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LibraryReads October 2014

September 29, 2014 by Reader's Connection

LibraryReads has been around for a year, now. Let’s have a party! Break out the candy corn and cider! Here are ten new books picked by librarians around the country.

A Sudden Light by Garth Stein

A Sudden Light


Garth Stein has given us a masterpiece. This beautiful story takes readers on a thrilling exploration of a family estate brimming with generations of riveting Riddell family ghosts and secrets. This is a true exploratory novel, taking readers through secret passageways, hidden rooms, and darkened corridors that engage all of the senses. — Whitney Gayle, James Blackstone Memorial Library, Branford, CT





Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

Leaving Time

Leaving Time is a love story – love between mother and child, love between soulmates, and love between elephants. The story is told from a variety of narrators, all of whom are broken and lost. Jenna is searching for answers to the disappearance of her mother, and seeks the help of a retired police detective and a psychic. Alice, Jenna’s mom, disappeared after a tragic accident at the elephant sanctuary, and her work with the elephants is fascinating and touching. The book is an ode to motherhood in all its forms–the good, bad and the ugly–and it is brilliant. — Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, TX



As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride by Cary Elwes with Joe Layden

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride


Even if you don’t have a crush on Cary Elwes, you’ll enjoy this vivid behind-the-scenes account of the making of The Princess Bride. His stories, especially those involving Andre the Giant, will leave you in stitches. Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Billy Crystal, and others also recount their experiences. An amusing account of a group of performers who came together to make a heartfelt film that is loved by many. — Emily Weiss, Bedford Public Library, Bedford, NH




Not My Father’s Son: A Memoir by Alan Cumming

Not My Father’s Son: A Memoir


This memoir focuses on Cumming’s reaction to being told that his father was not, in fact, his father. An appearance on the UK’s Who Do You Think You Are was meant to reveal the mystery behind what happened to Cumming’s maternal grandfather. Instead, his father’s admission leads Cumming to resolve long-held memories of verbal abuse. Cumming is extremely open, allowing readers to share in his pain and understand his relationships. — Tracy Babiasz, Alachua County Library District, Newberry, FL



Some Luck by Jane Smiley

Some Luck


Smiley’s latest is a love song to American farms and the people who keep them. This glorious and heartfelt novel chronicles the lives of an Iowan farm family over 30 years, beginning in 1920. Family members are born, grow, change, and die. Readers follow their triumphs and crushing losses and, along the way, learn about the evolution of farming and society in the United States. Definitely one of the best novels of 2014. — Laurie Van Court, Douglas County Libraries, Parker, CO




The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue

The Boy Who Drew Monsters


Emotionally scarred by a near-drowning experience, young Jack Keenan spends all his time indoors, fanatically preoccupied with drawing strange things. While Jack’s parents chalk his drawings up to the imagination, Nick, Jack’s only friend, notices mysterious things happen whenever Jack picks up a pencil. This detailed coming-of-age tale with a twist offers unique insights into boyhood friendships and the complexities of adult relationships. — Courtney Block, Charlestown Clark County Public Library, Charlestown, IN



The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens

The Life We Bury


In this well-crafted debut novel, Joe Talbert has finally left home, but not without guilt over leaving his autistic brother in the care of his unreliable mother. A college assignment gets the young man entangled in a cold case, racing to clear the name of a Vietnam veteran. Characters with layers of suppressed memories and emotions only add to the suspenseful plot. Looking forward to more from this Minnesotan author! — Paulette Brooks, Elm Grove Public Library, Elm Grove, WI




Reunion by Hannah Pittard



When Kate learns that her estranged father has committed suicide, she and her siblings travel to Atlanta to bury him and work out years of resentment. Life seems overwhelming to Kate as she battles with infidelity, divorce, and a massive debt. It’s only when she takes a good look at herself that she begins to heal the rift in her family. Unfolding like a saga, this short book packs a punch. — Elizabeth Kanouse, Denville Public Library, Denville, NJ




Malice by Keigo Higashino; translated by Alexander O. Smith



Detective Kaga is investigating the murder of best-selling author Kunihiko Hidaka. Hidaka’s wife and best friend both have rock-solid alibis, but Kaga discovers that the friendship might not have been what it seemed. A classic cat-and-mouse game with twists that keep the pages turning. — Vicki Nesting, St. Charles Parish Library, Destrehan, LA






Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver

Murder at the Brightwell


Lovers of Agatha Christie and Jacqueline Winspear will enjoy this elegant murder mystery set on holiday at the English seaside. What starts out as a lark, intended to make Amory Ames’s misbehaving-but-oh-so-delicious husband jealous, turns into a dangerous and deadly game of whodunit for Amory and her friends. Love, jealousy, and revenge are tangled together in this smart and sophisticated British mystery reminiscent of the genre’s golden age. — Vanessa Walstra, Kent District Library, East Grand Rapids, MI


Book Discussions at the Library October 2014

September 25, 2014 by Reader's Connection

Let’s begin with a quote from Lord Byron’s epic poem Don Juan. I’m sorry if his mention of partridges in the bag offends any vegans. Autumn is my favorite season, and my bag is full of wonderful October discussions.

The mellow autumn came, and with it came
aThe promised party to enjoy its sweets.
The corn is cut, the manor full of game,
aThe pointer ranges, and the sportsman beats
In russet jacket. Lynx-like is his aim,
aFull grows his bag and wonderful his feats.
Ah nutbrown partridges! Ah brilliant pheasants!
And ah ye poachers! ‘Tis no sport for peasants.

Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns will be discussed at the Warren Library on Thursday, October 2nd at 10:30 a.m.

A Thousand Splendid Suns

In his masterful follow-up to
The Kite Runner, [the author] takes readers back to Afghanistan, presenting events from that troubled country’s past–including the Soviet takeover and the rise of the Taliban–as they appear from the perspectives of two very different female characters. Mariam, the daughter of a cleaning woman and a businessman, was born out of wedlock. Married at the age of 15 to a man in his 40s, she experiences a loveless relationship. Laila, who lives with her accomplished, forward-thinking parents in Kabul, is favored by her father but spurned by her mother, who showers affection on her brothers. When Laila meets Tariq, a brave young man who was injured in an explosion, she falls in love for the first time. But the friction between the Communists and the mujahideen make day-to-day living in Kabul dangerous, and soon Tariq and his family move to Pakistan. After a horrifying series of events leads Laila to the home of Mariam and Rasheed, she must make a decision that will change her life forever. The two women develop a special relationship that could only arise in a country ruled by terror. Spanning 30 years of Afghanistan’s tumultuous history, this melancholy, beautifully conceived book reinforces Hosseini’s reputation as a first-class novelist. – BookPage

A Thousand Splendid Suns is also available as a downloadable e-book, a downloadable audiobook, an audiobook on CD and in large print.


The Shared Reading Group at Spades Park Library will meet on every October Friday–the 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th and yes, Halloween morning, the 31st–from 10:00 to 11:30 p.m.

CaneThis report just in from leader Anja Petrakopoulos: “It is very strange – next time we meet we will not be reading Nathaniel Hawthorne. We have finished The Scarlet Letter. I feel sad and elated at the same time, with a sense of unwilling separation and of closure – we’ve done it! I should remember with some relief that I will probably not have to pronounce “apothecary” or “ignominious” for some time. It is a relief to be free of “tremulous” (poor man!)”

She reports that in October there will be “a few weeks of random prose and poetry until we are ready to begin [Jean Toomer's] Cane.”



Treasury of Joy and Inspiration: 90 Years of Uplifting Storytelling



On Monday, October 6th, at 6:30 p.m., Franklin Road Library will host a discussion of Treasury of Joy and Inspiration: 90 Years of Uplifting Storytelling, from the editors of Reader’s Digest.







Allegra Goodman’s novel The Cookbook Collector will be discussed at the Wayne Library on Monday, October 6th at 6:30 p.m.

The Cookbook CollectorEmily is the classy and astute CEO of a San Francisco digital start-up about to go public in late 1999. Her lover, Jonathan, is launching his own tech company in Cambridge, and questions of trust and ambition are complicating marriage plans. Jessamine, Emily’s younger sister, is studying philosophy at Berkeley, volunteering with gutsy eco-activists determined to protect California’s redwoods, and working in a rare and used bookstore owned by control freak George, an early Microsoft millionaire. Goodman captures the fizz and folly of the boom and bust with wit and perspicuity, and brilliantly contrasts the cerebral seductiveness of the cyber realm with such sensuous obsessions as George’s gourmet cooking and Jess’ consuming fascination with the collection of invaluable old cookbooks George acquires under peculiar circumstances. The cookbooks harbor clues to a romantic mystery Jess stubbornly investigates, while encounters with two ebullient Hasidic rabbis induce increasingly disenchanted Emily to search for the truth about her and Jess’ late mother. From mysticism to algorithms, IPOs, and endangered trees and souls, Goodman spins a glimmering tale, spiked with hilarious banter, of ardent individualists, imperiled love, and incandescent interpretations of the mutability and timelessness of the human condition. — Booklist

The Cookbook Collector is also available as a downloadable e-book, a downloadable audiobook, an audiobook on CD, and in large print.


Stephanie Cowell’s Marrying Mozart will be discussed at Central Library on Tuesday, October 7th at 6:30 p.m.

Marrying MozartFormer opera singer Cowell . . . turns her eye to the women in the life of a young Mozart in her fourth graceful and entertaining historical. Music copyist Fridolin Weber and his socially ambitious wife, Marie Caecilia, have four daughters-bookish and devout Sophie; quiet Constanze; beautiful, silver-voiced Aloysia; and headstrong Josefa-whom they struggle to keep in hats and hose. Though the freethinking girls may wonder about the benefits of marrying well vs. marrying for love, Caecilia, whose family once had money, is terrified of growing old a pauper. Pinning her hopes on her prettiest daughter, 16-year-old Aloysia, Caecilia aims for a Swedish baron as suitor (though she keeps a list of backups in a notebook). Aloysia falls in love with the young Mozart, however, who happily returns her affections, though he, too, wonders about marrying better to support his father and beloved mother. But when the Webers move to Munich from Mannheim, Caecilia’s hopes for good matches begin to dim, as Josefa takes a married lover and a pregnant Aloysia runs away with a painter who, along with Mozart, had been boarding with the family. As Mozart progresses in his career, he has relationships with the other Weber sisters, too, and falls alternately in and out of favor with their bitter old mother. Told through the recollections of an aging Sophie, the tale is as rich and unhurried as 18th-century court life. — Publishers Weekly

Marrying Mozart is also available as a downloadable e-book.


Anthony Marra’s novel A Constellation of Vital Phenomena  will be discussed at the Fountain Square Library on Thursday, October 9th at 1:30 p.m.

A Constellation of Vital PhenomenaIn this extraordinary first novel, Marra homes in on a people and a region that barely register with most Americans and, in heartrending prose, makes us feel their every misfortune. In rural Chechnya, during the second war, a small group of people struggle to survive in the bleakest of circumstances. A gifted surgeon works tirelessly in a crumbling hospital, hardening her heart so that she can perform her gruesome work. An eight-year-old girl who has already seen too much is being hunted by the government ever since the night her father was abducted by Russian soldiers. An incompetent doctor who longed to be an artist paints portraits of 41 neighbors who were killed by government forces and hangs them in the doorways and trees of his ruined village . . . Marra collapses time, sliding between 1996 and 2004 while also detailing events in a future yet to arrive, giving his searing novel an eerie, prophetic aura. — Booklist

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is also available as a downloadable e-book and a downloadable audiobook.


On Thursday, October 9th, Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain will be discussed at the Irvington Library at 1:30 p.m.

The Art of Racing in the RainEnzo the dog feels sure that his next life will be spent in a man’s body. In preparation, he closely studies human behavior, and it’s from Enzo’s observant point of view that Stein writes his moving third novel. Enzo is deeply jealous when his owner, Denny, falls in love with Eve, but after baby Zoe is born, Enzo assumes his role as the family’s unconditional protector, particularly after Eve is diagnosed with brain cancer. After Eve’s death, her parents drag Denny into a bitter custody battle for Zoe, and Enzo, despite his canine limitations, passionately defends Denny and even alters the course of events. Denny is a race-car driver, and Enzo, who has watched countless televised races, folds thrilling track scenes and driving lessons into the terse family drama. The metaphors may feel purposeful, but readers will nonetheless delight in Enzo’s wild, original voice; his aching insights into the limitations and joys of the canine and human worlds; and his infinite capacity for love. — Booklist

The Art of Racing in the Rain is also available as a downloadable e-book, a downloadable audiobook, and an audiobook on CD.


Michele Andrea Bowen’s Pastor Needs a Boo will be discussed at the Flanner House Library on Monday, October 13th at 6:30 p.m.

Pastor Needs a BooMarsha Metcalf has hit rock bottom after being viciously fired by her grown-up mean girl of a boss. The desperate single mom turns to New Jerusalem Gospel United Church for support, a place where the sexy pastor Denzelle Flowers preaches each Sunday. Bowen’s latest inspirational work pulls readers behind the scenes at an African American mega-church, and there’s plenty going on. Pastor Denzelle decides to run for bishop but doesn’t realize haters are more than willing to sabotage the race. The nastiness starts with witchy Tatiana, who is Denzelle’s ex-wife, and continues with a group of corrupt preachers who don’t want church power to shift to a charismatic younger man. Does Marsha stand a chance for true love through all this drama? As the church folk say, “Make a way out of no-way.” — Library Journal


Kent Haruf’s novel Benediction will be discussed at the Pike Library on Monday, October 20th at 6:30 p.m.

BenedictionIn Holt, the fictional Colorado town where all of Haruf’s novels are set, longtime resident Dad Lewis is dying of cancer. Happily married (he calls his wife “his luck”), Dad spends his last weeks thinking over his life, particularly an incident that ended badly with a clerk in his store, and his relationship with his estranged son. As his wife and daughter care for him, life goes on: one of the Lewises’ neighbors takes in her young granddaughter; an elderly woman and her middle-aged daughter visit with the Lewises, with each other, and with the new minister, whose wife and son are unhappy about his transfer to Holt from Denver. Haruf isn’t interested in the trendy or urban; as he once said, he writes about “regular, ordinary, sort of elemental” characters, who speak simply and often don’t speak much at all. “Regular and ordinary” can equate with dull. However, though this is a quiet book, it’s not a boring one. Dad and his family and neighbors try, in small, believable ways, to make peace with those they live among, to understand a world that isn’t the one in which they came of age. Separately and together, all the characters are trying to live–and in Dad’s case, to die–with dignity, a struggle Haruf renders with delicacy and skill. — Publishers Weekly

Benediction is also available as a downloadable e-book, a downloadable audiobook, and an audiobook on CD.


Readers of the Nora Library book discussion group will join readers from the Jordan YMCA to discuss Donna Leon’s By its Cover on Monday, October 20th at 6:30 p.m.

Please call 275-4470 to register for this event.

By its CoverThink of Leon’s latest Guido Brunetti novel as a love letter to her fans, many of whom are librarians. The premise involves the theft and mutilation of rare books from a private research library, and much of the action takes place in the library itself, with Brunetti inhaling the aroma of aging parchment and fondly remembering his student days. Ah, but amid all this biblio-love, there is a real crime–not only the theft but also the murder of one of the library’s regular patrons. As usual, the focus rests with the people involved in and on the periphery of the case. Brunetti’s concern is always with individuals: how they come to do the things they do and what that says about them and about us. At one point, the police pathologist muses, “You know, Guido, at times I find it difficult to believe you do the work you do.” One might say the same of Leon: her books, despite employing the structure of traditional mysteries, are so very different from most crime novels, even those characterized as character-driven . . . sure [Leon] shows what a skilled interrogator her detective is, but between the lines, there is so much more: Brunetti’s remarkable sensitivity to other human beings, his ability not just to see what they are feeling but to share those feelings and to internalize their melancholy. Above all, Brunetti is a careful reader, of people, of places, of situations, and he never stops at surface meanings. — Booklist

By its Cover is also available in large print.


The Lawrence Library will host a discussion of Daniel Woodrell’s novel The Maid’s Version on Tuesday, October 21st at 10:15 a.m.

The Maid's VersionThis brief novel, set in the small Missouri town of West Table, centers on the mysterious 1929 explosion and fire at the Arbor Dance Hall and its effects on a local family across three generations. Among the 43 people killed was Alma DeGeer Dunahew’s younger sister Ruby DeGeer. Forever after haunted by the incident, Alma, a maid for one of the town’s wealthiest families, is nearly driven crazy by her belief that the tragedy was a criminal act–the result of a scandalous love affair between her sister and her employer. Years later, when Alma’s grandson Alek is sent to spend part of a summer with his eccentric grandmother, he begins to learn of the town’s secret history and of his family’s role. Drawing on real-life events that rocked his hometown and his family, Woodrell returns nearly a decade after his celebrated
Winter’s Bone with a story that feels less of a different time and more timeless–a stark, haunting tale of almost mythic power and sweep. — Library Journal

The Maid’s Version is also available as a downloadable e-book.


María Dueñas’s novel The Time In Between will be discussed at the Spades Park Library on Wednesday, October 22nd at 6:00 p.m.

The Time In BetweenDueñas’s wonderful debut (a runaway bestseller in her native Spain) opens during the mid-1930s as Spain is on the brink of civil war and young Sira Quiroga is preparing a simple wedding in Madrid, where she lives. Sira’s plans are thrown off track when she meets Ramiro Arribas, the cunning older manager of a typewriter shop who convinces her to embark on an exotic life in Morocco. The future that he envisions for her differs from what he imagines for himself, however, and he abandons Sira after pilfering her inheritance and leaving her saddled with debt. Newly adrift, Sira travels to northern Morocco, where she is reluctantly taken in by Candeleria, a disreputable woman known for housing dispossessed souls. In Candeleria’s care, Sira returns to her roots as a dressmaker’s apprentice . . .As WWII looms, an influential client implores Sira to make a dangerous return to Madrid and set up shop there, adding another level of difficulty and peril to her journey. This thrilling debut is marked by immaculate prose and a driving narrative, establishing Dueñas as a writer to watch. — Publishers Weekly

The Time in Between is also available as an audiobook on CD.








Portal, the Indianapolis Science Fiction and Fantasy Discussion Group, will meet at the Glendale Library on Sunday, October 26th from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

The theme for October is -”Wicked” or Not: Witches – Good, Bad and in Between.


The Kitchen House, a novel by Kathleen Grissom, will be discussed at the Southport Library on Monday, October 27th at 6:30 p.m.

The Kitchen HouseGrissom’s unsentimental debut twists the conventions of the antebellum novel . . . Lavinia, an orphaned seven-year-old white indentured servant, arrives in 1791 to work in the kitchen house at Tall Oaks, a Tidewater, Va., tobacco plantation owned by Capt. James Pyke. Belle, the captain’s illegitimate half-white daughter who runs the kitchen house, shares narration duties, and the two distinctly different voices chronicle a troublesome 20 years: Lavinia becomes close to the slaves working the kitchen house, but she can’t fully fit in because of her race. At 17, she marries Marshall, the captain’s brutish son turned inept plantation master, and as Lavinia ingratiates herself into the family and the big house, racial tensions boil over into lynching, rape, arson, and murder. The plantation’s social order’s emphasis on violence, love, power, and corruption provides a trove of tension and grit, while the many nefarious doings will keep readers hooked to the twisted, yet hopeful, conclusion. — Publishers Weekly

The Kitchen House is also available as a downloadable e-book, a downloadable audiobook and an audiobook on CD.


Will James H. Madison deliver his Indy Author Evening talk from a 1958 Studebaker Silver Hawk?

September 22, 2014 by Reader's Connection

Probably not. His program, on Tuesday, October 14th at 6:00 p.m., will take place in in the Nina Mason Pulliam Special Collections Room on the sixth floor of Central Library, and the Silver Hawk won’t make it in the door.

But click on the picture, and you can see a YouTubed Madison at the wheel of this Hoosier vehicle, and at various Indiana locations, talking about his new book Hoosiers : A New History of Indiana; and he’ll be discussing that book, and signing copies, when he visits Central.

Hoosiers : A New History of Indiana

Madison mentioned Hoosiers during the 2013 Meet the Authors program–he was the Regional Author winner of the Indiana Authors Award last year–and I wondered about the title. I figured this was a 2nd edition of Madison’s 1986 book The Indiana Way: A State History; and I didn’t know why its name had changed. But as my fellow Pennsylvanian-turned-Hoosier explains on the YouTube: Indiana has changed, and scholarship has changed, and the author’s perspective has in some ways changed. He’s telling new stories.

All three Indy Author Evenings will happen there on the sixth floor of Central Library, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. Book signings will follow each event.

Tuesday, October 14th – James H. Madison
Monday, October 20th – David Hoppe and Douglas Wissing
Wednesday, October 22nd – Michael Martone, Barb Shoup, Ray Boomhower, and Greg Shwipps.



Managing Depression

September 18, 2014 by Reader's Connection

With Robin Williams’s recent passing, articles and news stories covering depression and treatment have increased. Here is a selection of IndyPL material available to help patrons who want to learn more about this condition.

Recent Titles

Exercise for Mood and Anxiety (2011) — Otto, Michael

Exercise for Mood and AnxietyWith Exercise for Mood and Anxiety, Michael Otto and Jasper Smits, well-known authorities on cognitive behavioral therapy, take their empirically-based mood regulation strategy from the clinic to the general public. Written for those with diagnosed mood disorders as well as those who simply need a new strategy for managing the low mood and stress that is an everyday part of life, this book provides readers with step-by-step guidance on how to start and maintain an exercise program geared towards improving mood, with a particular emphasis on understanding the relationship between mood and motivation. Readers learn to attend carefully to mood states prior to and following physical activity in order to leverage the full benefits of exercise, and that the trick to maintaining an exercise program is not in applying more effort, but in arranging one’s environment so that less effort is needed. As a result readers not only acquire effective strategies for adopting a successful program, but are introduced to a broader philosophy for enhancing overall well-being. Providing patient vignettes, rich examples, and extensive step-by-step guidance on overcoming the obstacles that prevent adoption of regular exercise for mood, Exercise for Mood and Anxiety is a unique translation of scientific principles of clinical and social psychology into an action-based strategy for mood change. — Publisher’s note



Depression (2011) — Wasserman, Danuta (When this book is received, its title will probably become Depression: The Facts.)

Written and laid out in a simple-to-read fashion, the book avoids medical terminology and statistics. Intended primarily for laypersons, the book provides concise but simple to understand information about depression. It draws on the knowledge gained from biological and psychosocial research as well as the extensive clinical experience of the author. – Doody’s Review



Depression: A Guide for the Newly Diagnosed (2012) by Lee H. Coleman

Depression: A Guide for the Newly DiagnosedAt a little over 150 pages, this book is not meant to be an extensive compendium regarding depression treatment. As the title suggests, it is sort of a beginner’s guide to dealing with depression. For those who have already been in treatment for a significant amount of time, this book probably will not offer much new information. For individuals who have just been diagnosed (or who feel that they may be suffering from depression), however, this book offers a wealth of information. Also, for anyone who may suspect that they are suffering from depression, this book will serve as a guide on how to go about finding treatment. — Click here for the whole PsychCentral review.

Depression : A Guide for the Newly Diagnosed is also available as a downloadable e-book.


Managing Your Depression: What You Can Do to Feel Better (2013) — Susan J. Noonan

Managing Your Depression: What You Can Do to Feel Better
This practical and compassionate handbook is perfectly suited to individuals living with depression: in accessible language, it offers firm, specific advice and quick cognitive tests and self-assessment metrics that even those in the deepest of doldrums will find helpful and relevant. — Publishers Weekly 

Managing Your Depression is also available as a downloadable e-book.





Winter Blues Survival Guide: A Workbook for Overcoming SAD (2014) — Norman E. Rosenthal

Winter Blues Survival Guide: A Workbook for Overcoming SAD

What makes this book stand out above the rest on the subject is its easy-to-follow structure. Because Rosenthal has broken down each aspect of the disorder, you can easily follow the path to recovery no matter your current level of intensity. Whether your symptoms include fatigue, increased appetite, depression, reduced sex drive, difficulty waking, or a combination, the book can help you find a clear and practical set of strategies for overcoming them. — PsychCentral



When Life Goes Dark: Finding Hope in the Midst of Depression


When Life Goes Dark: Finding Hope in the Midst of Depression (2012) — Richard Winter

This book is a helpful guide for those who find themselves, their loved ones or those they counsel vulnerable to depression. Find here a framework both for understanding depression and for rediscovering hope. — InterVarsity Press





Spontaneous Happiness — (2011) Andrew Weil

Spontaneous Happiness


Weil’s enormously successful blend of mainstream and alternative therapies has earned him the reputation as guru of integrative medicine. — Publishers Weekly

Spontaneous Happiness is also available as a downloadable audiobook, an audiobook on CD, a downloadable e-book and in large print.





Total Recovery: Solving the Mystery of Chronic Pain and Depression (2014) — Gary Kaplan

Total Recovery: Solving the Mystery of Chronic Pain and DepressionAbout 100 million Americans live with some form of chronic pain; more than the combined number who suffer from diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. But chronic pain has always been a mystery. It often returns at the slightest provocation, even when doctors cant find anything wrong. Oddly enough, whether the pain is physical or emotional, traumatic or slight, our brains register all pain as the same thing, and these signals can keep firing in the nervous system for months, even years.In Total Recovery, Dr. Gary Kaplan argues that weve been thinking about disease all wrong. Drawing on dramatic patient stories and cutting-edge research, the book reveals that chronic physical and emotional pain are two sides of the same coin. New discoveries show that disease is not the result of a single event but an accumulation of traumas. Every injury, every infection, every toxin, and every emotional blow generates the same reaction: inflammation, activated by tiny cells in the brain, called microglia. Turned on too often from too many assaults, it can have a devastating cumulative effect.Conventional treatment for these conditions is focused on symptoms, not causes, and can leave patients locked into a lifetime of pain and suffering. Dr. Kaplans unified theory of chronic pain and depression helps us understand not only the cause of these conditions but also the issues we must address to create a pathway to healing. With this revolutionary new framework in place, we have been given the keys to recover. — Publisher’s note

Total Recovery is also available as an audiobook on CD and a downloadable audiobook.


Back From the Brink: True Stories and Practical Help for Overcoming Depression and Bipolar Disorder (2014) — Graeme Cowan

Back From the Brink: True Stories and Practical Help for Overcoming Depression and Bipolar Disorder


For those searching for evidence of recovery from mental and addictive disorders – including those affected, their families and friends, and professionals serving them – you have them in Back From the Brink. Thanks to Graeme Cowan for giving us these stories. — Psychology Today 

Back From the Brink is also available as a downloadable e-book.




Defeating Depression: The Calm and Sense Way to Find Happiness and Satisfaction (2011) — Leo J. Battenhausen

Defeating Depression: The Calm and Sense Way to Find Happiness and SatisfactionBattenhausen’s book would make a welcome addition to psychology classes or any self-help book collection. Fans of Oprah’s favorite self-help authors like Iyanla Vanzant or Dr. Phil will enjoy this book. The combination of his no-nonsense advice with his concrete steps for action make Defeating Depression a self-help book that make readers not only feel better, but take control of their lives. Leo Battenhausen is a counselor that gives advice that readers should listen to and seek out for help in their lives through this text. Defeating Depression is a self-help book that guides readers on a rewarding journey to become their best selves. —

Defeating Depression is also available as a downloadable e-book.


Dealing With Depression: Understanding and Overcoming the Symptoms of Depression (2010) — Caroline Shreeve

Dealing With Depression: Understanding and Overcoming the Symptoms of Depression

This book describes how to recognize the symptoms of depression, and discusses the physical and psychological causes of depression. It also helps readers learn how to arm themselves against depression, with a highly effective, personalized self-help program. It explains what depression really is, and why it strikes, and tells how an estimated one in four adults is affected at some time in their lives. I recommend this book because it not only informs the reader of depression in interesting details, but also informs about techniques for coping and relaxing, and how counseling and psychotherapy can help. The author Dr. Caroline Shreeve, is a respected expert who provides advice for families, work colleagues, and much more. — A Bibliography on Depression 


Out of the Blue: Six Non-Medication Ways to Relieve Depression (2014) — Bill O’Hanlon

Out of the Blue: Six Non-Medication Ways to Relieve Depression


O’Hanlon does an excellent job of aggregating extensive research with stories from his own life, his teachers and clients, and those well-known figures who have been depressed and survived and thrived. He somehow manages to take all that data, both qualitative and quantitative, and put it together in an easy-to-understand and engaging read that gives clinicians very useful tools. — PsychCentral




My Depression: A Picture Book (2014)

My Depression: A Picture Book

This intimate journey through long-term depression is by turns tender, funny, poignant, and uplifting. Swados’ charming words and frenzied drawings bring home the experience of severe depression, from the black cloud forming on the horizon to feelings of self-loathing and loss of self-confidence; from contemplating suicide, which Swados describes as wandering off into the Sahara desert (discounting the buzzards and the scorpions), to actively seeking out methods for fighting depression—including psychics, diet, and repression therapy—to experimenting with antidepressants that make you snippy, sleepy, or judgmental. My Depression is an engaging and heartening memoir of an illness that has been stigmatized for too long and on how it is possible to survive, one little challenge at a time, with medication and the occasional tasty, messy slice of pizza; with dancing to a boombox on the street and thanking the mailman for the newest catalogue, then proceeding to read it cover to cover! — Publisher’s note

My Depression: A Picture Book is also available as a downloadable e-book.



An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness (1995) — Kay Redfield Jamison

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

In An Unquiet Mind, psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison has written an extraordinary account of her experience with manic-depression (the term she prefers to bipolar disorder). For more than three decades, Dr. Jamison has lived with this “quicksilver” illness, with its mercurial moods, and with its “peculiar kind of pain, elation, loneliness, and terror.” No reader will be untouched by her memoir, which is inarguably one of the most powerful, insightful, and eloquent depictions of life with this illness. — National Alliance on Mental Illness

An Unquiet Mind is also available as a downloadable e-book.


Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness (1990) — William Stryon

Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness

William Styron’s Darkness Visible, a terse, dead-serious account of his own bout with suicidal depression in the mid-1980s, shocks us back to reality. There is nothing picturesque about the debilitating mind-storm Styron describes in this intense 84-page book. Depression, he reminds us, is a dreadful illness ”which can be as serious a medical affair as diabetes or cancer.” It can be treated, but as with diabetes and cancer, a cure is problematic. For many depressives — Styron lists ”a sad but scintillant roll call” of artists that includes Hart Crane, Primo Levi, Van Gogh, Virginia Woolf, John Berryman, Jack London, Ernest Hemingway, and Diane Arbus — the only solution is self-destruction. In his usual ornate and eloquent prose but with an understandable mutedness, he tells us how close he came to that alternative, and how, with the sometimes dubious aid of drugs and psychotherapy, he managed to step back from the brink. — Entertainment Weekly 

Darkness Visible is also available as a downloadable e-book.


Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy (2000) — David D. Burns

Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy

Summary: Many of our members suffer from depression from years of being in an invalidating home environment. Feeling Good is the book most frequently “prescribed” by psychologists for patients undergoing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Clinical studies have shown patient improvement by just reading the book – a treatment known as bibliotherapy. Four (4) million copies have been sold in the United States. — Facing the Facts 

Feeling Good is also available as a downloadable e-book.



The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression (2001) — Andrew Solomon

The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of DepressionAs Andrew Solomon suggests in this exhaustively researched, provocative and often deeply moving survey of depression, depression is ”usually the consequence of a genetic vulnerability activated by external stress.” For Solomon, for whom depression has been far more than an academic subject, the most useful vocabulary is often metaphorical: depression is a tree choked and smothered by a parasitic vine, yielding only ”a few desperate little budding sticks of oak”; depression is ”like feeling your clothing slowly turning into wood on your body”; it’s ”like trying to watch TV through terrible static”; ”like going blind”; ”like going deaf.” In Emily Dickinson’s yet more eloquent words, depression is ”a funeral in the brain.” Yet paradoxically, and here is where the foreignness of mental illness is most pointed, those afflicted with depression are often ambivalent about it, as no one is ambivalent about physical illness. — The New York Times

The Noonday Demon is also available as a downloadable e-book and a downloadable audiobook.


When Bad Things Happen to Good People (1981, other editions since) — Harold S. Kushner

When Bad Things Happen to Good People


This classic work challenges us to make meaning out of suffering and loss. — Spirituality & Practice


When Bad Things Happen to Good People is also available as a downloadable e-book, a downloadable audiobook and an audiobook on CD.




What to Do When Someone You Love is Depressed (1996, other editions since) — Mitch Golant

What to Do When Someone You Love is Depressed

Mitch and Susan K. Golant’s What to Do When Someone You Love is Depressed is excellent for families who are newly dealing with loved ones with clinical depression. The Golants also provide insight into the “blues,” which are distinguished from clinical depression. This book can answer many of the questions asked by families in the moments of distress as they first watch their loved one struggle with depression. — National Alliance on Mental Illness

What to Do When Someone You Love is Depressed is also available as a downloadable e-book.


The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression (2012 edition) — William Knaus

The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression

William Knaus has been a leading practitioner and teacher of cognitive behavior therapy for over four decades. In The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression, he draws from his vast store of experience to provide people who struggle with depression practical, usable strategies they can put to immediate use to not only feel better, but to get better. Written in an engaging, accessible manner, the book is chock full of powerful tools that, when compiled into a personal action plan, can both defeat depression and build a happy, productive life. I think this is a substantial book anyone, not just the depressive, will find valuable, and I highly endorse it for both the lay public and the clinical community alike. I know that I will keep it handy for my own personal reference and repeatedly encourage my clients to purchase it. — Russell Grieger, PhD, clinical psychologist

The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression is also available as a downloadable e-book.

The Depression Cure: the 6-Step Program to Beat Depression Without Drugs (2009) — Stephen IlardiThe Depression Cure: the 6-Step Program to Beat Depression Without DrugsIn his book, author Stephen Ilardi argues that the rate of depression among Americans is roughly ten times higher today than it was just two generations ago, and he points the blame to our modern life-style. Everything is so much easier today than it was back when we had to hunt and gather. Why doesn’t the convenience translate into happiness? — PsychCentralThe Depression Cure is also available as an audiobook on CD.

Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn’t Teach You and Medication Can’t Give you (2010 edition) — Richard O’Connor

Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn't Teach You and Medication Can't Give you

Despite therapy, medication, and support from loved ones, the major reason people with depression stay depressed is that they don’t know how else to be. They know how to do depression; they are experts at it. In a futile effort to save themselves from pain, they have learned habits that feel normal and natural, like part of the self. But these emotional habits backfire; instead of reducing pain, they just perpetuate depression. This book, by a psychotherapist who has personally struggled with–and overcome–depression himself, teaches you how to unlearn the “skills of depression” and replace them with healthier, more adaptive ways of being. — Publisher’s note

Undoing Depression is also available as a downloadable e-book and an audiobook on CD.


The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness (2007) — Mark Williams et al.

The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic UnhappinessThe original authors joined forces with Kabat-Zinn to produce The Mindful Way through Depression (MWD), which serves this purpose well. The book is divided into four sections. The first gives a clear account of depression, how it is perpetuated, and how mindfulness can help to break the cycle. Part two introduces mindfulness practices, especially those focusing on the breath. There is an emphasis on the acceptance of mental distractions – or ‘mind waves’ as they are referred to – as natural and inevitable. Moreover, distractions are presented as ideal learning opportunities; when one is caught up in something, one can learn how to disengage, and so become more familiar with the experience of not being caught up. This section also teaches how mindfulness can offer an alternative to unhelpful rumination, which plays a key part in exacerbating depression. — Western Buddhist Review

The Mindful Way through Depression is also available as a downloadable audiobook and an audiobook on CD.


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Did you know there was a spike in the spiritualist business around the time of Princess Di’s death?

September 15, 2014 by Reader's Connection

Next Life Might Be KinderHere we have two novels featuring characters who communicate, on a regular basis, with the dead. Howard Norman’s new novel Next Life Might Be Kinder is an easier story to track, because there’s only one dead person involved, Elizabeth Church, and only one living correspondent, her widowered husband Sam Lattimore.

Elizabeth was murdered by a bellman in their hotel, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Sam moved to a cottage in Port Medway, and he sees Elizabeth almost every night. She lines up 11 books on the beach. (A librarian’s afterlife? No.) Sam’s therapist tries to tell him that this isn’t really happening; and one couple, friends of his, can look out their window and see him talking down on the beach; but they say nothing about it, at least for a while.

Sam made a bunch of money by selling a Norwegian filmmaker the right to film the story of Elizabeth’s murder, and now he’s infuriated that the filming is going on. He isn’t cooperating. This rich, dark story jumps back and forth between Sam’s time with the living Elizabeth and his time with the Elizabeth on the beach.


Beyond Black

Wait a minute. I shouldn’t throw that word dark around so casually, since my other communicant is the British Alison Hart, in Hilary Mantel’s 2005 novel Beyond Black. Alison talks with all sorts of dead people. She does it for a living. She began seeing the dead during her dreadful childhood, when her mom was pimping her out. Her “spirit guide” is a loathsome, boring little dead guy named Morris, who talks with his loathsome, boring dead pals about pickled eggs and mutton pies and other foods you can’t get anymore. And they laugh about loathsome things they’ve done. Spirit guide?

Alison does individual consults, but she also goes to spirit fayres, and readers get the impression that she’s the most authentic of the individuals (mostly women) pursuing this line of work. She acquires a business manager named Colette, from whose point of view parts of the story are told. Colette tries to get Alison to make some changes in her life, and they even move into a new house, which can’t be haunted because no one has lived there. Alison is firmly planted, though, in some ring or another of Dante’s hell; and there are problems even in this spanking-new home.

At the center of Next Life Might Be Kinder is Sam Lattimore’s love for his murdered Elizabeth and his rapturous memories of their life together. Nothing of the sort exists for Alison. The darkness in Beyond Black is unrelieved. The book is acidly funny, and gives me an idea of what I missed when I didn’t go “caving” in my Bloomington days; so I’m grateful to have read it. But you’ve been warned.