January 17, 2009

Mental Health Books

I mentioned before that after Christmas I went to Victoria, BC and bought a bunch of new books. As my practicum is in a mental health setting, it seems that my mind was there as well and that was the theme of my book purchases. Here are the books:

Crazy All the Time: On The Psych Ward of Bellevue Hospital
"Balancing the delicate line between normalcy and pathology, theory and reality, CRAZY ALL THE TIME explores the dark moods and outrageous behaviors of both doctors and patients in a place where madness reigns and disorder is the order of the day."

Nervous System: Or Losing My Mind in Literature
A quiet librarian who struck publishing gold with his first novel, Jensen felt as if something had come unhinged in his mind. The rush of ideas and language felt like losing, willy-nilly, a chunk of his mental stability. But true madness didn’t come until the countdown to his book’s release into the world.

A few months after selling his novel to a major American publisher, Jensen woke in a psych ward bed, only to find the ideas that had inspired him now roamed through waking nightmares that deranged him. Just as literature prompted Jensen’s slide into paranoid obsession, so did it help him rebuild and recover.

Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work
Babiak, an industrial and organizational psychologist, and Hare, the creator of the standard tool for diagnosing psychopathy, explore the infiltration into today's corporations by psychopaths, or those with destructive personality characteristics that are invisible to many with whom they interact. Their skilled manipulation begins with a perfect interview, as they are attractive job applicants who are confident and charming. They often flourish in fast-paced, changing industries with widespread uncertainty and can inflict considerable damage.

Poppy Shakespeare
Seeing as this is the only one I've read so far, I will give my own little description and commentary of it. 

This book is narrated by N, a woman who has been in the mental health system for all her life. When she is asked to give the title character a tour of the day hospital facility that she goes to, her life turns upside down. We are allowed along for the ride as N and Poppy face the barriers and absurdity of the mental health system as Poppy tries to prove that she's not crazy.

I had a difficult time getting into this book, as there is a lot of slang used and it's quite incomprehensible at times. After a while, I really got involved with the characters and couldn't put the book down. The authors description of the complexities and contradictions of the system work really well and provide insight, as well as humour. I'd definitely recommend picking this one up if you get a chance.


I'd like to give a quick shoutout to Russell Books, an amazing used bookstore in Victoria BC. I spent hours in there as I do everytime I go to Victoria. I hear they have a great online ordering system, too. But the experience of being there is always better.



cb said...

Some interesting stuff there. Thanks for sharing!

Reas Kroicowl said...

Ooooo....that first one sounds scrumptious! And so does the third one, actually.

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