Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Recommendations for the Day

I'm going to give a little shout out for Bipolar Disorder to increase awareness in this world so ill-informed. For those ignorant and those informed, I highly recommend An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison. Click HERE. She is accomplished and considered an authority on the subject and well respected in the academic community. Jamison herself has Bipolar Disorder and as the title states, the book is a memoir of her experiences. This book is very appropriate for a casual, informative, entertaining read. I recommend it to many people often. By reading this book the reader will gain somewhat of an understanding of what the disorder truly is and is not. Read it!

The second book I'd like to recommend is also by the same author but is vastly different in style. During her time writing Touched with Fire, Jamison was a professor of psychiatry at John Hopkins University School of Medicine. Touched with Fire includes researched genetic lines of many famous writers, artists, and composers with probable Cyclothymia, Major Depression, or Manic-Depressive Illness (Bipolar Disorder). She includes selections of writing and prose from her subjects of research. I enjoyed the deep connections I found, and to a certain degree, understood what the writers felt. It was a bit haunting to read with a perspective similar (in a way) to their own. I also found the genetics fascinating. I found a link for the book. Click HERE. It's a Google thing and you can read through a ton of it for free.

I hate websites that sport famous people (with no credible documentation), claiming the individuals have some extreme disorder. I hesitate to add such sensationalism to my own page, but as a general rule, stating big names grabs attention and I hope that this tactic might suck you, the hesitant reader, into further interest. The final deciding reason I let myself post the below names is that the research on the individuals is in depth and credible, not some sensationalized list from a subpar website. I left out the information included with the individuals' names (If a person was placed in an asylum or psychiatric hospital, committed suicide, or attempted suicide). You'll have to read the book to find out what happened to who. So without further ado, I give you some of the well-known names contained in the book:

Robert Burns, Victor Hugo, T.S. Elliot, Randall Jerrell, Edgar Allan Poe, Ezra Pound, Theodore Roethke, Anne Sexton, Walt Whitman, and Alfred, Lord Tennison

Hans Christian Anderson, James Barrie, Charles Dickens, Ralph Waldo Emerson, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Kenneth Graham, Ernest Hemingway, Herman Melville, Mary Shelley, Robert Louis Stevenson, Leo Tolstoy, and Virginia Woolf

Hector Berlioz, George Frideric Handel, Modest Mussorgsky, Sergey Rachmaninoff, Robert Schumann, Peter Tchaikovsky, and Irving Berlin

Paul Gauguin, Hugo van der Goes, Vincent van Gogh, Michelangelo Adolphe Monticelli, Edvard Munch, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Jackson Pollock

SO to sum it up, if you read one out of the two, read An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness, the first suggested one. I give it 5 solid stars and two firm thumbs up. If you've heard the term or, heaven forbid, used the term "she/he is so bipolar", the speaker (hopefully not you) most likely had no idea what tripped out of his/her/hopefully not your mouth. As a forewarning, the book is a bit graphic at times, so if you don't want to read a PG-13, don't read it, but do. Cast off your ignorance! Read!

1 comment:

  1. I think I will read that first one. I had no idea Hans Christian Anderson had this disorder. I love his work!