginative ways. Recently I’ve been focused upon reading Dementia narratives in translation and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed discovering how Dementia is viewed in different cultures and different countries around the world. Some of my favourite Dementia books have been aimed at children and young adults. I love the way writers are using fiction to help young people understand and explore a difficult issue in such a creative way. Speaking of creative approaches to exploring Dementia, I’m beginning to develop quite a collection of graphic novels on the theme. In the last ten years particularly, many writers have been using a mixture of words and images to effectively convey aspects of the Dementia experience which aren’t the easiest to pin down. In my bookcase I also have plays, poetry, essays, short stories and a growing collection of writing which refuses to sit within a specific genre: a kind of prose poetry/memoir hybrid which has produced some of my favourite pieces of Dementia writing. Over the next year, I hope to keep reading and discovering new books and stories. I’ll be sharing short reviews of everything I’m reading, here on the blog. I hope these will be useful for those of you who’d like to read further and please get in touch if you’d like to recommend a great book I’ve missed. There’s a whole world of writing about Dementia I’ve yet to discover. I may have to buy a second bookcase.