In this second Wednesday of May 2015, I hereby call to order the 43rd meeting of Kate’s Book Club. Every meeting, we shall be reading a tome either (a) penned by an author named Kate or (b) that includes a character named Kate or (c) that this Kate liked a whole lot and thinks you will too. If you missed our last meeting, you want to get caught up.
Club members, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. So I thought it fitting to explore some books that put Mental Health at the forefront. So this week, I offer you a smorgasbord of reading for your mind.
The Butterfly Clues (fiction)
by Kate Ellis
Penelope (Lo) Marin has always loved to collect beautiful things. Her dad’s consulting job means she’s grown up moving from one rundown city to the next, and she’s learned to cope by collecting (sometimes even stealing) quirky trinkets and souvenirs in each new place – possessions that allow her to feel at least some semblance of home. But in the year since her brother Oren’s death, Lo’s hoarding has blossomed into a full-blown, potentially dangerous obsession.
She discovers a beautiful, antique butterfly pendant during a routine scour at a weekend flea market and recognizes it as having been stolen from the home of a recently murdered girl known only as “Sapphire” – a girl just a few years older than Lo. As usual, when Lo begins to obsess over something, she can’t get it out of her mind.
As she attempts to piece together the mysterious “butterfly clues”, with the unlikely help of a street artist named Flynt, Lo quickly finds herself caught up in a seedy, violent underworld much closer to home than she ever imagined – a world, as she’ll ultimately discover, that could hold the key to her brother’s tragic death.
Social Work and Mental Health (nonfiction, Social Work)
by Kate Karban @KateKarban
Social Work and Mental Health offers a fresh approach to addressing mental health issues across all aspects of social work practice, emphasizing the relevance of mental health for all social workers, not just those in specialist mental health settings.
The book provides critical engagement with the complexities of contemporary theory, policy and practice in this area, recognizing developments in user and carer involvement and interprofessional working. Key chapters focus on issues of inequality and diversity, drawing attention to the social determinants of health and the important contribution of social work in promoting social perspectives in mental health. Practice issues addressed include the mental health of children, young people and families, and older people, as well as a range of mental health conditions that are likely to be encountered. Promoting rights, recovery and social justice – and balancing these with considerations of risk – are core themes that run throughout the text.
Overall the book provides a valuable framework for understanding and responding to mental health issues that will be useful for all social work students and practitioners as well as a wider audience.
(See also Contemporary Mental Health: Theory, Policy and Practice by Kate Karban and Barbara Fawcett)
by Kate Morgenroth
How can I know what’s going to happen?
But somehow he did know. The feeling was like déjà vu but stronger…and scarier. It told him that without a doubt something was going to happen. And it was going to be bad.
In the year since Justin’s younger brother, Mark, died in a horrific accident, Justin’s life has unraveled. Justin used to be one of the school’s star athletes, but now he’s not even on any of the teams. He used to be part of the popular crowd, but now everyone at school treats him like he’s a monster. He used to date one of the prettiest girls at school, but now she will barely speak to him. Then on the anniversary of his brother’s death he gets into a fight with his former best friend, and things spiral out of control — with terrible consequences. But that’s not the worst. Now Justin is hearing a voice that’s making him relive the day of the accident over and over again.
In this dark thriller, Edgar Award nominee Kate Morgenroth explores the thin line between reality and illusion inside a troubled young mind.
The Law of Loving Others (fiction)
By Kate Axelrod @ktaxelrod
“THE LAW OF LOVING OTHERS . . .
Hours after Emma returns home from boarding school, she realizes that her mom is suffering from a schizophrenic break. Suddenly, Emma’s entire childhood and identity is called into question.
COULD NOT BE DISCOVERED BY REASON,
Desperate for answers, Emma turns to her boyfriend, Daniel. Will he love her even if she goes crazy too? But it’s the lonely, brooding boy Emma meets while visiting her mother at the hospital who really understands Emma. Phil encourages Emma’s reckless need for hurt and pain in the face of all this change and she is soon caught in a complicated spiral of loss and mistrust.
BECAUSE IT IS UNREASONABLE.”
In the span of just one winter break, Emma’s relationships alter forever and she is forced to see the wisdom in a line from Anna Karenina: “The law of loving others could not be discovered by reason, because it is unreasonable.”
A beautifully grounded coming-of-age novel, THE LAW OF LOVING OTHERS demands that the reader accept the main character, Emma, for who she is, while also creating deep sympathy for all that she is going through.
Madness (non-fiction, memoir)
By Kate Richards
Madness is a real world for the many thousands of people who are right now living within it. It never apologises. Sometimes it is a shadow, ever present, without regard for the sun. Sometimes it is a well of dark water with no bottom, or a levitation device to the stars.
Madness, a memoir is an insight into what it’s like to live with psychosis over a period of ten years, in which bouts of acute illness are interspersed with periods of sanity. The world is beautiful and terrifying and sometimes magical. The sanctity of life is at times precious and at times precarious and always fragile. It’s a story of learning to manage illness with courage and creativity, of achieving balance and living well. It is for everyone now living within the world of madness, for everyone touched by this world, and for everyone seeking to further his or her understanding of it, whether you think of madness as a biological illness of the brain or an understandable part of the continuum of the human condition.
Kate Richards is a trained doctor currently working in medical research.
Is that enough reading for you? If not, I encourage you to check out a non-Kate author:
Laura Town’s 6-book series the Alzheimer’s Roadmap
The first book in the series is Home Safety:
Help Your Loved One, Relieve Your Stress
Forty-five million people have Alzheimer’s, and their caregivers are overwhelmed. The Alzheimer’s Roadmap series is designed for the caregiver who has to make a million decisions, some are huge decisions and some are small. These decisions, however, have two goals in common: to protect the loved one who is suffering from this terrible disease and to make the stressful life of the caregiver easier.
Knowing how to keep their loved one safe is a top concern for caregivers. With this in mind, Laura Town, a caregiver, and Karen Kassel, a doctor of pharmacology, have written an invaluable book on the care and safety of Alzheimer patients. With detailed checklists of everything from Emergency Alert systems to Fire Safety to Medication Safety, this concise compendium is the definitive guide to Alzheimer patient safety. Whether you’re a medical professional or a family caregiver, you will breathe easier knowing you’ve taken the guesswork out of caregiving. Learn: How to Keep Your Loved One Safe at Home; How to Avoid Falls; How to Prevent Wandering; How to Stop Your Loved One from Driving; How to Prevent Elder Abuse and Suicide; and much more.
Not bad… we’ve covered depression, hoarding, schizophrenia, psychosis, fractured personality, and mental health practice. Whew! So much more to come. Mental health isn’t just important, it is arguably THE MOST important aspect of health. Without a healthy mind, we cannot have healthy bodies. A mind is a terribly thing to waste, so let’s treat them with the respect they deserve. I invite you to read yourself healthy with me.
Until next time, Bookclubbers…
Kate’s Book Club is a column on Kate-book.com featuring interviews with authors named Kate, as well as reviews of books starring Kate characters. It runs on Kate-book.com Wednesdays, and is written by the self-admitted bibliophile Kate E. Stephenson, who you should follow on Twitter here. Oh, and write to Kate to suggest authors and books we should read for future columns.