Tag Archive: psychology



The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of DepressionThe Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression by Andrew Solomon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t know who recommended this book for me. Whoever, thank you! This was so interesting!

Having borrowed the Libby audio narrated by the author, I now hope to buy the book someday.

The thing is, this is more than a book about depression, or even one person’s account of his own journey. This book includes a bit of history of the diagnosis and treatment for centuries. It also includes how the disorder affects different socioeconomic sets of people.

I highly recommend this for anyone who has gone through depression or know of others who might be suffering. It leads to not only a deeper understanding, but medical issues and ways to find health.

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Carefree Black Girls: A Celebration of Black Women in Popular CultureCarefree Black Girls: A Celebration of Black Women in Popular Culture by Carefree Black Girls Zeba Blay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In Carefree Black Girls, Zeba Blay addresses many of the issues in our world today through her life’s story. Far from being ‘carefree,’ this is a social statement of what some females must live through. I am not necessarily privileged, being a 71-year-old white woman on social security (which isn’t enough to live on.) But granted, I am not black, nor of the current generation with social media that is out to crush anyone they can.
As with every autobiography I read, I must leave the statement of lack of judgment. I can’t in any way decide if this book is good or bad. It is Ms. Blay’s story. It is interesting and awakening and empowering and angering. I wish I could hug her through her hard times. I wish I could beat up those who hurt her. I wish there were no such thing as bigotry or hatred of those whose bodies are not perfect or whose sexual lives don’t reflect the norms.

As with other autobiographies, I did appreciate a chance to walk in someone else’s shoes. As uncomfortable as those shoes might be for her or me. It made a hard read for bedtimes. It wasn’t easy to find a calm or happy moment to stop reading on a positive note. But I suppose that had me finishing the read faster.

I hope others will take the time to read about a life that isn’t your own. This one is not only well-written but highly researched to make sure her facts are traceable.

I want to thank Netgalley for the chance to read this book.

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Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You ThinkFactfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love books that make you think. This one certainly does that! It took a while to get through it. As you probably know, my reading is done at bedtime. This was not that kind of book. Though it was nonfiction, a lot of it kept me up at night.

There were eye-opening statistics that one might not have thought of before. Predictive statistics that the book talked about were even more eye-opening. One of the most striking was made clear to me, showed that like the chart of a newborn baby can’t predict with the same growth later in life. We don’t expect a baby to continue to grow as much or as fast as a school child as the newborn. If a person kept that same growth rate we’d all be giants. So predictive charts need to look at other aspects during different times, incomes, health and wealth influences. I know I’m not saying this the way the author did. But the points he made similar to the example I tried to put forth, were equally stunning.

My friend recommended this book and I am glad I followed through. On the other hand, I must admit that I would have gotten a lot more out of the book had I had the paper book. Since I have trouble reading tree-books for the eye-sight and font issue, I listen to the text-to-speech. The problem was that I didn’t take the moment to read the charts and graphs presented to help the reader understand how things really are as opposed to how we think they are.

Even so, I found this a super interesting book that in the future I might just try to find the paper book just for the illustrations. Maybe I don’t agree with all his perspectives, it seems I have read somewhere that statistics are rarely pure. Most are bent to reflect the person’s paid position to research to the paid end. Still closing one’s eyes to the possibilities presented in this book are so much more destructive than paying attention and learning what we can from it all.

Give it a try. I picked my copy from the local e-library.

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On Edge: A Journey Through AnxietyOn Edge: A Journey Through Anxiety by Andrea Petersen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book. Boy, am I glad I did! It was well-written and well-researched.

Do you suffer from anxiety/depression like I do? Have you taken every drug the doctor prescribed and not have it work at all? Here is someone who has. I personally related to this book. Andrea Petersen tells her story while relating it to the science in history and current treatments for these ailments. She tells about her experiences helping us to see all the things in her life that could have or didn’t cause her own problems. She owns what she can but it isn’t a blame game for her. It is trying to understand how it was she thought she was going to die during anxiety episodes.

I am going to put a bit of a spoiler here as it is the one takeaway I want to remember. And I’ll tell you why. Have you had a panic attack? I have. But I’ve also had stage fright. I used to sing solos at churches. I found this to be true: If I could get excited about singing the song in front of people I rarely made mistakes and the song sounded pretty good. I never could have said that about giving a speech or playing solos on the piano. TERRIFIED FROZEN POOL OF SWEAT. The same applies to talking to people on the phone, even people I love. If I had the performance memorized and I was excited (which can also cause shaking hands) I did fine. If I can work on making sure to build the excitement, I might be able to overcome the phone issues. It’s an idea I plan to try as I think of it. You see, you can’t memorize what you are going to say on the phone. I tried when I did phone sales. My stuff was memorized for the person if they followed their lines, they never did. But maybe when I plan to talk to someone I love, friends, and the family I can start applying this excitement over anxiety. Have you tried it? Did it work for you?

You may find a ton of things to help you in Ms. Petersen’s story. As a journalist she gets personal yet she hangs onto that ability to step back and remain ‘just the facts, M’am’ research writer. I loved reading this book! I hope others who have had to endure mental illness either personally or someone you love, will take the time to read it. Maybe you’ll find some answers.

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Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear SugarTiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One day, in the last couple of months, my daughter kidnapped me so I could spend a week back in Reno. It was one of those serendipitous things that made me very happy. I got to spend time with her and with other family and friends.

My daughter loves to listen to podcasts on long trips. When she learned that I had read and watched Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, she pulled up the Dear Sugar podcasts and we enjoyed a long listen.

Once back at home I found the Dear Sugar websites and other books by Cheryl Strayed. I looked at the eBook/Overdrive local library copies. I found this copy but it was just an eBook with no text-to-speech and no audio version. I tried very hard to enjoy the book. There was wonderful advice given here.

I wanted to keep reading past the mid-point that I thought I got to, but with no way to listen it was hard to read. I will try to keep an eye out for the Audible or Kindle with TTS to read later. Besides, most of it was written for younger people. I played the kind of game I used to play with the Dear Abby advice column, see if I can give the same advice the writer does. I was pleasantly surprised that Ms. Strayed gave more personal answers and helped in deeper ways than Abby or her sister Ann Landers ever did.

I think this is a wonderful book for young people to have. I think Dear Sugar is a good podcast for those under forty. I hope to find this book again in an easier form for me to read.

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The Mother's PromiseThe Mother’s Promise by Sally Hepworth

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Maybe if I don’t write a review, I can hang onto the charms and lessons of this book. No. That’s not right. Others need to read it and the only way to hang on to the knowledge in this book is to read it again.

I finished this book four days ago. That’s how long I had the above conversation with myself.

There is a nice blurb about this book on GoodReads. And the one on NetGalley had me seeking it out. I’m glad they let me read it. But here’s my blurb: A young teen with severe social anxiety only child of a single mother dying of cancer, a social worker who is a victim of abuse, a nurse who is finished with IVF unsuccessfully.

Sally Hepworth pulls these four females into a book that is hard to put down and hard to leave behind. And not only is it a great story, it is full of real life answers to some of the problems these fems deal with.

I want to thank NetGalley for letting me read this, again. I do plan on a second read. Please read it, especially if you have social anxiety, there are some good ideas in here and the author shows she knows how we feel who have it. There are triggers for cancer patients and abuse victims but they are handled well and give each of the other characters more depth.

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A Tale for the Time BeingA Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Over a decade ago, I met an online friend that would change or at least, modify my life. I met Judith on LiveJournal, you remember that old site, better than MySpace but not quite as social as FaceBook. Judith was chatting in her journal about Chris Baty and the NaNoWriMo scene (Which resulted in my first novel being written between the Ides of March and the Ides of April. I didn’t finish the novel then as we had to move to a new city and I just couldn’t stay with it. But I added more than enough wordage to that novel in November 2002 to “win”. (First of 10 or 11 novels since.)

The other thing Judith introduced me to was BookCrossing.com. The concept that grabbed me with BC was how my read book could be recycled to others and then the new reader and the old could discuss this story. The book could travel even when I couldn’t, so it felt like a message in a bottle thrown out to sea. It is fun to see where your book could end up and the friendships that develop over said book. I still belong but since my eyes aren’t what they used to be, I am happy for the invention of Kindle and other e-readers. So I release far fewer books nowadays.

Besides Judith, what do the above paragraphs have in common, and what do they have to do with ‘A Tale for the Time Being’? The art of writing and the art of reading. Both concepts play strong in this story. Rather than a message in a bottle, this message floats ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox in layers of freezer bags. The writer was in Tokyo, the reader/finder in Canada. Years separate the two. Yet a bond is formed. Oh, yeah, Judith read and reviewed this and hooked me in. I think she didn’t like the Zen parts of the book. I found that part delightful. I have to admit that most of the book is believable whereas the Zen bits are a little more ‘magical’. But the title twinkles with that magic. If you read it right.

Anyway, I HIGHLY recommend this book. I actually read it one and a third times. I borrowed the Kindle version from the library. Between reading it on my Kindle app on my Tablet and listening on my old Kindle text-to-speech, I managed to get to about 36% in. Then I found that my library also had the OverDrive version. So I restarted reading the book with the author’s voice. That pumped up my ratings for this wonderful tale. Each layer of depth into the story has its own built-in amazements. Level one, tree book, and the Kindle version, there are many footnotes and definitions to help with a deeper understanding of that time in history or that country, language. But the narration includes minor helps. Hearing a voice say the Japanese names or words adds to the believability of the whole story. Ms. Ruth Ozeki has an impeccable voice and narration, her variations of voices for each character supreme! I enjoyed rereading the first third with her help. I felt I gained deeper understanding just by hearing her. Please, if you get the chance to pair both versions, go for it!

By the way, I want to thank Jonelle Patrick and her Mysteries and website: http://jonellepatrick.me/ for introducing me to many contemporary Japanese subjects presented in A Tale for the Time Being. At least I was forewarned.

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Taxi - Timing (Book 4)Taxi – Timing by Sophia DeLuna

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The trauma that started in book/section three continues. It is so bad that it could be the end of the relationship between Carmen and her lover and even plays a part in her relationships with family and friends. But is time on her side? Is there a point where your trauma can isolate you to a point of starvation. Can she find her inner strength before everyone gives up on her?

This may be the most personal of all. If you haven’t lived with trauma that is that debilitating you might not understand what Carmen is going through. But I felt the author, Sophia Deluna, did a marvelous job getting inside the heads of characters of this section. And something I haven’t written about in my reviews of the previous Taxi installments is her writing. I love it! Her descriptions and ability to tell a story, reeling in this reader, hook, line and sinker. All the relationships seem real. I am looking forward to reading the rest of this story.

As with the other few bits of this story, I am most upset by the price per bit. I am now at the end of my budget for the month so I won’t be able to read part five for a month. It is this that is causing the less than five stars for me. At least with Kindle Unlimited I can still read a book when the money runs out. Oh well. I still have a few of Ms. DeLuna’s other stories downloaded to peruse over the next few weeks.

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Other WomenOther Women by Lisa Alther

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After reading Original Sin by Lisa Alther and having a hard time liking it in any way, I had a decision to make. You see I got both of these books through Kindle Unlimited which means they were free to borrow. I thought about returning this one, Other Women, and not reading it at all. Thank goodness I didn’t. I loved this book!

If you have had a good experience with a counselor, dealing with problems of the past or current ones, this will feel familiar. I think everyone should have a good counselor once in a while to air the mental stuff that you might not want to weigh down your friends and family with. And here in Other Women there were plots and characters that felt so real that I was sorry the book ended. I think I might read it again, sometime.

Though this book ended quite well, all threads neatly sewn up, I still wish there was more. I want to see what happens next. We are left with ideas as to how life might continue, but I knew I would miss all these people as much as the real people in my life. I like when an author can do that. She created a reality that felt real.

Just saying that made me smile. Wasn’t it because Original Sins felt so real that I hated it? I think I could relate more with the characters in Other Women much more deeply than I could with the characters in Original Sins. So maybe that is why the reviews on both books had such a variety of ranks. I guess it has to do with your own viewpoint of the world.

This is one book I will have to buy someday. I think many will love it as much as I did.

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Bountiful Women: Large Women's Secrets for Living the Life They Desire
Bountiful Women: Large Women’s Secrets for Living the Life They Desire by Bonnie Bernell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a slow read for me. Not that the writing was bad, but because it was the paperback version and the font was small. But it wasn’t so small that I couldn’t take it in small doses.

Going deeper, the information that gave reminders that all of us need; that we are okay as we are. Fat shaming has never helped a bountiful woman or man to lose weight. That those who are of bountiful size have had enough with dieting that doesn’t work. That trying to hide so as to avoid the critical voices, hides us from those who might be our friends or more.

Did I learn anything new here? No. Just some affirmations I had forgotten. Moreover, I wish the book had started with the ending stories. The beginning seemed a dream for those of us who have fixed incomes. The suggestions we go to health spas or invest in counseling that can also be exorbitant. Instead offering ideas to find those positive beings to come into our lives that create the kind of support we all need.

So, sorry, it’s just okay but worth the read. Find the bits, as I did, and pass it on.

I registered this one with BookCrossers, the BCID here:  473-12817834

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