Tag: mental health


Sunday Salon: Getting Motivated

Posted 5 February, 2017 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in musings

sunday salon books

Hello, friends. I know it’s been a minute since I showed up here. I want to thank all of you for the kind words you sent in response to my Dear Friend post. It was a difficult post both to write and to decide to keep it live. (I apologize for the insane punctuation in it.) I work in a public job where I deal with many different types of people. Some of which might like to use my mental illness against me. I might also harbor thoughts of running for public office one day. Though honestly, in this current political climate and the more I realize about myself as a person, the more I realize my talents may be better used in a non-profit, like NAMI, Freedom from Religion, or the ACLU, rather than elected position. ANYWAY.

I’m trying to psych myself up to prepare for jury trials next week. I have three cases that may possibly go to trial and currently my preparation has been less than wonderful. There are still plenty of hours between now and Monday morning though.

I finally broke my running streak on Friday. For 38 days I ran at least a mile a day, most days more. I feel like my joints are thanking me for it. I think I might go back out today, I need to stay motivated. The endorphins help me, but unfortunately, they’re just not enough. Registration for the 2018 Disney marathon opens up in nine days, I plan to register.

Finally, the most interesting and relevant part to this blog, my reading has been better and more motivated than it was at the end of 2016. I’m working my way through the Tournament of Books titles at a semi-decent pace. I even have some thoughts in the back of my mind on reviews. I just finished Grief is the Thing With Feathers and absolutely adored it. Katie, my maybe, perhaps guest reviewer/future blog partner is working through the titles too – I’m hoping I can peer pressure her into writing some reviews.

That’s the status of things here in the beautiful state of Georgia, Reader. How are you? Are you motivated? How’s your reading? Exercise? Mood? 

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Dear Friend

Posted 24 January, 2017 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in musings

Edit: I wrote this in the darkness, hit publish, and went to bed. When I woke up three hours later I regretted hitting the publish button – thinking this would be too alarming for friends and family, or that it would come across as attention-seeking, overly dramatic, or just plain ridiculous. Apparently though, those who did have the chance to view this in those three hours didn’t feel that way. I’ve gotten a number of emails that this meant something to some people. If I can shine a light in the dark to anyone, then I need to do that. I owe that to others who face similar demons and might possibly benefit from this.

–April

Dear Friend,

Perhaps you’ve never known anyone who has suffered from mental illness before. Perhaps you were never close with them. We have become close in recent years. All the same, I’m not sure you understand who I am at my worst.

At my worst, I am sad. But I am also more than sad: I am hopeless. This might seem like semantics — meaningless words, I promise you to me, it is more than that. When I say I am hopeless what I mean is that I live every day of my life with a low grade desire to die. Am I suicidal every day of my life? No. Not really. I don’t have a plan. I have no desire to readily accomplish hurting myself. Would I be upset if a truck hit me or lightning struck me? No. This is not a normal sentiment, yet it is what I live with. All day, every day. I’m not living the dream.

At my worst I tear up in my office. By the time I reach the point of tears, especially tears I show you friend, it’s too late. At my worst I tell you how lonely I am, but it feels like whining. Most days I smile and do my job as effectively as I can. I go to court, flatter opposing counsel, charm court staff, return to my office – close the door and cry a little.

These feelings verbalized, terrify most people. I don’t verbalize them very often – even to myself. I understand that they may terrify you as well. Stick with me, please.

I don’t have cancer, I don’t have diabetes. I wish I did. These diseases are understood, accepted, embraced by doctors – by citizens. No one tells a cancer patient to suck it up, get out of bed, and go to work. No one tells the diabetic they should be ashamed for taking insulin.

I’m okay. I’ll continue to be okay. But it’s a struggle for me. It’s the same struggle that millions of others live with every day. I know I’m not alone. And neither are you.

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Sunday Salon: On a Tuesday

Posted 27 December, 2016 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in blogging, musings

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Hello dear Readers, all four of you left out there. We’re reaching the end of the year which is always a time for reflection and plans. It’s a time to look back and see what we’ve done poorly and try to figure out how to be better in the coming year. While I can’t say that 2016 as a whole has been terrible for me, the past few months have been trying. This year my reading and blogging have both taken a serious hit. Some of this is because of working more, which is going well for the most part, some of this is because my anxiety and depression have been threatening to overwhelm me the past few months and I’m a little at a loss of what to do about that.

When I say I’m at a loss, I mean I’m at a loss of easy things to do about my depression and anxiety. Ignoring them and hoping they go away hasn’t been overly successful. It’s time to start (re)cultivating healthy habits and figuring out what’s going to work to make me a better person. I see two clear things I can do in front of me. One is a return to mental health self-care instead of ignoring my feelings and hoping they go away. I’m going to have to face some issues that I’ve had pent up for some time and work through them instead of continuing to let them fester. The second is a return to my running. I’m setting a goal to run the Disney marathon in January of 2018. A year is more than enough time to train for a marathon, especially since I’m not setting any time goal for myself. I just want to finish.

I’m hoping that through these two things, more plans and positive changes will make themselves apparent and I can work on strengthening my marriage, being a better mother, and perhaps figuring out what it is I want to do when I grow up and how to get there.

But what was good?

2016 wasn’t a complete wash for me. Good things happened and good things continue to happen. I’ve been at my current job for about eighteen months now, and I have to say my coworkers are fucking phenomenal people. It’s not much of a stretch to say that more or less, most of us are pretty much family to each other, and I’ll tell you ladies and gentleman – that ain’t nothing. Every time I start to feel frustrated or bored with the work, I remember what exceptional and meaningful relationships I’ve forged over the past year and a half. I am ridiculously grateful for that.

Speaking of relationships. 2016 allowed me to go to BEA and meet with some of the truly exceptional men and women that make up this community. While The Socratic Salon has lapsed and the five of us have moved on and gotten busy elsewhere, getting to meet Catherine, Marisa, Shannon (again), and many others was one of the highlights of my year. As always, I can’t not mention the beautiful and talented Monika and Jennifer, our chatting has been sporadic lately, but it’s so good to have friendships you can just pick up where you left off.

Since we’re on the topic of bloggers and blogging I think it’s time for me to make a decision on what to do around here. My reading has been low this year, I hope to address that in another post, and my writing has fallen off as well. I’m not going to set any hard fast rules for what’s going to happen here, but I do think that a certain element of my self care is going to be writing more, sometimes even when I don’t feel like it. I don’t know if that means reviews, or talking about my running (boring, I know), or what – but I have decided to renew the domain and host (largely due to the pep talk I got from Catherine)

Aside: As I was writing this I just found out Carrie Fisher died. Seriously 2016, what the fuck?

Anyway. Life is fleeting and this is all there is. Let’s look forward and decide to be better together. Shall we? 

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Sunday Salon: Anxiety

Posted 17 July, 2016 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in memes, musings

sunday salon books

Time // 6:41 PM EDT

Feeling // Wicked anxious. For no particular reason. I had a meltdown on Twitter today, at the pool. As I was saying, I’ve finally come to the point in my life, where for the most part, I don’t give a fuck what other people think about me. I’m comfortable with the way that I look, the job  that I do, the friends that I keep. Until I go out in public with The Girl. Then I lose. My. Shit. Is she bugging other people too much? Are they judging me for the way that she’s dressed? Am I paying enough attention to her? Too much attention to her? Helicoptering? Neglecting? On. And. On. And. On. My blood pressure rises, my heart starts hammering, and I usually feel frozen in place. It’s a terrible, awful, no good feeling that I don’t know how to shake. Anyway.

Reading //  I just finished up a book that I loved, except for the ending. I hate when an author takes a perfectly content atheist character and makes him/her find god. It’s so… trite. Also still working on Kathleen Glasgow’s upcoming YA(?) novel Girl in Pieces which is raw and powerful and awful in all the best ways. I’m in a reading slump and need to feel excited about something. Suggestions?

That’s all she wrote, Reader. How are you?

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Furiously Happy: A Night With Jenny Lawson

Posted 17 November, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Authors, Reviews

Furiously Happy: A Night With Jenny LawsonFuriously Happy by Jenny Lawson
Published by Pan Macmillan on September 24th 2015
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, General, Humor, Personal Memoirs
Pages: 256
Goodreads
three-half-stars

In Let's Pretend This Never Happened, Jenny Lawson regaled readers with uproarious stories of her bizarre childhood. In her new book, Furiously Happy, she explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. And terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.As Jenny says: 'You can't experience pain without also experiencing the baffling and ridiculous moments of being fiercely, unapologetically, intensely and (above all) furiously happy.' It's a philosophy that has - quite literally - saved her life.Jenny's first book, Let's Pretend This Never Happened, was ostensibly about family, but deep down it was about celebrating your own weirdness. Furiously Happy is a book about mental illness, but under the surface it's about embracing joy in fantastic and outrageous ways. And who doesn't need a bit more of that?

So, once again, my sister and I had the opportunity to seek out Jenny Lawson and get signed books. This time however, we also got to hear her speak and read. We also encountered some of the weird counter-culture that Lawson seems to attract.

But let’s start with the book. Furiously Happy is not nearly as funny as Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, but I will venture to say that it is infinitely more important. The essays in the book on mental health were so raw, so real, and so incredibly honest it was almost painful to hear her read them in the auditorium. While not as painful to read them on my own – they did have a sense of heartache surrounding them, more so when you consider that one in four Americans is affected by mental illness and there is still such shame and stigma surrounding it.

Furiously Happy starts out strong, but then as the chapters roll on it begins to fizzle out. Interspersed in the book are essays having little or nothing to do with mental illness that feel a bit forced in an attempt at levity, which admittedly, perhaps Furiously Happy needs to be bearable at all, so painful and honest are the essays concerning Lawson’s mental health.

So then there was the question and answer session and the book signing. Lawson’s presentation on stage was engaging and wonderful. The fans she attracts are… devoted, to say the least. Not that it can be blamed on Lawson, but many of the questions weren’t questions at all — they were long personal stories that I can’t imagine much of the audience cared about. However Lawson responded to each anecdote with poise and charm. Despite her anxiety issues, she is a complete pro. A memorable part of the evening was when her husband Victor called and she decided to take the call on speakerphone. Why yes I did take video of it…

 


You may recall last time I had a book signed by Lawson I asked her to sign it as Stephen King. I cursed myself while waiting in line to get Furiously Happy signed that I failed to bring a Stephen King book with me for her to sign as herself. C’est la vie.

Me, Jenny Lawson, and a fabulous inscription.

Me, Jenny Lawson, and a fabulous inscription.

Overall the night was a success and while Furiously Happy does have its weaknesses, I definitely think that it’s important for the normalization of mental illness the way the world stands today.

Monika at A Lovely Bookshelf had a completely different take on things, however.

What about you, Reader? Do you enjoy Lawson’s blog? What’s your take?

April

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Woeful Wednesday: A Little Life (A Tournament of Books Selection)

Posted 6 May, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Reviews

Woeful Wednesday: A Little Life (A Tournament of Books Selection)A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
Published by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group on March 10th 2015
Genres: Asian American, Coming of Age, Fiction, Literary, Sagas
Pages: 736
Goodreads
three-half-stars

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange honest review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he'll not only be unable to overcome--but that will define his life forever.

It’s inarguable that A Little Life is beautifully written and takes the reader to dark places that most of us would rather not go, which is normally a plus for me, but unlike many readers I wasn’t totally swept away by the this tale.

Not only was A Little Life an incredibly slow start for me (mostly because I didn’t care about most of the early details the characters experienced) but even as I went on I found the book to be increasingly unbelievable. Not so much the horrors that Jude went through, but the incredible good fortune that he kept finding in spite of his past. I’ll save most of that type of discussion for The Socratic Salon.

A Little Life could have probably benefited from some extreme editing, I think it’s about 200 pages too long and has at least three characters that could have been combined into other characters or cut. I love long cradle to grave character study sagas most of the time, but this one just felt… I don’t know, forced? I don’t have a proper adjective.

Have you read this A Little Life, Reader? What did you think? How do you think it will fare in Tournament of Books 2016?

April

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Must Read Monday: Our Endless Numbered Days

Posted 23 February, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Reviews

Must Read Monday: Our Endless Numbered DaysOur Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller
Published by Penguin Books Limited on February 26th 2015
Genres: Fiction, General
Pages: 368
Goodreads
five-stars

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange honest review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

1976: Peggy Hillcoat is eight. She spends her summer camping with her father, playing her beloved record of The Railway Children and listening to her mother's grand piano, but her pretty life is about to change. Her survivalist father, who has been stockpiling provisions for the end which is surely coming soon, takes her from London to a cabin in a remote European forest. There he tells Peggy the rest of the world has disappeared. Her life is reduced to a piano which makes music but no sound, a forest where all that grows is a means of survival. And a tiny wooden hut that is Everything.

I can’t say that Our Endless Numbered Days is a book that I would have necessarily picked up on my own, but Allison from The Book Wheel more or less pushed it into my hands and insisted it was going to be the next big thing.

I think she’s right. 

Peggy’s dad is a survivalist in England before survivalism was cool. The narration takes the reader back and forth between the nine years that Peggy spent in the woods with her father beginning in about 1976 to her attempt to re-acclimate with general society in 1985. The narrative style is done flawlessly and makes an excellent point/counterpoint between Peggy’s life in isolation and what it means to try and come back to a society that you hardly remember. 

Our Endless Numbered Days does everything and it does it very well. There’s action, the characters are complex and flawed, they grow and change as the story progresses, there are themes on family and marriage, and the tension that runs between family and career – not just in 1976, but today as well. 

This is a fantastic and clever book that will appeal to many readers because of the breadth of the themes that Fuller explores within the pages. 

What about you, Reader? How do you feel about survivalists? Could you live in the woods with only one companion and few supplies for nine years? 

 

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Redeployment: A Tournament of Books Selection

Posted 30 January, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Reviews

Redeployment: A Tournament of Books SelectionRedeployment by Phil Klay
Published by Penguin on March 4th 2014
Genres: Fiction, General, Short Stories (single author)
Pages: 304
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Winner of the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction · Winner of the John Leonard First Book Prize · Selected as one of the best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review, Time, Newsweek, The Washington Post Book World, Amazon, and more  Phil Klay's Redeployment takes readers to the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking us to understand what happened there, and what happened to the soldiers who returned.  Interwoven with themes of brutality and faith, guilt and fear, helplessness and survival, the characters in these stories struggle to make meaning out of chaos. In "Redeployment", a soldier who has had to shoot dogs because they were eating human corpses must learn what it is like to return to domestic life in suburbia, surrounded by people "who have no idea where Fallujah is, where three members of your platoon died."  In "After Action Report", a Lance Corporal seeks expiation for a killing he didn't commit, in order that his best friend will be unburdened.  A Morturary Affairs Marine tells about his experiences collecting remains—of U.S. and Iraqi soldiers both.  A chaplain sees his understanding of Christianity, and his ability to provide solace through religion, tested by the actions of a ferocious Colonel.  And in the darkly comic "Money as a Weapons System", a young Foreign Service Officer is given the absurd task of helping Iraqis improve their lives by teaching them to play baseball.  These stories reveal the intricate combination of monotony, bureaucracy, comradeship and violence that make up a soldier's daily life at war, and the isolation, remorse, and despair that can accompany a soldier's homecoming. Redeployment is poised to become a classic in the tradition of war writing.  Across nations and continents, Klay sets in devastating relief the two worlds a soldier inhabits: one of extremes and one of loss.  Written with a hard-eyed realism and stunning emotional depth, this work marks Phil Klay as one of the most talented new voices of his generation.

Whoa. This book takes on some of the hard truths that soldiers and Marines returning from (and participating in) the longest two wars in American history have to face. As a veteran this was a difficult read for me. When I started the book I didn’t realize it was a collection of short stories. At first I was disappointed because the first story is so raw and powerful. It’s about how a man returning home from Iraq struggles to reintegrate back into everyday life with his wife and dog. I wanted to know more of that character’s struggles. In the end though it turned out to be a good thing that this was short stories because I found that I could only read it in short bursts, so harrowing are the narratives at times. Perhaps this is the reason I don’t read a lot of war fiction (or war non-fiction, for that matter).

In a time where less than one percent of the American population is in the military – it’s so easy for some to forget the experience that Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have been through. There are many people who don’t know anyone in the military. This book is important if not for that reason alone.

A line in the first story ‘Redeployment’ struck me so hard because it’s the honest to god’s truth.

“We took my combat pay and did a lot of shopping. Which is how America fights back against the terrorists.”

What else is there to do after you’re haunted by a war that makes little to no sense to you or the rest of the country? Another line that I ran across hit me hard because as a veteran I’ve always had a hard time with the “Thank you for your service” type gratitude actions that I would get. It’s an awkward feeling that many veterans don’t know what to do with (I’m not saying don’t do it when you see a man or woman in uniform – just that it’s a weird feeling – at least for me).

“I was angry. I’d gotten a lot of Thank You for Your Service handshakes, but nobody really knew what that service meant…” 

I worked as a Unit Deployment Manager for the Air Force, it was my job to tend to all the airmen that would be deployed, ensuring they had all their training, paperwork, and equipment. While because of my rank I was not the one making personal selections on who would go and who would stay at home (unlike the Army, the Air Force does not deploy entire units at one time, instead it’s a piecemeal selection of individuals based on job functions that are needed down-range). Despite that I still fielded phone-calls from angry spouses and sent men and women away from their families to miss anniversaries, Christmases, and even the birth of their children.

The stories in Redeployment focus exclusively on the Army and the Marine Corps and I’m okay with that. The problem that I had with this collection is that there were no stories told from the point of view of female characters. Women, despite not technically being allowed in combat, are in combat. I felt that Klay might have strengthened his book if he could have told at least one story from the perspective of a woman.

The other thing that will probably drive civilian readers crazy are the excessive acronyms. It didn’t bother me because I knew what most of them meant, but I can definitely see this as being an impediment for a reader with little to no knowledge of military jargon.

Like I said, this was a difficult read for me but I do think that it’s an incredibly important and well written book. It’s not really about the wars themselves, it’s a portrait of the people who fight those wars at the lowest level. I have to highly recommend it to everyone.

As far as The Tournament of Books goes, I predict that it should at least make it out of the first round (depending on what it’s pitted against), but it’s unlikely it will take the whole hog.

What do you think, Reader? I know this has been a meandering review, but does this appeal to you at all? To those of you that are active duty or veterans, really, thank you for your service.

 

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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An Untamed State: A Tournament of Books Selection

Posted 21 January, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Reviews

An Untamed State: A Tournament of Books SelectionAn Untamed State by Roxane Gay
Published by Grove Press on 2014
Genres: Contemporary Women, Fiction, Literary
Pages: 370
Goodreads
five-stars

Roxane Gay is a powerful new literary voice whose short stories and essays have already earned her an enthusiastic audience. In An Untamed State, she delivers an assured debut about a woman kidnapped for ransom, her captivity as her father refuses to pay and her husband fights for her release over thirteen days, and her struggle to come to terms with the ordeal in its aftermath. Mireille Duval Jameson is living a fairy tale. The strong-willed youngest daughter of one of Haiti’s richest sons, she has an adoring husband, a precocious infant son, by all appearances a perfect life. The fairy tale ends one day when Mireille is kidnapped in broad daylight by a gang of heavily armed men, in front of her father’s Port au Prince estate. Held captive by a man who calls himself The Commander, Mireille waits for her father to pay her ransom. As it becomes clear her father intends to resist the kidnappers, Mireille must endure the torments of a man who resents everything she represents. An Untamed State is a novel of privilege in the face of crushing poverty, and of the lawless anger that corrupt governments produce. It is the story of a willful woman attempting to find her way back to the person she once was, and of how redemption is found in the most unexpected of places.

Reviewing An Untamed State hopped up on cough medicine and generally feeling ill may not be advisable, but I’m going to try it anyway. It’s a powerful book, powerfully written, with a powerful message. That message, like it or leave it, is feminism.

Before reading An Untamed State I have read maybe half of Bad Feminist and admire Gay as an essayist and someone who is making waves (meaningful waves) in current American feminism – attempting to grapple it out of the hands of upper-middle class white women and spread it for ALL THE PEOPLE. The cough syrup is rearing its head already, no?

This book is raw and powerful. Gay gives descriptions of rape and abuse that are written on a page of onion skin. By that I mean that the reader is sheltered from the worst of the abuse through a layer of beautiful, heart wrenching prose. The tug and pull between Mireille’s past, present, and future, is a haunting and difficult part of the novel.

For whatever reason, these novels of abuse and survival are not ‘hard’ reads for me. An Untamed State was harrowing, yes. But just as other novels have left me with me – so has this one done. I know that my privileged upper-middle class, white cis-woman experiences are a part of it – I’ve never encountered real fear or hardship – for whatever reason – I’ve always been shielded from the most terrible parts of life. This does not negate my own difficulties. But all the same An Untamed State is one of those books that lifts the veil on the realities that even the wealthiest face in a lawless, yet beautiful country such as Haiti.

For me the most difficult part of the novel was the not the physical abuse and torment that Mireille faced at the hands of her kidnappers. It was the psychological scars and pain that would not perhaps ever heal from the experience. Maybe this is because I have known psychological pain where I have not known the terror of physical brutality. My heart ached when following her return she suffered from PTSD, when she was unable to ‘pull it together’ or even verbalize why everything was spiraling out of control after her return to the States. This part of the novel has not left me the way that the section on the torments of her kidnapping have.

Gay balances all of this horror and pain with great kindness. The patience and love that is shown by her mother-in-law is unexpected and because of that it is also more beautiful. 

I highly recommend this book to everyone. The difficult reading combined with the beautiful prose makes this a meaningful read. If you’re a rape/kidnapping/abuse survivor, please know this probably will have triggers. 

Andi had an excellent review of this yesterday.

What about you, Reader? Have you read An Untamed State? Do you challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone enough?

 

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Six Degrees of Separation: The Luminaries

Posted 9 June, 2014 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in memes

It’s a new month so it means a new Six Degrees of Separation hosted by  Annabel and Emma!

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton is the starting point. Now I haven’t read The Luminaries, nor do I have any particular desire to. I know that it’s been widely hailed as wonderful and won tons of awards, but the subject matter just doesn’t really interest me and it’s a total chunkster.

So let’s go to chunksters that I actually have read and that I wanted to love so much but just didn’t. The obvious choice in this category is Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. Reading this book was a bucket list life goal. I’ve been listening to the soundtrack to the musical since at least 1985. It was one of the first CDs I ever owned. I love the movies. I loathed this book. It was a little devastating. 

So, speaking of my childhood – we all have those books that we read and re-read relentlessly while we were kids. One of mine was definitely A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle. I can also tie this back to devastation because the other books in this series are just not nearly as good as the first one. 

A Wrinkle in Time is middle grade sci-fi at its best, so another piece of science fiction that had a profound impact on me was Contact by Carl Sagan. It’s influenced my thinking as a skeptic, a humanist, and a generally science-minded person. The movie was pretty boring, try the book – I promise it will leave you thinking. 

Since we’re talking about books that make you think, you know I have to bring up Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber. It’s a gorgeous memoir by an unlikely spiritual leader in the Lutheran church. It’s filled with so much love that it warmed even this atheist’s cold cold heart. It’s truly one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read.

While we’re chatting about surprisingly beautiful books I think that Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half deserves some credit. Hyperbole and a Half speaks about depression and social anxiety with such humor, but still remains powerful an true to the very serious and important subject matter. It’s so much more than just a blog turned book.

Let’s end with another piece on mental health. I think it should be a must read for everyone. It’s Darkness Visible: A Memior of Madness by William Styron. It’s very very short, but gives an extremely accurate and powerful portrayal of what it’s like to live with clinical depression.



So! From The Luminaries to Darkness Visible in six easy steps! Do you want to play? I know you do! Here’s how:

Thanks again to Annabel and Emma for hosting! 

Where would you go from The Luminaries, Reader? Maybe you’ve actually read it?

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April @ The Steadfast Reader

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