March in Books

At the end of February, I entered a hypomanic state that ended with approximately 43 Amazon boxes at my apartment door, each one containing a book with a pretty cover that I had seen or read about somewhere. Perhaps I'd even overheard someone talking about the latest must-have title to change your life, or maybe I'd been lured in by the colourful merchandising and cleaver picks by Heather at Indigo in the weeks leading up to the shift in my mood. 

Regardless, in those moments, I knew I wanted books. And I wanted lots of them.

And then I found myself, stable, several days later, a few hundred dollars less in my bank account, and with what seemed like a million pages to get through.

Before I get too ahead of myself though. I should let you know that I'm bipolar, and impulse shopping is my drug of choice when I'm hypomanic. I often wonder how many times I tap that credit card on Apple Pay in a day, becoming enthralled by Siri's little Ka-ching, like it's some kind of video game and not real money that's actively draining my savings account. 

Mania is fun, at the time… until it isn't. 

However, I've always loved books. I find it soothing to be surrounded by them, and I'm always checking out new releases on the New York Times and Good Reads. I usually have 2-3 books on the go at one time. It's typically a mix of fiction, non-fiction, specifically memoir. I've also recently started listening to audiobooks while walking my dog, Tanto, since I find that relaxes me, and he seems to like it too since it gets us out for longer walks. 

I've read a ton of books this month and wanted to share them here since I think they were all pretty great. I recommended most of them to friends who also enjoyed them, so I figured what the heck, why not share them on the internet and start blogging about what books I've read.

Severence by Ling Ma

Uncanny Valley by Anna Weiner

Daddy by Emma Cline

Billion Dollar Loser: The Epic Rise and Spectacular Fall of Adam Neumann and WeWork by Reeves Wiedeman

Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier

If I Had Your Face by Francis Cha

Absolutely loved this book. A rare glimpse into the pressures of being beautiful in Korea, something I was unaware of before picking up the book. I enjoyed the deepening connections of the five women, and despite each facing their own challenges in life, it seemed to bring them closer together, regardless of their differing backgrounds. What a stunning debut novel from Frances Cha. I’m excited to read anything else she may release in the future.

The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi

The Push by Ashley Audrain

Psychological page turner! Finished this book in under 24 hours. Fantastic.

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Sensational page turner. Thoroughly enjoyed this book and the journey that it took me on. Brit Bennett could have taken one simple concept that would have been enough, but she took it even further, and it completely blew me away. I can see why this is considered one of the best books of 2020, and can see it topping the charts for months to come.

Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal by Nick Bilton

Enjoyed this book. I absolutely loved American Kingpin so was happy to read another Nick Bilton book. Also have an interest in tech and startup culture so found this book interesting.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

This was a difficult read to be honest. However, I found it completely captivating, beautifully written, and horrifyingly accurate at conveying certain moments. It’s a long read, at over 800 pages, but I definitely recommend it. If you’re suffering from any mental health issues, PTSD, self-harm, suicidal ideation, eating disorders, etc. then please be warned that you could be extremely triggered by the content at various points throughout.

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield

Have always been interested in NASA and space travel. This book is well written, hilarious, and informative. Couldn’t put it down.

Group by Christie Tate

Mostly I picked up this since it was a Reese’s book club pick. I enjoyed it a lot since I have experience in group therapy so could relate to some of the author’s stories. I liked that it put a comedic spin on mental illness, that always lightens the load when reading about a heavy topic. I enjoyed reading about Dr Rosen and found myself laughing out loud at many parts throughout the book. I also highlighted many points that I found were good advice. However, the reason for not giving it 5 stars was that I found it to be a bit too romanticized and rushed towards the end. Not disappointing, but perhaps a bit anticlimactic and Hollywood movie-like. Regardless, it was an engaging (and funny) read.

My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward by Mark Lukach

As someone with a background of mental illness and mental health training, I found this memoir to be authentic, well written and very engaging. It was an entirely different experience to read about the illness being told through the eyes of the partner rather than the patient. Highly recommend for those interested in learning more about psychiatric care, psychosis, bipolar disorder, antipsychotic medications, and the overall effect of mental disorders on families and loved ones.

Taming Your Gremlin by Rick Carson

Read this as part of a book club. To be honest, I didn’t think I’d like it when we first started but as we got more into it I started to catch onto the process and opened up more and more to the idea of “taming my gremlin”. It was then that I realized that within each of us lives a gremlin, one that tells us what we are and are not worthy of, etc. The one takeaway and tool I have learned from this book is ~ Simply Notice. And it’s a tool that I’ll continue to use again and again. The book was pretty repetitive and preachy in certain parts, but overall quite helpful. I’m not sure I would have finished it it hadn’t been for the book club and weekly check ins but now that I have finished, I’m glad I did! 

I'll likely do a full post on Rick's Taming Your Gremlin since I made so many great notes throughout my book club that I'd like to share.