Welcome back to my Nonfiction Book Party!
Today’s featured books are personal memoirs about mental illness. These books candidly and creatively discuss topics including #BipolarDisorder, #OCD, #Depression, and #Anxiety.
Title: Notes on a Nervous Planet
Author: Matt Haig
Synopsis: A follow-up to Matt Haig’s internationally bestselling memoir, Reasons to Stay Alive, a broader look at how modern life feeds our anxiety, and how to live a better life.
The societies we live in are increasingly making our minds ill, making it feel as though the way we live is engineered to make us unhappy. When Matt Haig developed panic disorder, anxiety, and depression as an adult, it took him a long time to work out the ways the external world could impact his mental health in both positive and negative ways. Notes on a Nervous Planet collects his observations, taking a look at how the various social, commercial, and technological advancements that have created the world we now live in can actually hinder our happiness. Haig examines everything from broader phenomena like inequality, social media, and the news; to things closer to our daily lives, like how we sleep, how we exercise, and even the distinction we draw between our minds and our bodies.
Title: Everything Is an Emergency: An OCD Story in Words & Pictures
Author: Jason Adam Katzenstein
Synopsis: Jason Adam Katzenstein is just trying to live his life, but he keeps getting sidetracked by his over-active, anxious brain. Mundane events like shaking hands or sharing a drink snowball into absolute catastrophes. Jason has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, a mental illness that compels him to perform rituals in order to protect himself from dangers that don’t really exist. He checks, washes, over-thinks, rinse, repeat.
He does his best to hide his embarrassing compulsions, and sometimes this even works. He grows up, worries about his first kiss- falls in love with making cartoons, moves to New York City — which is magical and gross, etc. All the while, half his energy goes into living his life, while the other half is devoted to the increasingly ridiculous rituals he’s decided to maintain to keep himself from fully short-circuiting,
Then, he fully short-circuits.
At his absolute lowest, Jason finally decides to do the things he’s always been told to do to get better: exposure therapy and medication. These are the things that have always freaked him out, and they continue to freak him out. Also, they help him recover.
Everything is an Emergency is a comic about all the self-destructive stories someone tells himself, over and over, until they start to seem true. In images surreal, witty, and confessional, Jason shows us that OCD can be funny, even when it feels like it’s ruining your life.
Title: Modern Madness: An Owner’s Manual
Author: Terri Cheney
Synopsis: Terri Cheney ripped the covers off her secret battle with bipolar disorder in her New York Times bestselling memoir, Manic. Now, in this “stigma-buster” and “must-read”, she blends a gripping narrative with practical advice.
Cheney flips mental illness inside out, exposing the visceral story of the struggles, stigma, relationship dilemmas, treatments, and recovery techniques she and others have encountered. Sometimes humorous, sometimes harrowing, Modern Madness is the ultimate owner’s manual on mental illness, breaking this complex subject down into readily understandable concepts like Instructions for Use, Troubleshooting, Maintenance, and Warranties.
Whether you have a diagnosis, love or work with someone who does, or are just trying to understand this emerging phenomenon of our times, Modern Madness is a courageous clarion call for acceptance, both personal and public. With her candid and riveting writing, Cheney delivers more than heartbreak; she promises hope.
Title: Gorilla and the Bird: A Memoir of Madness and a Mother’s Love
Author: Zack McDermott
Synopsis: Zack McDermott, a 26-year-old Brooklyn public defender, woke up one morning convinced he was being filmed, Truman Show-style, as part of an audition for a TV pilot. Every passerby was an actor; every car would magically stop for him; everything he saw was a cue from “The Producer” to help inspire the performance of a lifetime. After a manic spree around Manhattan, Zack, who is bipolar, was arrested on a subway platform and admitted to Bellevue Hospital.
So begins the story of Zack’s freefall into psychosis and his desperate, poignant, often hilarious struggle to claw his way back to sanity. It’s a journey that will take him from New York City back to his Kansas roots and to the one person who might be able to save him, his tough, big-hearted Midwestern mother, nicknamed the Bird, whose fierce and steadfast love is the light in Zack’s dark world.
Before his odyssey is over, Zack will be tackled by guards in mental wards, run naked through cornfields, receive secret messages from the TV, befriend a former Navy Seal and his talking stuffed monkey, and see the Virgin Mary in the whorls of his own back hair. But with the Bird’s help, he just might have a shot at pulling through, starting over, and maybe even meeting a partner who can love him back, bipolar and all.
Introducing an electrifying new voice, Gorilla and the Bird is a raw and unforgettable account of a young man’s unraveling and the relationship that saves him.
What is the Nonfiction Book Party? All month long I’ll be sharing newly released nonfiction titles and some of my 5-star favorites too! Join me on Instagram for an epic book party with an amazing prize pack. Tag all your posts #NonfictionBookParty
Bloggers: Make sure to blog along with DoingDeweyDecimal, JulzReads, What’s NonFiction, and Shelf Aware and follow #NonFicNov. Over on BookTube, get the details on #NonfictionNovember20 and join the Goodreads Group here.
Want to see which books I’ve posted about in previous years? (And which books are STILL on my list?!)
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