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Recent Readings

Book review: Darwinia
Reviewed: Friday, August 11, 2006

Summer reading: Spin
Reviewed: Saturday, August 5, 2006

Reviewed: Tuesday, July 18, 2006

the Omnivoire's Delimma
Reviewed: Wednesday, July 12, 2006

the Golem's Eye
Reviewed: Wednesday, May 31, 2006


An Unquiet Mind : A Memoir of Moods and Madness
Saturday, January 15, 2005

Psychiatrist, author, teacher, MacArthur Fellow and much more, Kay Jamison describes the life of the manic-depressive in writing that is lyrical, deeply moving and often profound. Jamison suffers from manic-depressive or bipolar disorder and her careful chronicle of the joyful passions, bewildering madness and numbing crashes of the disease is both personal and clinical.

There is a particular kind of pain, elation, loneliness, and terror involved in this kind of madness. When you're high it's tremendous. The ideas and feelings are fast and frequent like shooting stars, and you follow them until you find better and brighter ones... But, somewhere, this changes. The fast ideas are far too fast, and there are far too many; overwhelming confusion replaces clarity. Memory goes. Humor and absorption on friends' faces are replaced by fear and concern. Everything previously moving with the grain is now against - you are irritable, angry, frightened, uncontrollable, and enmeshed totally in the blackest caves of the mind., You never knew those caves were there. It will never end, for madness carves its own reality.

She has "... become fundamentally and deeply skeptical that anyone who does not have this illness can truly understand it" but her books provide at least partial pictures for those who can make the effort.

Mental illness remains a pervasive stigma in our society. Those who suffer from it are a legion of the unannounced and, far too often, the unhelped. Books like this need to be read by more people so that we can continue to expand our compassion for those different from ourselves (be it race, or gender, or nationality, or religion, or brain disfunction).


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Copyright -- Gary Warren King, 2004 - 2006