Books and Writing

5 Great Books About Mental Health (#2)

More mental health, woohoo! At some point I’d like to write a little more frankly about my own experiences, but for now here’s another batch of good books, particularly some wonderful YA and a bit of a trend of dealing with grief.

I think it’s important to talk about grief when we talk about mental health. Even though I wouldn’t qualify it as a mental illness unto itself, the grieving process often includes things like depression and PTSD, and the ways of managing grief and taking care of yourself when you’re grieving are similar to coping with mental illness and performing self care.

Without further ado, here are the books I’ve chosen for this batch of mental health-related literary adventures.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by: Jonathan Safran Foer


Blurb: “Nine-year-old Oskar Schell has embarked on an urgent, secret mission that will take him through the five Burroughs of New York. His goal is to find the lock that matches a mysterious key that belonged to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11. This seemingly impossible task will bring Oskar into contact with survivors of all sorts on an exhilarating, affecting, often hilarious, and ultimately healing journey.”

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by: Jenny Lawson


Blurb: “When Jenny Lawson was little, all she ever wanted was to fit in. That dream was cut short by her fantastically unbalanced father and a morbidly eccentric childhood. It did, however, open up an opportunity for Lawson to find the humor in the strange shame-spiral that is her life, and we are all the better for it. In the irreverent Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson’s long-suffering husband and sweet daughter help her uncover the surprising discovery that the most terribly human moments – the ones we want to pretend never happened – are the very same moments that make us the people we are today.  For every intellectual misfit who thought they were the only ones to think the things that Lawson dares to say out loud, this is a poignant and hysterical look at the dark, disturbing, yet wonderful moments of our lives.”

Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by: Benjamin Alire Saenz


Blurb: “Dante can swim. Ari can’t. Dante is articulate and self-assured. Ari has a hard time with words and suffers from self-doubt. Dante gets lost in poetry and art. Ari gets lost in thoughts of his older brother who is in prison. Dante is fair-skinned. Ari’s features are much darker. It seems that a boy like Dante, with his open and unique perspective on life, would be the last person to break down the walls that Ari has build around himself. But against all odds, when Ari and Dante meet, they develop a special bond that will teach them the most important truths of their lives, and help define the people they want to be. But there are big hurdles in their way, and only by believing in each other – and the power of their friendship – can Ari and Dante emerge stronger on the other side.”

Thirteen Reasons Why by: Jay Asher


Blurb: “You can’t stop the future. You can’t rewind the past. The only way to learn the secret….is to press play. Clay Jensen doesn’t want anything to do with the tapes Hannah Baker made. Hanna is dead. Her secrets should be buried with her. Then Hannah’s voice tells Clay that his name is on the tapes – and that he is, in some way, responsible for her death. All through the night, Clay keeps listening. He follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his small town…and what he discovers changes his life forever.”

Wave by: Sonali Deraniyagala


Blurb: “In 2004, at a beach resort on the coast of Sri Lanka, Sonali Deraniyagala and her family – parents, husband, sons – were swept away by a tsunami. Only Sonali survived to tell their tale. This is her account of the nearly incomprehensible event and its aftermath.”

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