As I brought up in my last post, I always get a big kick out of reading about other writers’ lives, especially when their books discuss their mood disorders. While none of the books listed here have become ginormous bestsellers like Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison’s An Unquiet Mind, they still have their place on my bookshelf. I simply like reading about regular people (preferably moms like me, without a multitude of degrees) and how they have dealt with the bipolar blow. Plus take a look at the book costs – the prices are certainly right! $3.99 on Kindle (I still can’t believe how low book prices have gotten, and of course there are many books that are now free.)
I’ll admit that I Am Laurie: How Bipolar Disorder Altered My Life by Laurie Johnson caught my eye because it has a beautiful, well-designed cover. Then I read its promotional blurb and I was curious:
“I realized after my diagnosis four years ago that having bipolar disorder does not define who I am as a person. For close to three decades, I battled an unknown adversary, believing I was just sinning because I wasn’t choosing happiness. The story is composed of trials from my life, including a turbulent relationship; hopelessness and thoughts of suicide; the abandonment of my Olympic dream; the death of a son in my arms from a genetic disorder; the early end to my teaching career; and the suicide of my nephew. I can now see how my undiagnosed bipolar disorder affected my decision-making ability, my relationships, my joy, and the goals I once had for my life. It is a story of triumph in the face of adversity, one that tells how God has given me a meaningful life even though things haven’t turned out how I originally envisioned.”
Now, I am not religious, and books heavy with the concept of God usually don’t appeal to me, but Johnson’s mention of God did not stop me in purchasing her book and finding it a worthwhile, inspiring read. As I suggest with any Kindle book, download the sample and if it holds your interest, go for it! $12.99 on Kindle (A bit pricey, but worth it!)
I love Wambui Bahati’s writing! She has lived an exciting life which is depicted in the Amazon nutshell promotional blurb for her book You Don’t Know Crazy:
“From Broadway star to mental patient, Bahati’s struggle with mental illness is the underlying and recurring theme in her life until the day she walked away from the mental health system and became her own doctor and healer. Wambui shares how mental illness stole her life and how she took it back and re-invented herself.”
This is the kind of book that I want to re-read over the years. Wambui incorporates humor throughout her memoir and also discusses the tools that got her quality of life back. After I read the following promotional piece, I pressed the little “purchase” button immediately:
“For the past 10 years she has researched, studied and explored various ‘quality of life’ altering strategies. Her mission was to find out how to have a life of joy, peace and fabulous health – the best life possible!”
That’s what I want, and any book that can realistically point me in the right direction and inspire me is going straight to my Kindle to join Wambui’s memoir.
$2.99 on Kindle – what a steal!
Wendy K. Williamson’s bestseller I’m Not Crazy Just Bipolar passed my “cool cover test”. I liked its artful design, provocative title and creative font. Wendy’s book, which was self-published, has received a ton of Amazon five-star reviews. In fact, this book has earned many more top reviews than other famous bipolar books published by large publishers have received. Here is the Amazon description:
“Just as a photographer might shoot a photo through a colored lens, Wendy Williamson skillfully holds up the filter of mania and depression for her reader to peer through. With heart-wrenching honesty and humor, she shows the effects of bipolar disorder on the mind, body and soul of those who suffer from it. Despite Wendy’s struggles, this is a not a book that brings the reader down, rather a road map for wellness and a vastly informative, yet entertaining, guided tour of bipolar disorder for those who don’t understand it. With her perceptive self-awareness, the author is equal parts comedienne and educator, and she tells the unbelievable highs and lows of her story with a clear, grounded candor.”
This is another book I will read again in the future. For less than a price of a medium-sized coffee you will own a book that is hard to put down, useful and compelling. Wendy’s second book 66 Tips From Two Bipolar Chicks will be published in May (see below for the cute logo & a little more information) and as soon as I can pre-order it on Amazon, I will. $4.99 on Kindle
Rahla Xenopulous’ A Memoir Of Love and Madness is beautifully written. I read it a long time ago, so I don’t remember details (which means I can re-read it again and it will read like a brand-new book!) but I do recall that it moved me. Here is the capsule description:
“In 1992, Rahla Xenopoulos was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Despite the devastating diagnosis, she sought education on her affliction. Although she found an abundance of literature on various mental illnesses, none of it seemed applicable to her. This situation inspired her to write a book chronicling her ongoing efforts to come to terms with a disease that is, in effect, a life sentence. The book recounts her upbringing in an eccentric, loving Jewish family, her struggle with bulimia, anorexia and self-mutilation, her attempts at suicide, finding true love and, finally, the ‘crazy, utterly unpredictable experience of giving birth to triplets’. This is neither a self-help book nor a medical guide. Reading this book will not cure anyone; bipolar disorder is a chronic illness. But it did help Rahla – as it will countless others – to understand the rhythm in the cacophony of this condition’.”
I do remember that Rahla’s writing was lyrical and my interest was kept up throughout her book. She is an accomplished writer and has published short stories in Glamour and O magazines. Her story, ‘Child, Hold My Hand’, was chosen as one of O Magazine’s top 10 stories of 2008.
Next on my purchase list are two books that will be published this spring. The first is by Dr. Ruth C. White, whose first book, Bipolar 101, was co-written by bipolar expert Dr. John D. Preston. Dr. White’s upcoming book is the only one I’ve located that focuses 100% on how to prevent bipolar relapse. It’s exactly the kind of book I’m looking for, and I was so excited when I spotted it on Amazon that I researched Dr. White. She’s incredibly accomplished and blogs for various acclaimed organizations. She presents seminars, teaches, and is a coach as well. Her writing is strong, opinionated, and witty. She’s one smart, incredibly accomplished writer. I rarely pre-purchase books, but I have already ordered this one. Dr. White’s website is http://www.ruthcwhite.com
I suggest “liking” the Two Bipolar Chicks Facebook page for information on their upcoming book 66 Tips From Two Bipolar Chicks to be published by Post Hill Press. (www.posthillpress.com)
The publisher’s blurb reads,
“Williamson is joined by Honora Rose who also is also bipolar. They put their minds together to brainstorm everything they do that readers should know – if they don’t already. It’s a list that they wish they had known about years ago when they were first diagnosed. Williamson and Rose seek to prove that wellness is attainable if it isn’t already at your doorstep!”