2 Parkinson’s disease books I’m currently reading

Books can provide a backdrop of understanding for those looking for answers

Mary Beth Skylis avatar

by Mary Beth Skylis |

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When I was a kid, the world was divided into the haves and the have-nots. The haves never wanted for anything, while the have-nots had to find a way to navigate their lives without the appropriate resources to do so.

I fell into the have-nots. And anytime I struggled to find a way to move forward, I looked to the long rows of shelves at the library for answers. There, amid the musty pages, I found inspiration, tutorials, and guidance that filled the gaps in my life.

Today, I’m still an avid reader. Information provides me a more comprehensive understanding of the things that take place in my life. And Parkinson’s disease is always in the rotation because my dad was diagnosed with the disease 10 years ago.

Doctors often don’t have the time for lengthy discussions about how a patient can improve their quality of life. And some social media sources offer inaccurate information. But books can provide a backdrop of understanding for those who are looking for answers.

The following are a couple books I found interesting and hope you will, too.

Recommended Reading
An illustration focusing on the hands of two people.

Parkinson’s progression, treatment response may depend on onset side

From researcher to patient

Alice Lazzarini worked as a neurology researcher and professor specializing in degenerative disorders long before she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. I was particularly drawn to her story in “Both Sides Now: A Journey from Researcher to Patient” because it blends the world of science with the world of experience — which often is difficult to do.

In the late 1990s, she worked on a research team that discovered the first Parkinson’s-disease-causing gene mutation. Before long, she began to recognize in her own life the same symptoms she’d been researching.

What’s particularly special about this book is how Lazzarini humanizes her scientific findings. Despite the heightened level of scientific research that Lazzarini includes in the book, it’s still very accessible to readers.

A valuable resource

If you do a Google search of Parkinson’s disease, the results are fairly straightforward. You’ll find information about symptoms, treatments, and possible causes. But most resources fail to provide actionable steps that can be applied to a life with Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s Disease: 300 Tips for Making Life Easier” by Shelley Peterman Schwarz, on the other hand, offers readers ideas about home improvement, common life tasks, and managing Parkinson’s. As a result, those who flip through its pages not only end up with a better picture of what the disease’s progression might look like on a day-to-day basis, but also how to manage the changes that come.

Peterman Schwarz does a great job of dividing this book into helpful sections, allowing readers to flip on a whim to topics like meals or grooming. The result is an easy-to-digest, creative piece of content that gives Parkinson’s patients and their loved ones actionable steps to take.

What Parkinson’s-themed books would you recommend? Please share in the comments below. 

Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.


Alice Lazzarini avatar

Alice Lazzarini

Mary Beth, Thank you for your kind acknowledgement of my book. You "got" my attempt to bridge the gap between the "world of science" and "the world of experience." I'm twenty years out now from my diagnosis of PD and, while I do move more slowly and experience some of the other annoying PD symptom that you're likely familiar with, I continue to remain independent and enjoy my morning walks as well as PD-specific programs like Boxing and Dance for Parkinson's. I wish your dad the same fairly benign progression going forward, and laude you're jumping into the ring to fight for him—having someone in your corner makes a world of difference!
PS As my daughter is an avid AT trail hiker (I live it vicariously), I would enjoy seeing what you have written for for Backpacker Magazine...

Mary Beth avatar

Mary Beth


Thank you for your kind words. And for you literary contribution! I always love connecting with other writers -- especially those with lived experience. I'd love to connect with your daughter! And my work at Backpacker can be found here:


Mary Beth


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