Psycho-Babble Social Thread 17108

Shown: posts 1 to 25 of 37. This is the beginning of the thread.

 

bloody iris murdoch!

Posted by ELA on January 23, 2002, at 12:29:30

As the new film "Iris" is currently having a lot of publicity over here I thought that I would try some of her books. Love reading and often use it to "escape" from what I have come to call my dark world.

HOWEVER - her books are all a bit dark and deep and sinister for me. Not to mention bloody confusing! And they raise far too many philosphical questions for my poor brain to cope with!

Can any of you recommend some "lighter" reading for me at the moment?! I have a degree in English Lit and have enough books to start my own library with but there are always more! I am particuarly interested in things that could help me understand about mental illness more...?

Thanx in advance people!

 

Lighter books

Posted by Ella on January 23, 2002, at 14:15:36

In reply to bloody iris murdoch!, posted by ELA on January 23, 2002, at 12:29:30


Hmm. The first Harry Potter book is good if you want just a little 6-hour entertainment read.
If you are into fantasy some of the Mercedes Lackey books might be good. By the Sword, or maybe Born to Run. Born to Run is a good vs. evil kinda’ thing. By the Sword is about a woman with attitude who ends up being a mercenary.

The Depression Book by Cheri Huber is good if you are interested in a Zen view of depression.
I also liked The Deepest Blue, which is about women and depression.

Have fun!

 

Recommended Reading » ELA

Posted by IsoM on January 23, 2002, at 14:20:43

In reply to bloody iris murdoch!, posted by ELA on January 23, 2002, at 12:29:30

I love it when someone wants books recommended. I warn you though, although I love fine English literature, I also love to read "lighter" writings, especially when I do need a pick-up. I don't want my brain always taxed to the limit. I've read all the depressing Russian novelists & some great Japanese novels (translated, of course) when younger, plus W. Somerset Maughn (still one of my favourites). Now I need books that won't depress me reading them.

I'm only recommending 4 different authors/books as I am very choosy. Too many works are just factory-churned out now.

Best Light Material is definitely -
1. Gerald Durrell's stories of his childhood & family.
Gerald Durrell wrote a series of books about his early days from the age of 10 to 15 years old of his life in Corfu, a Greek island. (You may be familiar with his much more famous brother Lawrence Durrell.) The stories of his family & his adolescence are priceless. When sitting in public & reading these books (doctor's offices etc), I break out in laughter & have people look at me strangely. It is impossible not to laugh aloud when reading his books. And curled up in winter reading them, I could feel the warm Mediterranean sun on my shoulders & almost hear the sea.

Unfortuanetely, in lending out my books, I no longer have those so I can't tell you what book is first in the series, but no matter, it's not vitally important to read them in order. They are My Family & Other Animals, "Garden of the Gods", and "Birds, Beasts, & Relatives". He has other books he's written about his days as an animal collector for zoos which are quite good too but not nearly as funny.

2. How about science-fiction? One of the funniest & still the best humourous sci-fi is Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy : A Trilogy (To give you an idea- there's actually 5 books in his 'trilogy'). BBC made a mini-series from it.

3. "Alamut" by Judith Tarr (my recommemded books are getting a little weightier now). She holds degrees in ancient & medieval history & her novels are historically accurate. They're classified as fantasy as she blends fiction & fact together very well, but with her it's clear what is what. I think Alamut to be her best book, but any of her historical fantasies are good. The're not 'love' stories but the telling of historical events embellished.

4. The Faded Sun by C.J.Cherryh.
She's considered a sci-fi and/or fantasy novelist but she's one of the best. She doesn't churn them out like some do. This story tells about the extinction of a unique race of people (only two left, a brother & sister - he a warrior & she a priestess) & a former adversay, human, & his efforts to save these two & join them to others of their kind elsewhere in the galaxy. It is my all-time favourite book & isn't really light reading. It has many levels in its writings & is one of those rare books I've reread & will reread again. You don't get a lot of science in this but human/mri interactions instead. Here's a few comments from other reviewers about it below.

"The book is crafted, written, and paced very deliberately, which might frustrate an impatient reader."

"This for me is a book of moral attitudes for each race described in this book is driven by the ideologies and ethics inherent to them; even in spite of survival. It is a book of strange heroism from all parts but heroism nonetheless."

"Cherryh is not big on high tech, but tremendous on human (and non-human) dimensions. This is not space opera, but rather psychological thriller."

 

Re: Recommended Reading

Posted by noa on January 23, 2002, at 18:34:43

In reply to Recommended Reading » ELA, posted by IsoM on January 23, 2002, at 14:20:43

Just read The Shipping News, enjoyed it a lot. Now, I'm reading Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel. It is a collection of letters written by Galileo's daughter to him over the course of 10 years. Very enjoyable.

 

Re: Recommended Reading

Posted by noa on January 23, 2002, at 18:38:57

In reply to Re: Recommended Reading, posted by noa on January 23, 2002, at 18:34:43

Oops. The Galileo book is actually called Letters to Father--it is edited by Sobel, but Galileo's Daughter is another book about her.

 

Talking It Over, etc. » ELA

Posted by Jonathan on January 24, 2002, at 0:06:57

In reply to bloody iris murdoch!, posted by ELA on January 23, 2002, at 12:29:30

Hi Emma :)

WARNING - I'm a semi-illiterate maths/science geek and currently have the attention span of a goldfish because of my depressive illness and medication, so please take my recommendations with a large pinch of NaCl.

If your attention span is temporarily as limited as mine, you might enjoy Talking It Over by Julian Barnes (and even if your attention span is normal, so is my wife's; she enjoyed it too). The three protagonists take turns to describe the same events to the reader, as seen through three different pairs of eyes. It's a little like reading a thread on PSB! Your name gets a brief mention in Chapter 16, which I think may make you smile :)

There's also a recent sequel, Love, etc, written when the author and characters are about ten years older. You must read it second: to do otherwise would be (as Oliver might say) like Sauternes before Manzanilla, or Gotterdammerung before Siegfried, or swine before pearls.

In view of your recent posts - how the problems that concern us change as we get older: from Barbie dolls or trainers to student loans or impatience to finish uni and get on with your life to realizing that a couple of years' delay in starting your chosen career is nothing if you had fun and made a choice that you're happy with - it's interesting to see how the characters' outlook on life develops as they grow older. I also liked the views of us eccentric British through Terri's American and Mme Wyatt's French eyes.

> I am particularly interested in things that could help me understand about mental illness more...?

Oliver has some interesting things to say about his depressive illness and The Men Who Guess; so has his GP, Dr Robb. This psychopharm geek noticed that she prescribed Oliver a plausible dose of dothiepin (Prothiaden™ - another tricyclic like your old friend amitriptyline).

"The Glittering Prizes" by Frederic Raphael was compulsive viewing in the JCR of my college when it appeared on TV in the late '70s. Sadly, the book is now out of print but of course the UL has a copy, and so have Queens' and Darwin. It's another on how our view of life changes as we accumulate experience, disappointments and cynicism; the protagonists start as Cambridge students (or `customers' as we cynics believe too many dons now see you - actually, I do believe that there are still enough left to make a difference who really care about you).

> I have a degree in English Lit ...

Wow! Didn't you say that you're only 20? - and you're already reading for what must be your second degree, in education. You must have a brain the size of a planet ;)

Douglas Adams wrote The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (already recommended by IsoM) a couple of years after he graduated: he read English Lit at Pembroke. Marvin the "paranoid android" might help you understand depression more; but, as anyone here could tell you, he's depressed - not paranoid. This web-server gives you a sample of Marvin's Weltanschauung if you ask it for any non-existent file:

http://www.scintilla.utwente.nl/asdfhjkl

I'm afraid I've never read anything about mental illness (except here on PSB) that I don't find too depressing to qualify as a light entertaining read. Perhaps this is a potential gap in the market for a young Eng Lit graduate and aspiring writer like Doug Adams, but having your experience of depression? You could have a glittering future ahead of you.

If you like sci-fi, Fred Hoyle (who used to be Plumian Professor at Cambridge) is probably the greatest and most imaginative scientist who has written novels (e.g. The Black Cloud, "The Inferno", "Ossian's Ride", "October the First is Too Late", etc.). Regrettably, they're again all out of print. His autobiography, Home is Where the Wind Blows is fun (and it contains twice as many equations as Hawking's A Brief History of Time) and Hoyle's blunt, entertaining Yorkshire writing style makes it a good read.

I'm so glad, Emma, that you're still with us and you now feel that last Saturday was the turning point that set you on the road to recovery. Don't let the inevitable potholes on this road discourage you, and please try to keep all your options open for the future.

Happy reading :)

Jonathan.

 

Harry Potter and a logic problem » ELA, Ella

Posted by Jonathan on January 24, 2002, at 0:23:30

In reply to Lighter books, posted by Ella on January 23, 2002, at 14:15:36

Don't underestimate "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" (already recommended by Ella). If bloody Iris Murdoch has put you off books with the word "philosopher" in the title, you could order the dumbed-down American version from amazon.com ;) and donate a tiny fraction of the international shipping charges to Dr Bob by submitting your order through the link near the top of the PSB index page :) If you're shy about buying kids' books, there's also an `adult' edition, presumably like the post-watershed extended repeats on TV of Hollyoaks and Buffy ;) Personally, I don't like the item "adult books" appearing on my credit card bill, and it costs more.

Okay, it's for 8-13 year-olds and the characters, like the intended readers, are stuck at Kohlberg's heteronomous level 3 in their moral development (10 house points for each of the other 5 levels that you can describe!) However, if you're going to be a teacher, your students will not be impressed by your erudition if you've ploughed through interminable reading lists full of Kohlberg and Piaget but had no time for Harry Potter.

Much more important - it's great fun; and there's a brilliant logic problem for maths geeks in Chapter 16 :)

When you've read the poem, stop and think, because the stupid author gives away the answer lower down the same page! Although we readers don't know, as Hermione does, which bottles are the smallest and largest, we can still infer which one she drank from in order to go back through the purple fire, and which two she should have kept for an under-age drinking session in Gryffindor's dorm after lights out; and we can almost deduce both the size and the position of the bottle she told Harry to drink from in order to advance through the black (sic) flames. All you have to assume is that the bottles were arranged in such an order that Hermione, being able to see them, could work out which ones she and Harry should drink from (and I'm not necessarily including the wine they keep for later - that's not in the book).

When you've solved the puzzle and finished the book (six hours for both is impressive, Ella) I recommend the film (movie). There's no point in trying to cheat by seeing it first in the hope of looking at the seven bottles - this scene has inexplicably been cut :(

Have fun :)

Jonathan.

 

Two More Recommendations

Posted by IsoM on January 24, 2002, at 2:20:34

In reply to Harry Potter and a logic problem » ELA, Ella, posted by Jonathan on January 24, 2002, at 0:23:30

How could I forget Dr. Oliver Sacks? He's a famous neurologist (the young doctor in the movie Awakenings). I read his book of different case histories of neurologic disorders The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat years ago & it's every bit as good a read now as then. Actually, it's EXCELLENT.

And for light mystery stories - I love Isaac Asimov's series called the Black Widows Club series, if you can find them. Not so easy any more.

 

Re: Two More Recommendations

Posted by crinn on January 24, 2002, at 7:27:52

In reply to Two More Recommendations, posted by IsoM on January 24, 2002, at 2:20:34

Hi, there!
Like many of the other posters, altho I love to read, it is a luxury that I can rarely enjoy now. Here are a few books on first person accounts with depression that I found helpful:
An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison.
Also Her Touched with Fire is good, but a bit technical.
Constructive Living by David Reynolds--here's a guy who actually made himself depressed so he could see how it feels--go figure. But it is a lovely (and short)
As for light reading, I'm probably a bad one to ask, as I like a lot of "junk" books. But anything by Barbara Kingslover, especially her earlier books. She has a great writing style and a very dry wit.

Thanks to everyone else who posted too, now I have some great books to read! Warmly, Crinn

> How could I forget Dr. Oliver Sacks? He's a famous neurologist (the young doctor in the movie Awakenings). I read his book of different case histories of neurologic disorders "The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat" years ago & it's every bit as good a read now as then. Actually, it's EXCELLENT.
>
> And for light mystery stories - I love Isaac Asimov's series called the Black Widows Club series, if you can find them. Not so easy any more.

 

Re: Harry Potter

Posted by ELA on January 24, 2002, at 9:13:35

In reply to Harry Potter and a logic problem » ELA, Ella, posted by Jonathan on January 24, 2002, at 0:23:30

I absolutely, positively ADORE Harry Potter! I find myself looking more closely than ever at people now trying to catch them out as being members of a parallel wizarding world! Unfortunately, the books are also causing me grief - I have read them all so many times that I now know them off by heart and I can't wait any longer for the 5th one, Harry Potter and the Order Of The Phoenix!

I am only 20, Jonathan, but my degree has been split in 2 - first half was English and the 2nd is the Education. It's been hard going but I love to study. Have recently done another Sign Language Course and 3 more A-Levels as well and one of the main reasons that I'm so cross with being so ill is that I haven't been able to do anymore studying for a while. Thanx for your suggestions, they all look good! :) Emma.

 

Re: Psycho-Babble Book Club?

Posted by Dr. Bob on January 24, 2002, at 9:52:16

In reply to Re: Harry Potter , posted by ELA on January 24, 2002, at 9:13:35

> I absolutely, positively ADORE Harry Potter!...

Hmm, all these books, do you think a separate board to discuss books in more detail would go anywhere?

Bob

 

Re: Psycho-Babble Book Club?

Posted by robinibor on January 24, 2002, at 12:23:51

In reply to Re: Psycho-Babble Book Club?, posted by Dr. Bob on January 24, 2002, at 9:52:16

That might be fun. I would like to know what others think about my favorites...
Has anyone read The Samurai's Garden? An all-time favorite. Currently I am listening to Corelli's Mandolin as I drive. What beautiful writing.
And ELA, have you read Noonday Demon? I've read excerpts and reviews; maybe that will be a good one for you.
Another book just out is The Watch: Memoir of a Revolutionist. Check out an excerpt on http://www.doingwell.ws
Any articles or reviews will be cheerfully considered for Doing Well.
Robin

 

Re: Psycho-Babble Book Club?

Posted by crinn on January 24, 2002, at 12:54:26

In reply to Re: Psycho-Babble Book Club?, posted by robinibor on January 24, 2002, at 12:23:51

RE: Noonday Demon--it has the best description of trying to take a shower that I've ever read. Listen to this: "I can remember crying in my bed, crying because I was too frightened to take a shower...at the same time knowing that showers are not scary. I kept running through the individual steps in my mind: you trun and put your feet on the floor; you stand; you walk form here to the bathroom; you open the bathroom door; you walk to the edge of the tub; you turn on the water; ;you step under the water; you rub yourself with soap; ;you rinse; you step out you dry yourself, you walk back to the bed. Twelve steps, which sounded to me then as onerous as a tour through the stations of the cross."

There's more, but you get the idea. It made me feel so much better that someone else was there, too! I like the book club idea. Best, Crinn

> That might be fun. I would like to know what others think about my favorites...
> Has anyone read The Samurai's Garden? An all-time favorite. Currently I am listening to Corelli's Mandolin as I drive. What beautiful writing.
> And ELA, have you read Noonday Demon? I've read excerpts and reviews; maybe that will be a good one for you.
> Another book just out is The Watch: Memoir of a Revolutionist. Check out an excerpt on http://www.doingwell.ws
> Any articles or reviews will be cheerfully considered for Doing Well.
> Robin

 

Do We Really Need Another Board?

Posted by mair on January 24, 2002, at 15:16:03

In reply to Re: Psycho-Babble Book Club?, posted by Dr. Bob on January 24, 2002, at 9:52:16

Couldn't we accomplish almost as much if we archived book title recommendations in the same way that we archive information about particular drugs? Threads like the current one would continue to be run on PSB so we all could participate, but you could use a key word like "books" to get a reference to all of the threads where these books were discussed.

 

Re: Psychobabble Proliferation?

Posted by medlib on January 24, 2002, at 15:20:00

In reply to Re: Psycho-Babble Book Club?, posted by Dr. Bob on January 24, 2002, at 9:52:16

Dr. Bob--

Do I detect an urge to proliferate? Is it similar to the drive to procreate, a compulsive need for order, or a figment of my undersized, overworked imagination?

Sure, it's a good idea, but does it have staying power? Can those of you who like it envision reading/contributing to it 6 mo./a year down the road? Would it be a replacement for TelePB (which, IMHO, is not just terminal, but ready for burial alongside PB/Children, more's the pity)?

I'm certainly not against experimentation, just a little frustrated, as one of those who like to see all the Babbles when we visit. Selectivity is an option, but a difficult one for the curious and/or committed.

I'm just one of those still shackled to a dial-up modem who've belatedly discovered a personal upper limit on time and patience...

and who's, no doubt, exceeded yours. Thanks for the opportunity to whine, Dr. Bob; I'll try not to utilize it quite so often.---medlib

 

Re: Psycho-Babble Book Club? » Dr. Bob

Posted by IsoM on January 24, 2002, at 15:58:49

In reply to Re: Psycho-Babble Book Club?, posted by Dr. Bob on January 24, 2002, at 9:52:16

I, personally, see little need for a book club forum. Just a passing fancy. Most of us get our recommendations from friends or just browsing through a book store, or Amazon.com.

Too many forums only complicates things for us with "the over-complicated minds that need organising".
>
>
> Hmm, all these books, do you think a separate board to discuss books in more detail would go anywhere?
>
> Bob

 

Re: Psycho-Babble Book Club?

Posted by Dr. Bob on January 25, 2002, at 0:33:06

In reply to Re: Psycho-Babble Book Club? » Dr. Bob, posted by IsoM on January 24, 2002, at 15:58:49

> I, personally, see little need for a book club forum. Just a passing fancy. Most of us get our recommendations from friends or just browsing through a book store, or Amazon.com.

Sorry, I should've been more clear. I didn't mean just a board for book recommendations, like in this thread, but a real (well, a virtual) book *club*, which would decide on a book to read, say, every month and then discuss it...

Bob

 

Re books

Posted by fi on January 25, 2002, at 7:31:14

In reply to bloody iris murdoch!, posted by ELA on January 23, 2002, at 12:29:30

Of lighter reading variety:
Someone has mentioned Captain Corelli, but I would avoid that at the moment- it starts off as a gentle story but gets very grim and grisly.

Kate Atkinson, Emotionally Weird
I got this (in WH Smith '2 for £10' deal on at the moment). It looks a bit odd but its a straightforward funny tale of some Dundee students in the 70s, definitely with their minds on other things than studying. Its been making me do the commuting sin of laughing on the train (not out loud, but cant stop them shoulder shaking...)

Maureen Lipman's books are also funny.

Understanding mental problems:

The ones I know about are re depression. There are 2 good descriptive books, mixing theory and personal experience:

Lewis Wolpert is an eminent scientist who has also been hospitalised with depression, and wrote a book about the condition afterwards.
Title: Malignant Sadness. The Anatomy of Depression. Lewis Wolpert
Publication details: London. Faber and Faber. 1999

Anthony Clare (yes, that one) also wrote a book with Spike Milligan (tho he has manic-depression)
Title: Depression and how to survive it. Spike Milligan and Anthony Clare
Publication details: London. Arrow. 1994


Dorothy Rowe is a very eminent psychologist who has a theory about depression described in various books. I'm not sure it fits everyone, but it can be worth a look. The books arent particularly easy to read (but easier than Iris Murdoch!)- I couldnt concentrate enough to read them till I was better. One is called 'the depression handbook'. Another depression- the way out of your prison.

Claire Weekes wrote books with titles that made my hair curl- v folksy. But actually her text (actually her tapes) were the most supportive and encouraging I found when swamped in anxiety and depression.
One is :
Title: Self help for your nerves. Claire Weekes
Publication details: Sydney. Angus & Robertson. 1981

On a different tack, I used to watch the 'Jungle Book' on video when feeling dire. Sounds a bit unlikely, but its calm jolliness did help a bit.

Fi

 

Re: Re books/Thank you, thank you » fi

Posted by robinibor on January 25, 2002, at 14:51:36

In reply to Re books, posted by fi on January 25, 2002, at 7:31:14

Thank you for the warning. I am less than halfway through...but I think I will put the rest aside. It is not a good time for me to do "grim and grisly." I have been having sibling problems and even though my paxil has been increased, I sort of feel at that danger point. I'm sure most of you know what I mean. And living with the "best therapist in the world"...well, you know the saying about the shoemaker's children. Even having the best available doesn't mean you can "fix" everything.
So I'll listen to music and Car Talk until I find a different tape. I guess they can't all have happy endings, but I think that's what I need right now.
Thanks again,
Robin

> Of lighter reading variety:
> Someone has mentioned Captain Corelli, but I would avoid that at the moment- it starts off as a gentle story but gets very grim and grisly.

 

Re: Psycho-Babble Book Club? » Dr. Bob

Posted by Mair on January 26, 2002, at 10:21:29

In reply to Re: Psycho-Babble Book Club?, posted by Dr. Bob on January 25, 2002, at 0:33:06

This idea (the idea of a club, not a board) is much more intriguing. I'm not sure how given the way the Board operates, that we'd actually reach agreement on what to read. Any thoughts?

Mair

 

Sorry You're Teetering (nm) » robinibor

Posted by Mair on January 26, 2002, at 10:23:00

In reply to Re: Re books/Thank you, thank you » fi, posted by robinibor on January 25, 2002, at 14:51:36

 

Re: Psycho-Babble Book Club?

Posted by Dr. Bob on January 27, 2002, at 4:04:04

In reply to Re: Psycho-Babble Book Club? » Dr. Bob, posted by Mair on January 26, 2002, at 10:21:29

> This idea (the idea of a club, not a board) is much more intriguing. I'm not sure how given the way the Board operates, that we'd actually reach agreement on what to read. Any thoughts?

The same way "real" clubs decide? Throw out ideas and voice opinions until there's some consensus? I know, easier said than done. Especially online...

Yahoo does have that "poll" function, if at some point it got narrowed down, one option would be to have a vote...

Hmm, maybe it would be better if one or two people volunteered to lead it?

Bob

 

Re: Re books/Thank you, thank you » robinibor

Posted by Fi on January 27, 2002, at 13:05:10

In reply to Re: Re books/Thank you, thank you » fi, posted by robinibor on January 25, 2002, at 14:51:36

Wise decision.

I hope your other tactics help you get thru this current difficult time.
Fi

 

Re: Psycho-Babble Book Club? » Dr. Bob

Posted by IsoM on January 27, 2002, at 19:31:33

In reply to Re: Psycho-Babble Book Club?, posted by Dr. Bob on January 27, 2002, at 4:04:04

I'm sure many will be for it & good for them. Personally, I dislike book clubs, but then I'm weird. :)

Hope to hear more people give their opinions to you & hopefully positive, not like me.

 

Re: interest in Psycho-Babble Book Club?

Posted by Dr. Bob on January 30, 2002, at 14:00:44

In reply to Re: Psycho-Babble Book Club? » Dr. Bob, posted by IsoM on January 27, 2002, at 19:31:33

> I'm sure many will be for it & good for them. Personally, I dislike book clubs, but then I'm weird. :)

That's OK, too. So, who would be interested? If there are at least a few people, I think I could set it up pretty quickly...

Bob


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