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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

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 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 and alt.answers, (2) these posts will be archived on the rtfm.mit.edu anonymous FTP server (ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet-by-hierarchy/alt/support/depression/), (3) these posts can be posted automatically to ASD using a FAQ server run by rtfm.mit.edu. 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 ISBN: 0-684-87058-4 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 ISBN: 0-226-38471-3 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 simple wisdom. Publisher: Andrews McMeel, 1999 ISBN: 0-7407-0053-7 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 ISBN: 0-393-04783-0 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 ISBN: 0-375-40145-8 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. Publisher: HarperCollins,1999 ISBN: 0-06-028386-6 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 ISBN: 1-57322-099-X 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 motorcycle........ Author: Anne Katherine, MA Title: Boundaries. Where you end and I begin. Publisher: A Fireside/Parkside Recovery Book by Simon and Schuster, 1991 ISBN: 0-671-79193-1 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 ISBN: 0-88974-060-7 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 ISBN: 1-55542-145-8 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 ISBN: 0-684-84745-0 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 ISBN: 0-8050-3626-1 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 ISBN: 0-316-80348-0 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 ISBN: 0-14-027684-X 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 is." Author: Marilyn R. Peterson Title: At personal risk: Boundary violations in professional-client relationships. Publisher: W. W. Norton, 1992 ISBN: 0-393-70138-7 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 violations". 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 ISBN: 0-06-018238-5 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 ISBN: 0-553-09668-0 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 self-discovery. 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.