May Book Review

Hi everyone,

I’m back! I finished  my week at work and took a few days to relax and see family, I’m heading out again today so I thought I’d post a review of the books I have read this month and I thought, for a change, that I’d post it in the morning before I leave. When I need some escape in work I usually pick up a book, and this month I managed to get through a few, even if some of them are quite short. I am also half way through another longer book but I didn’t finish it in time for May’s review.

One book I picked up recently that I thought looked interesting was The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat by Oliver Sacks (£6.99 on Amazon). This is an absolutely brilliant book which was written in the 80’s and is a group of case studies of neurological disorders. It was written at a time where retard and moron were acceptable terms (to some in the profession they still are, but to me they are not) so it can be a little difficult to read that. Despite those terms Sacks comes across as a genuine, humanistic practitioner. He seems emotionally involved but remaining a professional distance, he is respectful and curious. He listens and watches his patients, approaches patient dilemmas in new ways and accepts any hidden talents he discovers. It is interesting to read how he approaches conditions he’s never even heard of, some that have very little literature to describe. He also compares between his cases and also between his cases and other cases in the literature. There’s a wide range of conditions discussed, from agnosia to tourette’s to autism. I think the main idea you can take away from this book is the sheer importance of the brain and the ways that it can go wrong and change a person’s life entirely. I would definitely be interested in reading more of his work.

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Another book I read this month was Four And Twenty Blackbirds by Cherie Priest (£7.99 on Amazon). This is first book in the Eden Moore series and follows Eden from a young child to a young adult, meeting her family and understanding her powers along the way. The introduction is important and lasts a few chapters until it meets the present day, you can understand her intentions and need to discover the truth. When she can’t get the answers she needs from her aunt she sets out to find them by herself. She’s a strong character, like a Lisbeth Salander of the magical world. You’ll find a lot of action, ghosts and visions, magic, and new family members who pop up to throw a spanner in the works. In the end Eden realises her true power and faces off against an enemy who is her ancestor. I did like this book, there was a lot of mystery which kept me wanting to read, but I’m not sure I liked it enough to carry the series on.

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The next book I read was Silent Scream by Josh Cannon (You can find it on Amazon from £2.20). I can understand why people might not want to read this book, it is a real story of the author’s childhood abuse and his adult mental health difficulties including suicide attempts. The book has a trigger warning at the beginning which is much needed because this book is very honest and fairly graphic. The events that befell this guy starting from a young age are awful. He charts his journey from his father’s abuse at home to mistakenly trusting a gym teacher who also starts to abuse him, to boarding school where he learns to become promiscuous to survive, to fit in with his idea of himself which was given to him by the abuse. He gets married and has a child but cannot shake the events of the past, and cannot escape the call of suicide, he attempts and his wife calls his friend who sends him to a facility in America. At first he is non compliant, resulting in him nearly being kicked out but eventually he starts to take part and feels a little better, challenging his memories of the past and learning to not blame himself, learning that those who were supposed to protect him took advantage and they were to blame. It’s a very interesting story of abuse, PTSD, psychological difficulty, and therapy/recovery. He learned acceptance, self love and that he couldn’t blame his inner child for what happened, and he moved forward. The details are quite graphic and it seems he wanted to lay it all on the table which I think is important, it’s very honest especially when talking about how someone who seems to have a loving family, a wife and a child, something to live for can contemplate suicide, it can seem selfish but you have no idea what a person may have been through. This was a fantastic read, although it could be quite difficult at times.

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I also read The Unexamined Life by Stephen Grosz (£7.19 on Amazon). This book is similar to Oliver Sacks’ but it focuses on stories of psychoanalysis instead of neurological disorders. The stories are split into common themes and you get a contents page and notes, which I liked. I think what you can take away from this one is the depth of psychoanalysis, the skills of the therapist and the wide range of issues that people develop and that therapists encounter in the therapy room. You get an insight of the complexity of the brain and human thought. With the chapters being so short I don’t want to give away too much of the book so I will just say that I found it deeply interesting and it gave me more of a respect for psychoanalysis.

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Another book I read was Games People Play by Eric Berne (£6.29 on Amazon). This book is all about transactional analysis, a study of the games that people play. I was supposed to read this in uni but I never bought it. It’s a book about human relationships and the way we interact. You get an introduction to TA, the differences between procedures, rituals, past times and games followed by a thesaurus of games split into categories. As this book was originally written in the 60’s I imagine that these games have been studied further and new games have been discovered. TA deals with three ego states which an individual may adopt in interactions, the child, the adult and the parent. It is possible to play many games with combinations of these between a couple, or a group of people. And you can definitely recognise a few things you’ve done yourself, or seen others do. The ideal interaction is adult to adult but depending on many factors and what an individual is trying to accomplish or gain you can have child to parent, or parent to child interactions which are not always healthy. Some games can be dangerous as the individual doesn’t always get the complimentary response they were looking for, some games can end in death. Overall it’s a fascinating read, at the end of each game there is an analysis which has the possible ways of interacting i.e. adult to adult, child to parent in each case and what the advantages of the game would be to the individual.

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The last book I attempted to read was Beyond Good And Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche (£4.99 on Amazon). After reading several academic style texts this month I really had the feeling I was back in uni and as this week rolled around I stared at the philosophical book in front of me and felt disheartened. I couldn’t get to grips with the language and the print was very small. In the end I just gave up and decided to go back to reading fiction.

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Hope you enjoyed my book review for this month, I’m hoping to post more vegan reviews in the next few days,

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