Category: Lists


MHAM: Mental Health in Classic Literature

Posted 25 June, 2014 by Lianne in Books, Lists / 3 Comments

MHAM

Mental Health Awareness Month is hosted by Leah @ Uncorked Thoughts and Ula @ Blog of Erised. It is a way to spread awareness on the issues that are often overlooked, not to mention sporting a very bad reputation. The month of June will be dedicated to reading and reviewing/discussing books that discuss Mental Health. You can sign up to participate in the event in either Leah or Ula’s blogs.

Here we are, at the last Wednesday of the month, and thus on my final feature for Mental Health Awareness Month! Today, I’m featuring classic literature titles that contain an element of mental health, either by a secondary character or a main character.

In no particular order:

  • Cervantes’ Don Quixote — Yes, Don Quixote can be pretty amusing with some of his interpretations of and interactions with the world around him and how he refuses to conform to social convention. But there is a strong possibility that his eccentricities are more than just a decision on his part and that his “madness” is actually a mental illness that he is suffering from.
  • Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment — It’s been a few years since I’ve read this novel but I’ve included it because I remember how, over the course of the novel and Raskolnikov is engulfed in guilt, he more or less has a complete psychological and physical breakdown.
  • William Shakespeare’s Hamlet — Sanity, despair, and suicide play major roles in this famous Shakespearean play.
  • Charlotte Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper — It’s been a while since I’ve read this novel but the main character’s confinement eventually leads to her mental breakdown.
  • Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther (review) — As was raised recently on my blog, Werther’s decline over the course of the novel can be interpreted not just that of a broken heart and sense of despair, but rather also that of a complete mental breakdown.
  • Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre (review) — The illness that afflicted Bertha and her family is explained to some extent but it seemed clear enough from the narrative that it was hereditary.
  • Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde — The clever thing about this tale is that the way that the story is conveyed–about this mysterious Mr. Hyde–can be interpreted by the reader, and by the other characters in the story, as a case of dissociative identity disorder (or split personality).

And that’s my list of classic literature featuring various types of mental health and illness! And now I ask you: Have you read any of these titles? Are there any other classic literature that you would think of adding to this list?

MHAM: Books About Mental Health Issues (Part 2)

Posted 18 June, 2014 by Lianne in Books, Lists / 2 Comments

MHAM

Mental Health Awareness Month is hosted by Leah @ Uncorked Thoughts and Ula @ Blog of Erised. It is a way to spread awareness on the issues that are often overlooked, not to mention sporting a very bad reputation. The month of June will be dedicated to reading and reviewing/discussing books that discuss Mental Health. You can sign up to participate in the event in either Leah or Ula’s blogs.

Welcome again to another installment of Mental Health Awareness Month! Continuing along from a list I started earlier this month (part 1 here), this list will be featuring books involving some form of mental delay or challenge to one’s cognitive or social skills or all-around learning.

I will note that some of the books featured here do not go in-depth on mental health issues. I am also aware that some of these books gloss over the issue, but I nonetheless included them for this week because at least they point out the issue in some manner, and in my case they prompted me to look elsewhere for more information on the condition (or at least an awareness for it).

In no particular order:

  1. Matthew Quick’s The Good Luck of Right Now (review) — The main character of this novel, Bartholomew, is said to suffer from a form of learning disability but it was never outright mentioned in this novel and the character did not seem to indicate any problems understanding or acquiring new information. Secondary character Max however exhibits a number of mental health issues that I don’t even know what they are (sorry, you’ll need to read it up)
  2. Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project (review) — Like Quick’s novel, Simsion’s novel is quirky and interesting but glosses over the stark realities of living with Asperger’s syndrome (which was never blatantly pointed out, but the signs are there). It’s interesting to read as Don Tillman tries to navigate the social world with his condition.
  3. Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time? — I actually haven’t read this book (though it’s on my wishlist) but I included it because I know the main character suffers from an Asperger syndrome-type condition (although it was not blatantly specified.
  4. Daniel Keyes’ Flowers for Algernon — I read this book for English class back in high school. The main character, Charlie, has a severe mental impairment, and undergoes an experiment that could improve his intelligence. It’s a really sad book because the reader can see how his mental disability has affected both his lifestyle and his relationships with those closest to him (I’m actually getting sad right now typing this as I’m remembering bits from the story).
  5. Jodi Picoult’s The House Rules — One of the main characters, Jacob Hunt, has Asperger’s syndrome and is accused of murder. The novel goes back and forth amongst the members of the Hunt family and shows how the accusation not only turns their lives upside down but also shows the effects of the syndrome on the family members as well as how the law handles such issues.
  6. Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series — Percy Jackson, the title character of the series, suffers from ADHD and dyslexia. Granted, in this series there’s, err, a supernatural connection to his problems, but I think the author does a good job at showing how the ADHD and the dyslexia affected his academics.

And that’s about it for this particular list! I realised while putting it together that I haven’t read enough books on the subject matter–or at least in-depth enough on the widespread effects these mental issues have–but it’s nonetheless good to know that these books touch on them. Have you read any of these titles? Have you read any other books featuring the above subject matter that you include on the list?

MHAM: Books About Mental Health Issues (Part 1)

Posted 4 June, 2014 by Lianne in Books, Lists / 5 Comments

MHAM

Mental Health Awareness Month is hosted by Leah @ Uncorked Thoughts and Ula @ Blog of Erised. It is a way to spread awareness on the issues that are often overlooked, not to mention sporting a very bad reputation. The month of June will be dedicated to reading and reviewing/discussing books that discuss Mental Health. You can sign up to participate in the event in either Leah or Ula’s blogs.

Hi everyone! This is a great event hosted by Leah @ Uncorked Thoughts and Ula @ Blog of Erised to spread awareness on the topic of mental health and related issues and effects on both the person experiencing it and their loved ones. Every Wednesday for the month of June, I will be posting something related to the month’s event, so I hope you stick around! 🙂

To kick things off, here is a list of books that touch on different mental health issues; I tried to break my book lists down by category but in the end there’s a bit of an overlap in terms of issue. So for this list, I’m looking at books primarily focused on suicide and depression, but also other issues like schizophrenia and bullying, which would contribute to depression, low self-esteem, etc. I hope my descriptions of each book are not spoilerific in any way, though some many be a bit scant because it’s been such a long time since I’ve read them…

In no particular order:

  • Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood (review) — Suicide and depression play a major role in Murakami’s famous novel, encapsulated in the characters of Naoko and Kizuki. It’s haunting, it’s sad, it’s very serious.
  • Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being (review) — Suicide, depression, extreme bullying, and alcoholism are all highlighted in this novel. It can be very dark and disturbing but rest assured it isn’t bleak from start to finish. However, it does shed light on how serious these issues can get and how the affect the person suffering from any of the above issues and how they affect their families in the process.
  • Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar (mini-review) — The classic twentieth-century novel about a young woman with a promising future ahead slipping into decline and insanity. It’s a very stark read as Esther’s mental health and illness becomes more apparent and troubling over the course of the novel. Suicide and experiences in a mental facility are featured quite heavily as part of this novel.
  • Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicides (commentary) — Just as the title suggests, the topic of suicide hovers over the story, the pink elephant in the room. But the mystery behind the Lisbon sisters’ actions brings the reader into a close study of the sisters’ actions and words, trying to see if there was anything in their mental health, appreance and behaviour to indicate there was something else going on, some contributing factor. It’s one of those books that stays with you long after you finish reading it.
  • Douglas Coupland’s All Families Are Psychotic — This whole family’s dysfunctional and it’s pretty crazy (in all of its dark humour) what happens when the Drummond family comes together, but it took me a while to remember that there was one particular character–whose name I cannot remember, he was the younger brother in the family (ahh! It’s Bryan!)–had some mental and internal issues that no one could quite figure out and who attempted to commit suicide a couple of times. So there’s a dark undertone in this novel.
  • Anish Majumdar’s The Isolation Door (review) — This eye-opening novel explores the realities of having a loved one suffering schizophrenia and the stresses that entail that condition, both to the person suffering from the condition and the family members. (Okay, I think I worded it better in my review of the novel) Neil’s mother’s experience in the hospital facility is also a brutal, heartbreaking but also eye-opening read.
  • Paulo Coelho’s Veronika Decides to Die — Suicide and the realities of a mental institution are features of this novel. While this novel has the usual coelho magical realism of storytelling, the afflicitions that many of the patients featured faces are very real.
  • Janet Finch’s White Oleander (review) — Mental health, depression, suicide, bullying, abuse…Astrid’s life bounding from one foster home to another is riddled with all sorts of problems, especially as she is growing up.

And that’s my list for this installment! I turn it over to you now: Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? Are there any books that you would recommend that were informative, eye-opening, and focusing on issues of suicide, depression, schizophrenia, and the like?

List: Books Featuring a Love for Books

Posted 12 February, 2014 by Lianne in Lists / 10 Comments

Please note: If you’re looking for this week’s The Way of Kings read-along, I will be posting my answers up later this week. Decided to switch my schedule of posts around in the meantime 🙂

Literary Love 2014 is a week dedicated to all things book love-ish. Link up any post showing love to a book, author, etc and feel free to grab our button & use our hashtag, ‪#‎LiteraryLove14

This year bloggers Isi @ From Isi, Rebecca @ Love at First Book, Andi @ Estella’s Revenge and Katie @ Doing Dewey are hosting Literary Love, an event featuring a love of everything books. In celebration of this event, I decided to put together a list of books featuring a love for, well, books! A love tale for all ages, yes? 🙂

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List: Books Featuring Internal Character Drama

Posted 27 January, 2014 by Lianne in Lists / 3 Comments

A few years ago I went on this massive search for books featuring/predominantly made up of internal dialogue/drama. It’s a favourite theme/feature of mine when it comes to novels, probably because it feeds so much into character study and interaction between characters and the general drama of the story. I’ve gotten some recommendations since I’ve posed that question and have read a number since then so I thought to compile them all into a list here, maybe help out those who are looking also for the same kind of feature 😉

Please feel free to refer to the reviews linked with the titles (just remember, spoilers abound ;)) for a more detailed explanation of the books mentioned below.

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