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Subject: My Book List (alt.support.depression) - part 1 of 3
This article was archived around: 12 Sep 2000 11:07:43 GMT
Maintainer: Stewart/sna <metaphorSPAMBLOCK@usaor.net>
MY BOOK LIST (part 1 of 3)
Is this an "official" post of some kind??
No. This is *not* an official post of alt.support.depression
(ASD). This post (in 5 parts) has been approved by the moderators of the
*.answers usenet newsgroups. Approval by the moderators of the *.answers
newsgroups means that;
(1) these posts can appear on the moderated usenet newsgroups, news.answers
(2) these posts will be archived on the rtfm.mit.edu anonymous FTP server
(3) these posts can be posted automatically to ASD using a FAQ server run
What is this Book List??
This Book List is simply, "My Book List" (catchy eh?). It took a
long time before I was ready and able to put this list together (it was
created around 3/97). It is simply a list of books that I have read, or
tried to read, over the last 3 years (since reaching my own personal bottom
and starting to climb out). As is true for all of my posts here on ASD,
this was written and posted mostly for my own benefit. But as always, I
hope that others also find it useful.
What is this Book List not. (Definition by opposition.)
This Book List is not a compilation of all books related to
depression, nor is it a compilation of all books that might help people
deal more effectively with their depression. (For example, there are not
very many "self-help" books or books about cognitive/behavioral therapy on
this list, because I personally prefer a more narrative, metaphorical,
analytical, or philosophical approach to my sense of self.) For a more
comprehensive list of books related to depression I suggest you check out
http://www.frii.com/~parrot/media.html as a resource.
Is this list static and set in stone??
No. I will continue to add to this list. I hope that this Book
List prompts others to add their comments to mine in an ongoing discussion.
I hope that this Book List prompts others to recommend books that have
helped them in some way. I posted this to ASD about a dozen times before
bothering to get it approved by the moderators of the *.answers newsgroups,
but it never really generated much in the way of discussion on ASD. Oh
well, ce la vie.
What is the relationship between this book list and others posted to ASD??
Aside from the fact that they are book lists, they are posted to
ASD, and they are presumably related to depression in some way - not much.
There is another book list called "The Mood Disorders Book List" that is
also approved by the moderators of the *.answers newsgroups. This Book
List is modeled after The Mood Disorders Book List.
2, 4, 6, 8, who do we appreciate??
I want to thank all of those who read and post to ASD. A lot of
the books on this list I found because people on ASD talked about them. In
addition, I want to thank in advance anyone who responds and gives me
feedback of any kind. If you find anything on this list that you like or
do not like for any reason, please let me know.
Author: Lewis Wolpert
Title: Malignant sadness, the anatomy of depression.
Publisher: The Free Press, 1999
Comments: I think this is probably a pretty good overall book about
depression. A nice mix of history of depression, personal narrative of
depression, and current science of depression. I didn't finish it because
I was looking for something more personal narrative than the other two.
Author: Leslie Irvine
Title: Codependent forevermore. The invention of self in a twelve step group.
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press, 1999
Comments: The author is a sociologist and she did a sort of
"anthropological" type study of the 12-step group CODA (CoDependents
Anonymous). It was interesting in a way. I thought she had a nice idea of
looking at our sense of self as being formed by the stories we tell about
ourselves. But at times her "detached" approach made it feel like she was
an anthropologist from Mars trying to figure out what those strange life
forms on earth mean when they say "I wasn't myself".
Author: Gail Van Kleeck
Title: How you see anything is how you see everything. A treasury of
Publisher: Andrews McMeel, 1999
Comments: I stumbled on this book in the library because I liked the
title. It's a compilation of short parables, apparently made up by the
authors, each with a little summary at the end (presumably for the
parable-challenged). It's sort of like the Chicken Soup for the Soul
books. I don't usually like this sort of book, as they can get a little
too "soapy" for me. But I kinda liked this one.
Author: Allen Wheelis
Title: The listener. A psychoanalyst examines his life.
Publisher: W. W. Norton and Company, 1999
Comments: This book is one of many written by this author. He was in his
80's when he wrote it. It's basically a memoir style book of his life as a
young man and how he became a psychoanalyst. I liked his writing style a
lot. In the jacket cover it says; "As Wheelis turns his exploratory lens
on the dark corners of his own life, we come to understand how a gift for
analysis -like a gift for prophecy- brings little comfort to it's
possessor, and no guarantee of happiness."
Author: Kay Redfield Jamison
Title: Night falls fast; Understanding suicide.
Publisher: Alfred A Knopf, 1999
Comments: I like the title of this book as much as her previous book (An
unquiet mind), but I didn't like the actual book quite as much. Not enough
personal insight and too "preachy" for me. I think it tries too hard to be
"an objective review of the literature and the field" type of book. I
think it's strength lies in having one foot in each world, but I just think
it put too much weight on the detached side of the story.
Author: Sonya Sones
Title: Stop pretending. What happened when my big sister went crazy.
Comments: A small short book. Written in a sort of poetry or short verse
style called "falling rhythms". Each page or two is a new "falling rhythm"
about some aspect of how the author tries to cope with being a young
teenager and having her older sister suddenly hospitalized for a psychotic
manic-depressive episode. I don't usually go for this sort of thing, but I
liked this one.
Author: Fred Haefele
Title: Rebuilding the indian
Publisher: Riverhead Books, Penguin Putnam, 1998
Comments: This is a book about a man in his mid 50's who rebuilds an old
Indian motorcycle. It's not about depression per se, tho that subject does
come up. It's more about a man taking stock of his life, and rebuilding
the motorcycle as metaphor. Kind of like "The Cliff Walk", but without all
the moralizing about society and without all the job angst. I want a
Author: Anne Katherine, MA
Title: Boundaries. Where you end and I begin.
Publisher: A Fireside/Parkside Recovery Book by Simon and Schuster, 1991
Comments: This would probably be a very good book if you are a woman in
what you feel is a somehow abusive relationship of some kind. Seriously.
A very good introduction to the concept of emotional boundaries. But
personally, I found it somewhat annoying. All of the examples were about
good kind sweet women who must learn not to be taken advantage of by big
bad men. All of the examples sounded like they were either made up by, or
highly edited by, the same person. It took the approach of "one must have
strong boundaries, and patrol them ever vigilantly". It took the approach
of "this is an example of a boundary violation that you must watch out
for". I think these approaches can be very important for some people first
learning about emotional boundaries. But for my money, the book "At
personal risk: Boundary violations in professional-client relationships."
had a much more useful approach in that it asked the question "why do
people WANT to have their boundaries crossed".
Author: Persimmon Blackbridge
Title: Sunnybrook; A true story with lies.
Publisher: Press Gang Publishers, 1996
Comments: An interesting first novel by the author of Prozac Highway.
This is a relatively short story that actually started out as a visual art
project of some type before it was transformed into a book. The format is
kind of unusual, which compliments the subject matter pretty well. There
are lots of pictures (presumably pictures of the original visual art
project), and lots of odd tidbits of comments in the margins. The subject
matter is the author's time spent as a "one-on-one" counselor in a home for
people with severe physical and emotional problems. Interesting format,
and easy to read on a lazy afternoon.
Author: Jeffrey A.Kottler and Diane S. Blau
Title: The imperfect therapist
Publisher: Jossey-Bass, 1989
Comments: There are many stories of what therapists think of their
patients. Invariably the therapists believe they have either helped their
patients, or that their patients were beyond their help and possibly beyond
anyone's help. I was looking for stories of how therapists feel when they
think they have somehow "failed". This was not quite that sort of book.
Close, but not quite. The theme of this book was more along the lines of;
"Therapists are human. They make mistakes and errors of judgment. And
here are all the reasons why it's good for them to admit these things." It
was more sort of an academic study of the subject. Although some examples
were given, they were minimal and mainly used to support the more academic
points being made.
Author: Laurie Fox
Title: My sister from the black lagoon. A novel of my life.
Publisher: Simon and Schuster, 118
Comments: The subtitle says more about the book than the title. It's a
story of a woman who in midlife recounts her childhood and young adulthood.
Although the book is more generally about the authors life, she tries to
paint a picture of how her life was pounded into shape by her family of
origin and particularly by her older sister who's emotional problems kept
her in "special" schools and institutionalized. I think the author gets
some needed "distance" from her life and her sister by talking about the
distant past. But although she tries to say how she felt then, it sounds
to me more like how she now thinks she felt then. In other words, the
narrator tries to give us the feeling of being herself as a child and young
adult, but she sounds more like a middle aged person looking back on her
childhood and young adulthood. I would have been more interested in
hearing more about her relationship with her sister, the times she spent
with her sister. And more on her present or more recent past. For
instance, how did her sister and family feel about this book?? Over all it
was a good book tho, and pretty easy to read. The theme of her guilt WRT
her sister plays well.
Author: Julian Dibbell
Title: My Tiny Life; Crime and Passion in a Virtual World
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. Inc., 1998
Comments: This is a book about MUD/MOO's. MUD stands for "MultiUser
Dungeon/Dimension". These are usually multiuser computer role-playing
games based on the popular Dungeons and Dragons theme. MOO stands for "MUD
Object Oriented" and they are usually a more versatile and open-ended form
of MUD. Often in a MOO players can chose to describe themselves however
they like and can participate in building the environment they move
through. I thought the book was too long and tedious, but I also thought
it was very interesting. Lots of parallels to building a community in
usenet. I am really having trouble focusing on writing this.
Author: Don J. Snyder
Title: The Cliff Walk; A job lost and a life found.
Publisher: Little Brown and Company, 1997
Comments: I liked it. Nice story, well written, etcetera. My mother sent
me this book. It's about a guy who lost his job at a university and had to
take manual labor. My mother seems to have focused her concern on my life.
She sent me a newspaper article about a support group that "househusbands"
can go to. She sends me articles and magazines about cooking, about Dad's
that cook, about cooking with your kids, and about various aspects of
"child raising". Her concerns can wear on a guy.
Author: Jacki Lyden
Title: Daughter of the queen of sheba
Publisher: Penguin Books, 1997
Comments: This is a memoir type book written by a woman whose mother is a
manic depressive. She talks about how her mother creates and recreates her
life and her life's history. Constantly reinventing her past and her
present. She talks about her own life, and how she herself wound up in a
job that requires her to travel the world. Perhaps as a way of finding,
for herself, something akin to the exotic and chaotic worlds her mother
often inhabits. There is some good self-reflection in the book, and a lot
of humanity. I thought the middle part dragged a little with verbiage and
lost something to that. But towards the end it picked up again talking
about what the daughter and her sisters went through to finally get their
mother successfully hospitalized and feeling more stable, tho maybe a
little duller to the touch.
Author: Virginia M. Axline
Title: Dibs, in search of self.
Publisher: Ballantine Books, 1964
ISBN: 345-01968-7-125 (0345339258?)
Comments: The book itself says that this is: "The classic of
child-focused "play therapy". Dibs will not talk. He will not play. He
has locked himself in a very special prison. And he is alone. This is the
true story of how he learned to reach out for the sunshine, for life...how
he came to the breathless discovery of himself that brought him back to the
world of other children." One reviewer said: "I read this book as I was
starting therapy, and it helped me to accept a very difficult childhood.
Easy to read and filled with memories and feelings that I had tried to
avoid for years. Very positive and very little about blame." While
another reviewer said: "An inspiration for anyone who had a difficult
childhood. Those who have suffered from mothers' expectations will rejoice
with Dibs as his breaks the chains of obligation and becomes himself." But
a 3ed reviewer said: "Yet another book trying to blame autistic behavior
on cold, intellectual mothers while telling us how nurturing and warm the
Author: Marilyn R. Peterson
Title: At personal risk: Boundary violations in professional-client
Publisher: W. W. Norton, 1992
Comments: I really liked this book. It kind of surprised me I guess. My
wife actually stumbled upon it while searching for books related to
management of accounting clients. I liked how it started out talking about
the difference between being in a position of "control" versus being in a
position of "vulnerability", and about how and why either party may at
times want things that way, and how and why either party may at times want
to try and "level the field". And about how it is that process, often
supported in various ways by both parties, that can lead to "boundary
Author: Jolene Galegher, Lee Sproull, Sara Kiesler
Title: Legitimacy, authority, and community in electronic support groups.
Publisher: Sage Publications, 1998
ISBN: Written Communication, Vol. 15, No. 4, October 1998, pages 493-530.
Comments: One of the authors of this study is someone I met through ASD,
and I have a lot of respect for her. In this academic-type study, the
authors compare and contrast three examples of "support" newsgroups
(alt.support.depression, alt.support.arthritis, and
alt.support.attn-deficit), with three examples of "hobby" newsgroups
(rec.cooking.recipes, rec.pets.dogs, and rec.crafts.textiles.quilting).
They examined 3 weeks in 1995, which amounted to almost 20 megabytes of
text. Each of the authors had some personal interest in two of the
newsgroups (one of each "type"). I thought they raised some interesting
issues. In essence, I think their use of the word "legitimacy" refers to
how people gain attention/acceptance from the group for their original
(seed) posts. While their use of the word "authority" refers to how people
gain attention/acceptance for their response (reply) posts. For instance,
I thought it was interesting that they found the people posting to support
groups made *way* more references to how long they had been reading the
group, as one way to assert "legitimacy" in calls for help, and "authority"
for advice offered. I have been reading ASD for close to 3 years now, and
I agree. :-) I thought it was kind of odd, but maybe not given their
academic perspectives, that the authors seemed to think there was some kind
of "inherent epistemological weakness of answers based on personal
experience". In the end, perhaps the most telling point was that the
explicit text string "I am not alone" was found 36 times in the support
groups, while it was only found 3 times in the hobby groups. (Of course, I
bet they would have found that text string more often in
rec.collecting.toe-jam.) In addition, that text string assertion seems
"epistemologically" somewhat weak. :-)
Author: Susan Baur
Title: Confiding: A psychotherapist and her patients search for stories
to live by.
Publisher: HarperCollins, 1995
Comments: "The task of the mentally ill is no different from the task of
others: To experience the world and tell the story." I liked this book
even more than her previous book "The dinosaur man: Tales of madness and
enchantment from the back ward." Her previous book I think felt much more
like her telling the stories of other people. For instance, "the dinosaur
man" probably didn't call himself that. This book is really similar, but I
think it goes just one small step farther. It goes a little farther in
explaining her thoughts about narrative stories, and about one, perhaps the
only real, frustration at being severely mentally ill - the inability to
tell one's story in a way that someone else can understand it. No
connection between teller and listener. She also goes just a little tiny
bit farther in this book to tell about herself, her own story. I thought
one of the more interesting stories was one about how she came to realize
that an important mentor of hers had lied and betrayed her. Unfortunately,
most of the focus was on why this mentor might have come to lie. Some good
stuff, but much less, was revealed about why she needed to believe, and why
she needed to feel betrayed. Still, I really like the way she tells a
story. Lots of references to the seasons and the weather to tie it into
the passage of real time, in a way that the reader can feel.
Author: David L. Calof (and Robin Simons)
Title: The couple who became each other. And other tales of healing from
a hypnotherapist's casebook.
Publisher: Bantam Books, 1996
Comments: This guy traces his "lineage" to the hypnotherapist Milton
Erickson, who's protege's also include Bandler and Grinder (of
Neuro-Linguistic Programming fame). I like a lot of their stuff (when it
doesn't get too "mass marketing, quick fixy", and I liked a lot of the tone
of this book too. It does at times sound a little like "I am the wise and
wonderful wizard who can effect miracle cures". Some of that tone can be
gleaned from the way the "cases" are "named", almost the way Freud might
name a "case" about how he cured a hysterical neuroses. But I like how he
views trance as something larger than just that induced by a hypnotist. In
addition, I like his "family systems theory" approach. For instance,
several of the cases were of "children" with "intrusive" parents, and
almost all of them could be viewed as embedded in the family in some way
(for instance adults trying to come to terms with being abused by their
parents). One of the things I realized while reading this book, however,
is that I have yet to read a book about the failure of therapy written from
the therapists perspective.
Author: Cheri Huber
Title: Being Present in the Darkness. Depression as an opportunity for
Publisher: Perigee Books, Berkeley Publishing Group, 1996
ISBN: 0-399-52223-9 (original title was "The Depression Book" in 1991)
Comments: This was a nice short book. It is hand written, not typeset.
It is VERY Zen Buddhist oriented. It reminded me of a book called "Be Here
Now" by Baba Ram Das (aka Richard Albert of LSD fame) that I read when I
was in high school in the middle 70's. It is very much about
"compassionate acceptance" of one's self. It's about how anger and
resistance tie us to that which we strive to separate from. And I very
much like the approach.