Around the holidays it’s always good to make sure that not only are we taking care of our family, but also ourselves. These are some great books to help you take care of yourself.
A Beautiful Mind – Sylvia Nasar: Stories of famously eccentric Princetonians abound—such as that of chemist Hubert Alyea, the model for The Absent-Minded Professor, or Ralph Nader, said to have had his own key to the library as an undergraduate. Or the "Phantom of Fine Hall," a figure many students had seen shuffling around the corridors of the math and physics building wearing purple sneakers and writing numerology treatises on the blackboards. The Phantom was John Nash, one of the most brilliant mathematicians of his generation, who had spiraled into schizophrenia in the 1950s. His most important work had been in game theory, which by the 1980s was underpinning a large part of economics. When the Nobel Prize committee began debating a prize for game theory, Nash's name inevitably came up—only to be dismissed, since the prize clearly could not go to a madman. But in 1994 Nash, in remission from schizophrenia, shared the Nobel Prize in economics for work done some 45 years previously.
Back, After the Break – Osher Günsberg: Osher Gunsberg, one of Australia's most loved celebrities, opens up in a powerful, dark, funny and heartwrenching memoir about life, love and living with mental illness. It's hard to remember a time when Osher Gunsberg (or Andrew G as he was then) wasn't on TV - he's just always been there, looking at ease in the spotlight, beaming a big smile, with a questionable haircut. He was there hanging out with The Offspring backstage at the Warped Tour on Channel V; announcing to a national audience of three million people that Guy Sebastian was our first Australian Idol; and later capturing the heart of the nation by hosting every season of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and now Bachelor in Paradise. But while everything looks great from the outside, the real picture has not always been quite so rosy. Osher has always known he's different to most other people. Struggling with anxiety, panic attacks and weight issues since he was young, he tried for years to drink away the anxiety and depression. He ended up unemployed, divorced, suicidal and certifiable on the other side of the world, yet somehow he managed to put the broken pieces of his mind back together and make a life for himself again. He lives with a mental illness - and he's come to terms with it to live an authentic, rich and fulfilling life.A revealing, raw, funny and heartfelt memoir from one of Australia's most well-known and well-liked celebrities.
Everything Here Is Beautiful – Mira T. Lee: Two Chinese-American sisters—Miranda, the older, responsible one, always her younger sister’s protector; Lucia, the headstrong, unpredictable one, whose impulses are huge and, often, life changing. When Lucia starts hearing voices, it is Miranda who must find a way to reach her sister. Lucia impetuously plows ahead, but the bitter constant is that she is, in fact, mentally ill. Lucia lives life on a grand scale, until, inevitably, she crashes to earth.
Miranda leaves her own self-contained life in Switzerland to rescue her sister again—but only Lucia can decide whether she wants to be saved. The bonds of sisterly devotion stretch across oceans—but what does it take to break them?
Defying The Verdict: My Bipolar Life – Charita Cole Brown: During her final semester of college, Charita Brown suffered a psychotic episode frighteningly reminiscent of her grandmother's own breakdown and subsequent hospitalization. Afterward, she was diagnosed as bipolar. Vowing to remain honest, Charita details her struggle after her diagnosis—a life full of love, hope, and success.
Girl, Interrupted – Susanna Kaysen: In 1967, after a session with a psychiatrist she'd never seen before, eighteen-year-old Susanna Kaysen was put in a taxi and sent to McLean Hospital. She spent most of the next two years on the ward for teenage girls in a psychiatric hospital as renowned for its famous clientele--Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, James Taylor, and Ray Charles--as for its progressive methods of treating those who could afford its sanctuary.
Kaysen's memoir encompasses horror and razor-edged perception while providing vivid portraits of her fellow patients and their keepers. It is a brilliant evocation of a "parallel universe" set within the kaleidoscopically shifting landscape of the late sixties. Girl, Interrupted is a clear-sighted, unflinching document that gives lasting and specific dimension to our definitions of sane and insane, mental illness and recovery.
*Book descriptions provided by Good Reads