Friday, January 23, 2015

Five inspiring books on mental health

Sarah Rayner is the British author of five novels and one non-fiction book, Making Friends with Anxiety.

For the Picador Blog she tagged five inspiring books on mental health, including:
The Examined Life by Stephen Grosz

Distilling decades of therapeutic work into a slim volume that reads like a collection of short stories, Grosz offers an intriguing insight into contemporary psychoanalysis. A married father-of-four announces that he is thinking of coming out, aged 71, while a woman who has just celebrated her 50th birthday realises a sexy dream that bothered her was about her son. Anger, self-delusion, lying, being stuck – Grosz even shows how boredom is worth thinking about. He draws not just on his patients, but literature too – Scrooge reveals how we can't live a life without loss, a Herman Melville character illustrates how ‘we all have a cheering voice that says "let us start now, right away" and an opposing, negative voice that responds "I would prefer not to."’

But the real joy of this book is that all this is done with such a light touch. The language of psychotherapy can be off-putting to those not familiar with it – I should know, as my father, Eric Rayner, was a psychoanalyst so when I was growing up our home was full of shrinks talking shop and I couldn’t understand much of what they said. The Examined Life avoids jargon and to have made complex theories accessible to a mainstream audience is a fine achievement.
Read about the other books on the list.

Also see: Eight great YA novels involving characters who struggle with mental illness and Five best novels that focus on mental disorders.

--Marshal Zeringue