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Subject: My Book List (alt.support.depression) - part 3 of 3
This article was archived around: 12 Sep 2000 11:07:46 GMT
Maintainer: Stewart/sna <metaphorSPAMBLOCK@usaor.net>
MY BOOK LIST (part 3 of 3)
Author: Alice Miller (translated from German)
Title: Drama of the gifted child. (Originally published as Prisoners of
Publisher: Basic Books, 1981
Comments: This is a very thin book that is pretty thick with
psychoanalytical terminology. And I am not fully sure what the term
"gifted child" has to do with the book. But there were *lots* of really
interesting tidbits for me in such a small book. My favorite is a
description she writes of a patient who described their difficulty in
developing an authentic sense of self in this way: "I lived in a glass
house into which my mother could look at any time. In a glass house,
however, you cannot conceal anything without giving yourself away, except
by hiding it under the ground. And then you cannot see it yourself
either." I don't usually quote from books in this list, but what the Hell,
I am on a roll. Another quote I really liked was this: "One is free from
depression when self-esteem is based on the authenticity of one's own
feelings, and not on the possession of certain qualities."
Author: Joyce Block, Ph.D.
Title: Family Myths; Living our lives, betraying ourselves.
Publisher: Simon and Schuster,1994
Comments: On the whole, I really liked the premise of this book, and I
found many interesting insights in it. However, at some point it just
became a little too tedious for me. After a while it read as though if I
said "white" then it was only because I am playing out a role/myth wherein
I see myself as "The One Who Says White", or perhaps I play this role/myth
because I am really actually "The One Who Wants To Say Black". At some
point it seemed the author could see nothing but smoke and mirrors. Yet
she spoke as tho she (supported by the many people whom she referenced) was
the only one standing on firm ground, pointing all around her with great
assurance at the smoke and mirrors.
Author: Laurel Holliday
Title: Children in the Holocaust and World War II
Publisher: Washington Square Press, Pocket Books, Simon and Schuster, 1995
Comments: The Diary of Ann Frank is the most well known diary from WWII.
But it is *not* the only one. This book has excerpts from 22 other
children ages 10 to 18 years old, who lived through or died in the war.
The author/compiler asks why it is that we only know of Ann Frank's diary.
She offers that perhaps it is too hard to deal with. One is enough. One
example, held high, can keep us from further pain. This book is not easy
to read. It is raw and wrenching. But it helped me to keep a perspective
on my life. I did not go through, nor am I now going through, anything
remotely as devastating as what these young people went through. Yet I was
and am not fully happy with my life. I am not just a sniveling little
whiner. These are not inconsistent feelings. I can feel sad for these
people, and sad for myself, and hopeful for all of us. All at the same
Author: Robert M. Pirsig
Title: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance; An Inquiry Into Values
Publisher: Bantam Books, 1974
Comments: Someone on alt.support.depression recently said that this is a
classic for any serious "overthinker". It is not an "easy" book to read.
It gets pretty thick into the metaphysical/philosophical. But all that
hard-to-read discourse is woven tightly with two other wonderful
theme/metaphors that make it much more palatable. I first read this when
it came out in 1974. I was a senior in High School. It had a profound
effect on me. I recently re-read it after the sudden and unexpected death
of my younger brother. I found his copy of the book, with portions
underlined or highlighted, and all kinds of comments written in the
margins. Very spooky. "The real cycle you're working on is a cycle called
yourself. What is good. What is not good. Need we ask anyone to tell us
Author: Scott Adams
Title: The Dilbert Principle
Publisher: HarperCollins, 1997
Comments: First of all, this guy Scott Adams is really funny. Second, I
feel somewhat a kindred spirit with Dilbert, since I am sort of a
techno-dweeb-scientist myself. (Thank God I am not an engineer tho.) I
have included this book in this list not only because it is funny and I
needed this kind of humor, nor because like all of the other books here it
says something about who I am. More to the point, I have included this
book because at it's core, much of the humor derives from issues that I am
dealing with. For instance, in the beginning, with much more humor that I
posses, he explains how training as a hypnotist taught him that we make up
our minds first, and rationalize it second. Later in the book he explains
that people fear change because change adds yet a little bit more to the
vast amount that we already do not know. And this only serves to further
highlight the similarity between how much we know about life and how much
our office furniture knows about life.
Author: Dr. Patricia Love
Title: The Emotional Incest Syndrome: What to Do When A Parent's Love
Rules Your Life
Publisher: Bantam Books, 1990
Comments: This book hit me where I live right now. It is about a
continuum of ways in which parents can promote children to adult status so
that the children can help the adults emotional well being. To sum it up,
someone on alt.support.depression said that at any given moment in time, a
parent's love should be the kind of love that the *child* needs, not the
kind of love that the parent needs to give. But of course, no parent, no
person, can ever really know what another really needs at any given moment
in time. Therein lie the seeds that make it hard to know what is me, and
what is mommy. When a parent says simple things like "you don't like ice
cream" often enough, the child learns to discount his own feelings in favor
of his mothers. It is a subtle form of "emotional incest".
Author: Calvin Trillin
Title: Messages From My Father
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1996
Comments: This book is a memoir of sorts. A son's tribute to what he
learned from his father perhaps. It was about an adult son trying to
understand and make new meanings out of the "messages" that his father was
trying to send him while he was growing up. Not messages in the direct
literal sense, but more along the lines of what did it mean, what message
was sent or received, when my father did this or that, said this or that.
Very easy to read. Not a how to book, a novel, or a philosophical treatise
on some new theory of relationships. Just a boy and his dad.
Author: Linda Gray Sexton
Title: Searching for Mercy Street; My Journey Back to My Mother, Anne Sexton
Publisher: Little, Brown, and Company, 1994
Comments: Linda Sexton describes her life with (and without) her mother,
the famous poet Anne Sexton, who committed suicide when Linda was 21 in
1974. I do not really care much for poetry, not even the depressive or
confessional style of Anne Sexton. But this was a really good book for me,
and it makes me want to check out Anne Sexton's poetry. Linda describes
her life in wonderful and quite powerful prose. She faces head on the
difficulty she has had finding a life of her own after growing up with a
mother who's own needs overwhelmed her. In a way, her book still promotes
her mother, and so she still, even tho long in the grave, puts her mother's
needs to the fore. I would be very interested to hear how she feels now
that this book, this stone, has passed.
Author: Peter C. Whybrow, M.D.
Title: A Mood Apart. Depression, Mania, and Other Afflictions of the Self
Publisher: Basic Books, a division of HarperCollins, 1997
Comments:. This book is about moods and human emotions. About their
function and purpose in our lives. I found it to be really well written,
very informative, and reasonably easy to read for the amount of information
that it contains. I was particularly attracted to the idea that depression
and mania are "afflictions of the self", and he does a good job of viewing
these problems on a continuum scale. It was a good book intellectually and
I am glad I read it. But in the end, it did not really speak to me
emotionally. It is probably a VERY good book as an introduction to
depression. Particularly if you are not very depressed, as it is thick
reading at times.
Author: Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisl), Lou Fancher, Steve Johnson
Title: My Many Colored Days
Publisher: Knopf, 1996
Comments: A children's book which correlates moods with colors. Text by
Dr. Seuss. When I searched the library catalog for the keyword "emotion",
about 80% of the titles were children's books. This one sounded
interesting so I checked it out. It is a nice book, but not really one I
would feel comfortable reading to my 3 and 5 year olds. I guess it was a
little too moody and descriptive for me. It was like "On black days I am
angry", etcetera. A good book I think, but not for me.
Author: Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen
Title: Chicken soup for the soul
Publisher: Health Communications Inc., 1993
Comments: There were some stories that I really liked, but on the whole I
did not like this book. It smacked too much of a "motivational" book.
Designed to make you "feel better, so you can be more productive". That
sort of thing makes me want to puke. However, there were some really good
stories. Funny tho, that there were also some stories that *I* thought
were really sad even tho they were meant to be "uplifting". Even funnier
was finding out that others felt that way too, but that we did not agree on
which stories made us feel bad, and which made us feel good.
Author: Ruthellen Josselson
Title: The space between us: exploring the dimensions of human relationships
Publisher: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1992
Comments: This is a little on the academic side, written in part to
psychotherapists and developmental psychologists. It took me a while to
get into it, and to read past the references and the "this is so"
presentation style. But I really liked it. The space between us is in
large part what it is all about for me right now. Who am I, who are you,
and how do we bridge this gap between us?? The focus is not just on "here
is how we are", but more on "here is how we are in our relationships with
others". About how our need to be held by others, to feel attached to
others, to feel passion for others, to feel mutual resonance with others,
are all life-long needs that find different forms of expression throughout
Author: Kay Redfield Jamison
Title: An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995
Comments: Jamison, is a respected researcher in the field of manic
depression, and suffers from the same illness. I liked the book a lot. I
could particularly relate to it because I am an Assistant Professor doing
research in a medical school. Although I am not bipolar, pain is pain, and
her's comes through loud and clear. I was really only bothered by one
thing. She, and particularly the press, seem to make a reasonably big deal
about of her coming out of the closet by revealing her personal life. This
makes it sound as though others have less to lose by doing the same. As if
perhaps, a truck driver living in a trailer park, or a secretary working in
a widget factory, have less to lose by writing such a personal story. In
addition, while her insights from her professional life add some interest
and depth, IMHO the value of this book lies in the personal nature of the
story. I think I would have liked it better if she was just another one of
"us", rather than being one of "them" and also one of "us". Still, I do
not begrudge her this. It is, after all, part of her story. Her need to
show both herself and others that she can do it (ie. be a successful
professional). She may have me beat in that regard, and perhaps I am
jealous of that. This is also a good book to read if you have been
diagnosed with manic depression but are having trouble believing it.
Author: Sheldon B. Kopp
Title: An end to innocence: facing life without illusions
Publisher: Macmillan, 1978: Bantam Books, 1983
ISBN: 0025664700: 0-553-23826-4
Comments: I liked this book. All about how difficult it is to face the
fact (the author and I both believe it is a fact) that our external and
internal worlds are full of random events. It's about how the attitude of
"I will ultimately be rewarded for my goodness" is just as unlikely to be
valid as the attitude of "the whole world is out to get me". In the
authors and my opinion, both views endow the world with more order than is
there, and both views endow ourselves with more significance to the world
than is possible. It is the getting lost in these "pseudo-innocent"
beliefs that we need, and that can also lead us astray. I believe the
author writes the book to help himself through his own life, and also to
help others. To the extent that his focus is on the latter, he sounds
preachy, and is likely to be bathing himself in just the sort of "hopeful
pretending and pseudo-innocence" that he is working so hard to lose.
Author: Sheldon B. Kopp
Title: All God's children are lost but only a few can play the piano:
finding a life that is truly your own
Publisher: Prentice Hall Press, 1991
Comments: A nice little book. The title comes from a story about a blind
jazz piano player who has to listen to an evangelist insists that he is
"lost without God". Finally the piano player responds; "all God's
children are lost, but only a few can play the piano". Now if I only knew
how to play the piano my life would be OK. Hahahahaha, what is *my* piano??
Author: Irvin D. Yalom
Title: Love's executioner and other tales of psychotherapy
Publisher: Basic Books, 1989
Comments: The book is a compilation of 10 short stories of psychotherapy.
An example, is the title story. An older woman comes to the
author/therapist with an 8 year unrequited love obsession. The author
realizes that the process of therapy and the process of being in love are
mutually exclusive. Therapy finds darkness and endeavors to illuminate.
Romantic love on the other hand is shrouded in mystery and crumbles upon
inspection. He hates to be "love's executioner". I found a bit of myself
in all of these stories, so I liked the book.
Author: Carl A. Whitaker and William M. Bumberry
Title: Dancing with the family : a symbolic-experiential approach
Publisher: Brunner/Mazel, 1988
Comments: An example of a family in the process of family therapy. This
is a different family than the one described in "The Family Crucible". The
book has a somewhat unusual presentation style. In some parts actual
conversations are on the left, and therapists comments on the right. In
other parts the therapy dialog is extended with someone asking Carl
Whitaker questions about what he said to the family. There is also a lot
of Whitaker simply using this particular family to talk about his style of
family therapy. I did not think that thus book was as good as "The Family
Crucible", but if you liked that book, then this one will probably be
interesting. Although I really like Whitaker's basic approach, I think he
would be a little too cryptic and elusive for me in a real therapeutic
Author: Augustus Y. Napier, with Carl A. Whitaker
Title: The family crucible
Publisher: Harper & Row, 1978
Comments: An easy to read look at a family in the process of family
therapy. Very good for me personally. Helps to understand how family
members, as a system, can all unconciously conspire to maintain each other
in roles that none of them actually want to play. For instance, why would
ALL of the members of a family actually encourage a child to become
depressed and to "act out", even while they ALL say they don't like the
situation?? If you don't know the answer to this question, you might want
to read this book. Similar in some ways to The Dance of Intimacy.
Author: Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D.
Title: The Dance of Anger (1985), The Dance of Intimacy (1989), and The
Dance of Deception (1993)
Publisher: Harper and Row for Anger and Intimacy. Harper Collins for
Comments: These three books are all very similar and all VERY good. They
hit me right were I live. They are a little bit heavy on the "feminist"
sociological perspective, but I was able to read through what I personally
did not need. All three books deal with how we can only change ourselves,
and not others. But, as we change ourselves, we will meet with resistance
from within and from without. Most of us cannot live alone without any
contact with other people, but it is hard to dance with someone if either
party (even yourself) keeps changing their steps. How do we own our own
selves, dance with others, change our selves, and not lose our step or our
partners in the process? These are not "how to" books.
Author: Lauren Slater
Title: Welcome to My Country
Publisher: Random House, 1996
Comments: The author is a psychologist who was diagnosed and hospitalized
with borderline personality disorder. From the time she was about 15 to 20
she was on the "inside", but she somehow managed to make her way to become
an insightful therapist. The book has an almost lyrical cadence, as she
deftly closes the gap between "us" and "them". This is a really good read.
Author: Mark Vonnegut
Title: The Eden Express
Publisher: Bantam 1975
Comments: This is a presumably somewhat autobiographical novel by Mark
Vonnegut, the son of writter Kurt Vonnegut. It is the story of his
experience with "schizophrenia." He certainly sucked me down into a spiral
of disoriented confusion. Apparently he has since been diagnosed with
manic depression and recent versions of this book are said to include an
addendum about this.
Author: Tracy Thompson
Title: The Beast: A Reckoning with Depression
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1995
Comments: A Washington Post reporter writes of her personal struggle with
depression. I liked it. It is not in strict journal style, but it is sort
of a personal historical accounting, along the lines of Prozac Nation. A
bit heavy on the boyfriend, but all in all a good read for me.
Author: Daniel Goleman
Title: Emotional Intelligence
Publisher: Bantam Books, 1995
Comments: I liked the premise of this book, but I found it somehow off the
mark in it's presentation. While it promoted the importance of "emotional
intelligence", it seemed to present this concept in an intellectualized,
all but emotional, format that somehow sort of got in my way. Still I did
like the premise of the book.
Author: Richard E. Cytowic
Title: The Man Who Tasted Shapes, A Bizarre Medical Mystery Offers
Revolutionary Insights into Emotions, Reasoning, and Conciousness
Publisher: Putnam, 1993
Comments: The title is a little too much, but I liked this book. It is a
neurological study of people with an unusual form of sensation called
"synethesia", wherein a person senses an object in mixed modalities (eg.
tasting in shapes). It is sort of in the spirit of neurological studies of
"The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat", but it is focused on only one
type of odd neuology. I thought too much of the book was spent trying to
localize the "anatomical place" for the synethesia, but I liked the
concepts it brought up about emotions come first, and logic filters the
Author: Peter D. Kramer, M.D.
Title: Listening To Prozac
Publisher: Viking, 1993
Comments: A psychiatrist explores some of the many implications of
antidepressants, and especially of Prozac's effects on personality. He
also discusses some recent research on depression, as well as many other
issues which seem linked to depression. As a pharmacologist and a student
of possibilities, I liked this exploration a lot.
Author: Martha Manning
Title: Undercurrents: A Therapist's Reckoning with Her Own Depression
Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco, 1994
ISBN: 006251184X (paperback, 1995)
Comments: I thought this was a very good book. It is written in journal
or diary style, by a psychotherapist. She ultimately underwent ECT and at
the writing of it, felt it was worthwhile. A good personal story about the
trials of depression. I talked with her at a National Depressive and Manic
Depressive Association meeting in 1997. She was warm and witty and very
articulate. I asked her if she still felt positively about ECT. She said
that since the book was published she has had another series of ECT
treatments, and she still feels they have saved her life.
Author: Percy Knauth
Title: A Season in Hell
Publisher: Harper and Row, 1975
Comments: This book is kind of old and can be hard to come by. I found it
in my local library. A reasonably easy to read personal story of
depression. The sort of thing I like to read.
Author: William Styron
Title: Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness
Publisher: Vintage, 1990
Comments: This is a wonderful book, although it could be a little *too*
well crafted. In comparison with Prozac Nation, this book lacks a certain
raw edge to it. Note that the author is famous for many other books, some
about suicide (eg. Sophie's Choice), but he did not recognize his own
depression until much later.
Author: Norman S. Elder
Title: Holiday of Darkness: A Psychologist's Personal Journey Out of His
Publisher: Wiley, 1982
Comments: This is a bit old, and hard to come by. Yet another personal
story of depression. Made somewhat more interesting by the fact that the
sufferer is himself a psychologist, and so has that set of insights and
perspectives that go with the profession.
Author: Kathy Cronkite
Title: On the Edge of Darkness: Conversations about Conquering Depression.
Publisher: Doubleday, 1994
Comments: Written by Walter Cronkite's daughter. Features a variety of
personal stories by herself and by "famous" people about their experiences
with depression. I didn't think I would like this book because I could
really care less about "celebrities", but in the end, as usual for me, I
found common ground listening to the stories of others.
Author: Elizabeth Wurtzel
Title: Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1994
Comments: A great book, easily readable. This is an important, and timely
book, not just for twentynothings. If you find that people cannot
understand your depression, maybe you should hand them this book to read.
Ad notes: "An electrifying memoir about a young woman's 5-year battle with
depression." One of the best "personal stories" I have read thus far.
Pain is pain. I am as far from a 20 something suicidal young girl as one
can get, but this book really "spoke to me". Pain is pain.
Author: Judith Viorst
Title: Necessary Losses
Publisher: Simon and Schuster, 1986
Comments: Somewhat hard to read, somewhat heavy on the psychoanalytical
side, but it seemed to fit for me. I may have to read this again at some
point, as I don't think it is the kind of book that you can integrate after
just one reading.
Author: Dr. Vamik Volkan and Elizabeth Zintl
Title: Life After Loss, The Lessons of Grief
Publisher: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1993
Comments: This was a book more about grief then depression, but that fit
Author: Roberta Israeloff
Title: In Confidence, Four Years of Therapy
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1990
Comments: A woman goes into therapy to become a better mother for her new
son. She comes up with a whole lot more than she expected. Reasonably
easy to read, and as a new father I could relate to most of it.
Author: Carol Ferland
Title: The Long Journey Home
Publisher: Alfred Knopf, 1980
Comments: The diary style journal of a woman and her therapy. She deals a
lot with transference, and her fixation on her therapist. But there is
more here than just that in it as well.
Author: Harry Middleton
Title: The Bright Country, A fisherman's Return to Trout, Wild Water, and
Publisher: Simon and Schuster, 1993
Comments: A man is forced out of his job, but looks for and finds himself
elsewhere. Fun to read, but a little on the fictional rather than
Author: Annie G. Rogers, Ph.D.
Title: A Shining Affliction, A History of Harm and Healing in Psychotherapy
Publisher: Vicking, 1995
Comments: I think I liked this, but I cannot remember what it was all about.
Author: Thomas Maeder
Title: Children of Psychiatrists and Other Psychotherapists
Publisher: Harper and Row, 1989
Comments: This book is probably only of interest to
psychiatrists/psychotherapists and their children. It is heavily weighted
to what I think a typical New York City psychotherapist might be like. I
only found one section of it that I thought fit with my father (a
psychiatrist) and my family. Several years after my father's death I found
this book in his study. Now what do you suppose THAT means?
Author: Susanna Kaysen
Title: Girl, Interrupted
Publisher: Turtle Bay Books, Random House, 1993
Comments: Very good personal story. Short and easy to read. About the
author's 2 year stay in a famous mental hospital as an 18 year old in the
60's. It is punctuated by actual documents from her medical files. The
book is actually named after a painting called "Girl Interrupted at Her
Music" by the Dutch painter Jan Vermeer [1632-1675]. The painting is
located at The Frick Collection in New York City
(http://www.frick.org/html/pntg44f.htm). A couple of years ago I happened
to be in New York City and we went to see it.
Author: Sheldon B. Kopp
Title: If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him!
Publisher: Bantam Books, 1972
Comments: I liked this perspective on psychotherapy. The therapist as a
fellow traveler, who must ultimately be left in the dust on the road, since
only you can really walk your own path, and know and live your own life.
Author: Barbara Lazear Ascher
Title: Landscape Without Gravity, A Memoir of Grief
Publisher: Penguin Books, 1993
Comments: A woman comes to terms with the grief she feels after the death
of her brother from AIDS. There are probably a lot of similar books given
the number of young men and women who have died of AIDS. I have not read
any others. However, I did not find this too specific to AIDS, nor to
brothers. I really like the title too.
Author: Natalie Goldberg
Title: Long Quiet Highway, Waking up in America
Publisher: Bantam Books, 1993
Comments: A good read for me, because I like Zen, and I lived in
Minneapolis and Denver. Not much here to do with depression per say, but
rather just another personal story of getting from here to there.
Author: Stephanie Ericson
Title: Companion Through Darkness, Inner Dialogues on Grief
Publisher: Harper Collins, 1993
Comments: Her husband dies suddenly before she gives birth to their first
child. Very short chapters, each in two parts. One part sort of
theoretically related to grief, the other more personal.
Author: Roger Kamenetz
Title: The Jew in the Lotus
Publisher: Harper Collins, 1994
Comments: A small delegation of Jews bring a Torah to the Dali Lama who is
living in northern India, in exile from Tibet. The Dali Lama is interested
to know how a people/culture/religion can survive in exile as the Jews have
for over 2000 years. Since the Jews are no longer in forced exile, this
raises the question of how they will continue to survive now that they can
Author: Viktor E. Frankl
Title: Man's Search for Meaning, An Introduction to Logotherapy
Publisher: Simon and Schuster, 1959
Comments: The first half of the book is autobiographical in nature, about
the author's experience as a young therapist trying to find meaning for
himself and others as they struggle to stay alive in Nazi concentration
camps. The second half is thicker on theory. Logotherapy is "meaning
based" therapy, and has a decided existential tone to it.
Author: Hermann Hess
Publisher: New Directions, 1961
Comments: The quintessential book about searching. The story of a young
man and his friend as they attempt to find meaning in their lives. I liked
it when I was in High School, and I liked it again at 40.
Author: Hermann Hess
Title: Journey to the East
Publisher: Bantam Books, 1961
Comments: Also a good book about searching. Perhaps a tale about how even
the most unlikely of characters can be the fulcrum of one's life. Another
book that I liked when I was in High School and liked again at 40.
Author: Erich Fromm
Title: The Art of Loving
Publisher: Perennial Library, 1956
Comments: Hard to read, but lots of good-for-me insights.
Author: Robin Maugham
Title: The Servant
Publisher: Harcourt Brace and Co., 1949
Comments: This is a very obscure, very short, and very odd little book.
But it affected me in my teens when I read it, and it was still a good read
recently. It is about a "perfect" servant who attends to the needs of his
"masters" so well, that he actually has full control over them. The
servant is the ultimate opiate, and the ultimate in manipulation by