A cartoonish illustration of a board-game style human with books in place of body parts.
Reading lists

A book for every part of your body

Heads, shoulders, knees and toes: wherever you're looking to improve your health and deepen your understanding of the human body, we have the perfect book for you.

Whether we’re thinking about them or not, our bodies are always working: just in the time it took you to read this sentence, your brain, eyes, heart, and lungs – not to mention a thousand other body parts – were all keeping you alive and focused. Indeed, we tend not to think about the ways our bodies function until they fail us.

Yet, there’s so much we can do in our day-to-day lives to stay healthy, from brain functioning right down to foot health. With that in mind, we selected a handful of books per body part – starting in the head and working downwards – to help readers maintain, strengthen and even heal their body health and prevent illness. There is a book for every part of your body; find health advice for yours below.

Read from the top, or skip to a body part here:

A boardgame-style illustration of the brain
A boardgame-style illustration of the eyes

For all things eye health, Meir Schneider’s book is a perfect place to start. As useful a guide for those with 20/20 vision as it is for those experiencing sight issues, Vision for Life spans both maintenance and troubleshooting, and is full of the tips and exercises that helped the author himself overcome near-blindness. Think of it as physical therapy for the eyes – and, for those losing their sight, a message of hope for repair and recovery.

A boardgame-style illustration of ears

The Ear Book: A Complete Guide to Ear Disorders and Health by Thomas J Balkany and Kevin D Brown (2017)

We might not think about them every day, but ears are the central organs to both hearing and balance. In this informative tome, Drs Thomas J Balkany and Kevin D Brown explain the anatomy of the ear and how to identify the various causes, symptoms and treatments of ear illness, from infection to cancer, eardrum perforation to hearing loss. Along the way, they also debunk common hearing myth and provide tips to maintain ear health.

A boardgame-style illustration of books as a heart
A boardgame-style illustration of breasts
A boardgame-style illustration of books in the place of lungs

Helping Lung Health, By the Book by Robert Redfern (2018)

Subtitled Pulmonary Rehabilitation Plan For COPD, Emphysema, Fibrosis, Bronchiectasis and More, this book from nutritionist Robert Redfern is a wide-spanning guide to rehabilitating your lungs after suffering any of the above conditions – or any of a host of others. It’s a great jump-off point for any reader with a pulmonary condition, or for anyone looking to help a loved one through the same.

A boardgame-style illustration of a book in the stomach

Now in its fourth edition, this comprehensive and authoritative guide to stomach and gut health has become a go-to for anyone experiencing digestive health issues. From prevention to treatment, and ranging from simple issues like bloating and gas, heartburn, constipation and diarrhoea to more urgent ones like celiac disease, colorectal cancer, Crohn’s disease and more, Digestive Health is a practical and thorough tome, and a must-have for any health-related bookshelf.

A boardgame-style illustration of a book as a spine
A boardgame-style illustration of a book as skin
A boardgame-style illustration of a book as the immune system
A boardgame-style illustration of a book as genitalia

When it comes to sexual health, there’s no better place to start than with the facts. This third edition of the Oxford Handbook of Genitourinary Medicine, HIV, and Sexual Health, is “fully updated to encompass the changes in the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, British HIV Association, and Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare guidelines and recommendations”, and is an ideal resource for any question related to genital and sexual health.

A boardgame-style illustration of a book in a foot

We would be remiss not to mention the very bottom of the human body, and the part that takes the hardest beating: our feet. In this all-encompassing guide to foot health, bio-mechanist Katy Bowman provides facts and visuals to help illustrate proper foot care, from body movement to adequate footwear, in order to prevent hammertoes, bunions, plantar fasciitis and poor posture. The rest of your body will thank you.

What did you think of this article? Did we miss a crucial book or body part? Let us know by emailing us at editor@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk.

Images: Ryan MacEachern / Penguin

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