Recapping the Not the Wellcome Prize Blog Tour Reviews

It’s hard to believe the Not the Wellcome Prize blog tour is over already! It has been a good two weeks of showcasing some of the best medicine- and health-themed books published in 2019. We had some kind messages of thanks from the authors, and good engagement on Twitter, including from publishers and employees of the Wellcome Trust. Thanks to the bloggers involved in the tour, and others who have helped us with comments and retweets.

This weekend we as the shadow panel (Annabel of Annabookbel, Clare of A Little Blog of Books, Laura of Dr. Laura Tisdall, Paul of Halfman, Halfbook and I) have the tough job of choosing a shortlist of six books, which we will announce on Monday morning. I plan to set up a Twitter poll to run all through next week. The shadow panel members will vote to choose a winner, with the results of the Twitter poll serving as one additional vote. The winner will be announced a week later, on Monday the 11th.

First, here’s a recap of the 19 terrific books we’ve featured, in chronological blog tour order. In fiction we’ve got: novels about child development, memory loss, and disturbed mental states; science fiction about AI and human identity; and a graphic novel set at a small-town medical practice. In nonfiction the topics included: anatomy, cancer, chronic pain, circadian rhythms, consciousness, disability, gender inequality, genetic engineering, premature birth, sleep, and surgery in war zones. I’ve also appended positive review coverage I’ve come across elsewhere, and noted any other awards these books have won or been nominated for. (And see this post for a reminder of the other 56 books we considered this year through our mega-longlist.)


Notes Made While Falling by Jenn Ashworth & The Remarkable Life of the Skin by Monty Lyman: Simon’s reviews 

*Monty Lyman was shortlisted for the 2019 Royal Society Science Book Prize.

[Bookish Beck review of the Ashworth]

[Halfman, Halfbook review of the Lyman]


Exhalation by Ted Chiang & A Good Enough Mother by Bev Thomas: Laura’s reviews


Constellations by Sinéad Gleeson & War Doctor by David Nott: Jackie’s reviews

*Sinéad Gleeson was shortlisted for the 2020 Rathbones Folio Prize.

[Rebecca’s Goodreads review of the Gleeson]

[Kate Vane’s review of the Gleeson]

[Lonesome Reader review of the Gleeson]

[Rebecca’s Shiny New Books review of the Nott]


Vagina: A Re-education by Lynn Enright: Hayley’s Shiny New Books review

[Bookish Beck review]

Galileo’s Error by Philip Goff: Peter’s Shiny New Books review


Mother Ship by Francesca Segal & The Lady Doctor by Ian Williams: Rebecca’s reviews

[A Little Blog of Books review of the Segal]

[Annabookbel review of the Williams]


Chasing the Sun by Linda Geddes & The Nocturnal Brain by Guy Leschziner: Paul’s reviews

[Bookish Beck review of the Geddes]


Invisible Women by Caroline Criado-Pérez: Katie’s review 

*Caroline Criado-Pérez won the 2019 Royal Society Science Book Prize.

[Liz’s Shiny New Books review]


The Faculty of Dreams by Sara Stridsberg: Kate’s review

[Lonesome Reader review]

Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan: Kate’s review


Hacking Darwin by Jamie Metzl & The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa: Annabel’s reviews

*Yoko Ogawa is shortlisted for this year’s International Booker Prize.

[Lonesome Reader review of the Ogawa]


The Body by Bill Bryson & The World I Fell Out Of by Melanie Reid: Clare’s reviews

[Bookish Beck review of the Bryson]

[Rebecca’s Goodreads review of the Reid]


And there we have it: the Not the Wellcome Prize longlist. I hope you’ve enjoyed following along with the reviews. Look out for the shortlist, and your chance to vote for the winner, here and via Twitter on Monday.

Which book(s) are you rooting for?

10 responses

  1. Oh, there’s a lot to take in here. I’ll pop it to one side for later. Not post-breakfast reading, I think!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmm, nothing too grim on this year’s list, I don’t think — except War Doctor (surgery in conflict zones). If you’re a Bryson fan, he’s my top recommendation for those who don’t normally choose medical reads.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I heard a bit on Radio 4. It sounded promising.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have just read Exhalation from the list.. I loved reading it and i am sure it is in a good company.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Terrific! The official Prize hasn’t included much science fiction before, so we wanted to redress the balance.


      1. That’s great . Will forward to see who wins the prize

        Liked by 1 person

  3. buriedinprint | Reply

    What an impressive variety of topics. And I really like the collage image of all the books under consideration. I went through a spell where I read a LOT of books on health and I only rarely revisit the topic now, but themes do arise, of course. I’m behind in some online reading, so now I can simply saunter along and read your shortlist post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Annabel did a terrific job with the graphics 🙂 The collage has been especially popular. Unfortunately, as there were an odd number on the longlist, it leaves off one of the book covers (for A Good Enough Mother by Bev Thomas), which I felt slightly bad about.

      I was going to say, I don’t recall you reading any health-themed books. I suppose your interest waxed and waned based on personal circumstances? Do you find that any of that reading still resonates?


      1. buriedinprint

        That’s too bad. You could arrange them in a diamond shape to maintain some sense of symmetry but still include everyone. I’m sure that wouldn’t be at ALL complicated. *ducks the projectile from Annabel’s corner*

        And I don’t think that I have posted about any of the ones that I have read in the past couple of years either! Guessing, I probably have 2-5 each year even so, but maybe because I wasn’t reading as much NF to start with, and even less in that sector, I never thought of including them. Do you have topics that you kinda binged on in earlier years which have fallen by the way as time’s passed?


    2. In my early 20s I used to gulp down the loss-of-faith memoirs and progressive Christianity books, because I really needed those to see a life outside of fundamentalism. I am still drawn to them, but don’t read as many. If you ever read a medical-themed book you’d recommend, let me know 🙂


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