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Aug. 9 is National Book Lovers Day, and we love a good read. Reading is a great way to de-stress and practice self-care. And we’ve compiled some recommendations from mental health professionals about books that deal with mental health. So find a soft blanket, your favorite hot drink, and a quiet nook and settle in.

Staff at our Sunshine Lady House for Wellness and Mental Health Recovery curated a list of books about behavioral health:

  • Lost Connections: Why You’re Depressed and How to Find Hope by Johann Hari 
  • Daring Greatly by Brene Brown 
  • Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs by Johann Hari 
  • Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski 
  • The Grief Recovery Handbook: The Action Program for Moving Beyond Death, Divorce, and Other losses by John W. James and Russell Friedman 
  • Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl 
  • Self-compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff 
  • You Meet You: A Journal to Unlock, Explore, & Love Your Inner Self by Avery Schein 
  • The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma: Bessel Van Der Kolk 
  • The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients by Irvin D. Yalom 
  • The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz 

Turtles All the Way Down

Anna Loftis, Kenmore Club Coordinator, shared this review:

If you are looking for a book about mental health, I would recommend Turtles All the Way Down by John Green. The goodreads.com description is as follows;

“It all begins with a fugitive billionaire and a promise of a cash reward. Turtles All the Way Down is about lifelong friendship, the intimacy of an unexpected reunion, Star Wars fan fiction, and a tutuara. But at its heart is Aza Holmes, a young woman navigating daily existence within the every tightening spiral of her own thoughts.”

What this description doesn’t say, is that the main character, Aza, struggles with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It is an incredibly accurate depiction, most likely due to John Green himself struggling with the disorder. It is considered YA, but it doesn’t lean as heavily into the typical tropes of his previous work, including romance and overly elaborate adult dialogue. It never shames or stigmatizes the main character, but also doesn’t shy away from examining her flaws and deep struggles. It also is a great depiction of female friendship.

While not about mental health, I will also highly recommend An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, the debut novel by Hank Green, brother of John Green. It’s more of a social commentary wrapped in a science fiction box, with an unlikeable protagonist, but still an incredibly engaging read.

Both Green brothers are heavily involved in the creation of online content (and have been since the beginning of YouTube). They manage a channel called “Crash Course” that has series of 15 minute educational videos on various topics, including a series on psychology. The series offers a surprising amount of information in just 15 minutes, discussing many different mental health disorders. It’s a series that we have shown multiple times at Kenmore Club as a way to help everyone understand themselves and each other better. They also have series on history and science, which we also use for groups.

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