Lisa M. Schab LCSW does an excellent job explaining the facts about depression and clearly outlining strategies that teens (or anybody) can use to pro...moreLisa M. Schab LCSW does an excellent job explaining the facts about depression and clearly outlining strategies that teens (or anybody) can use to process their feelings and disrupt the cycles that tend to perpetuate depression. She provides plenty of simple activities that most teens can incorporate into daily life as they go through treatment. These activities involve engaging creativity, emotion, and reaching out to others as well as modifying personal thought patterns. My only concern, hence withholding one star, is that I believe this book really should be viewed as a supplement to professional help rather than, "If it gets really bad, see a professional." For example, suicide risk is not even seriously discussed until well into the book. While I don't think it helps teens or parents to freak out every time someone shows signs of depression, suicide is always a risk. In fact, with any mental illness, it's a risk, and depression is one of the most common mental illnesses.
This book is a terrific resource and I will definitely recommend it to clients. I think it's a wonderful adjunct to in-person therapy, and includes plenty of terrific suggestions in a user-friendly format. I'm just not sure I would want a teen turned-loose relying only on this. All that said, if a teen suffering from depression gets a hold of this book, maybe it will be enough to push them to get help and make the best of it when they do.(less)
Richard N Bolles is like a god in the career counseling world, but I have to admit that I have never been much of a What Color is Your Parachute? pers...moreRichard N Bolles is like a god in the career counseling world, but I have to admit that I have never been much of a What Color is Your Parachute? person. Knowing that makes me a pariah in career counseling circles even if my colleagues don't know they should treat me like one. However, I know that many job seekers every year turn to Bolles, and given The Great Recession, this minister's words of comfort have been greatly needed. Actually, when I found myself going through my own career crisis when it came time to read this galley, I also found comfort in Bolles' words. So, in this way, What Color Is Your Parachute? 2014: A Practical Manual for Job Hunters and Career Changers strikes a good balance between offering the hard-nosed advice most job seekers need and instilling hope. Bolles still includes The Flower Exercise even though I've always felt like it is way too much work. Also, how many people out there who are out of work are going to get excited about sitting down and saying, "I am someone who is . . . like a flower"? I think I'm kind of frilly, but I don't see myself doing that. It's a bit much. I did appreciate Bolles' tips on interviewing. He includes the normal checklist of grooming tips and pointers on wardrobe choices. He also mentions that the fact that candidates are judged on the cleanliness of their nails or the freshness of their breath is petty, but he points out, as do I, that it's much better to turn down an offer from a superficial jerk than to lose out on an offer because of silly details like that. The new edition of What Color Is Your Parachute? relies a bit heavily on Google for my taste. For some job seekers, that could seem a bit overwhelming and general. In a lot of the instances where Bolles refers job seekers to Google, he probably would have been better off referring them to their local librarian so they can learn how to use Google effectively to search for work. That said, this is a classic for job seekers, and I definitely feel comfortable directing job seekers to this new edition as a resource.(less)
American Psychosis: How the Federal Government Destroyed the Mental Illness Treatment System is a must-read for anyone who is a consumer of behavioral...moreAmerican Psychosis: How the Federal Government Destroyed the Mental Illness Treatment System is a must-read for anyone who is a consumer of behavioral health services or working in the field because it is such an eye-opening read about the complexities of why our current mental healthcare system (if you call it that) is totally useless. I am probably a bit more invested in the future of funding and the provision of mental health services because I am working in the field and often have to make referrals only to find that most of the referral resources are overburdened and under-funded, and we have yet to see a push that has any teeth to it to change that. I have even started to believe it's impossible to ever get people in power to take the need for comprehensive behavioral health care seriously, but, according to E. Fuller Torrey, that was not always the case. Thanks to progressive ideals in the 1940s and 50s, mental illness briefly went from being a state-funded issue handled in asylums to a federal-funded issue to be handled by community clinics. In theory, much of the original proposal sounded Utopian. Entire communities would be molded in such a way to prevent anxiety and eventually, we would have a great society free of mental illness. We just needed to focus on mental health. That type of model works fine for the "low pathology" populations dealing with the normal stresses brought on by transitions through life stages. Unfortunately, for many patients struggling with chronic psychiatric disorders that require intensive treatment, community treatment does not work very well in large part because the patient needs to be proactive in obtaining, continuing and actively participating in his or her treatment. While all of that sounds nice, in many psychotic illnesses like schizophrenia, patients often do not realize that they are sick and need medication. Also, the ideal low-stress community (assuming will power and a clinic were enough to create that) would not bring someone with delusions and hallucinations the same sort of solace it would to a slightly anxious young woman who just had a bad day at work. American Psychosis is a bit information heavy and repetitive at times, but definitely worth the read. Also, it's worth noting that this review is based upon a digital ARC, so some of the repetitive sections could have been edited out since.(less)
No Kidding: Women Writers on Bypassing Parenthood covers a lot of ground in a remarkably humorous and touching way in this collection of essays primar...moreNo Kidding: Women Writers on Bypassing Parenthood covers a lot of ground in a remarkably humorous and touching way in this collection of essays primarily by comedians and television writers who have remained childless for a variety of reasons. The choice of whether or not to be a parent is a loaded one. Given the ongoing debates surrounding birth control and abortion, it's often hard to say if some women even have the right to choose a child-free life. Contributers to No Kidding: Women Writers on Bypassing Parenthood include Henriette Mantel, Margaret Cho, Wendy Liebman and Laurie Graff (author of You Have to Kiss a Lot of Frogs), among others. All of these women surprised me with their candor as well as the compassion and humor they brought to hot button issue. Several themes resonated with me as a professional woman who has chosen to remain childless. The biggest issue: if you're a woman, almost everyone assumes you either are going to have kids or you've had kids. If not, there must be something wrong with you. Maybe you're barren or really immature. Another theme that emerged: most of the contributors to this collection noted that their parents were not paradigms of mature adulthood; they just spawned. Some contributors half-joked about not having children because they wanted to stop the madness from seeping into another generation. Several women noted that they have choices that their mothers didn't have and it was tough growing up seeing the potential in the women who raised them, but no time to develop it. Other women hit 40 and realized that it was just too late to have kids. They were so busy building careers, children just never happened. Also, there's the whole mate choice issue. It will be interesting to see what the next generation of professional women chooses to do and the reasons behind their choices. Will they feel guilt or the need to justify decisions to not have children? What barriers will they perceive in having children and raising them if they choose to do so? The only thing that I believe No Kidding is missing is an exploration of blended families--beyond step-parenting. Also, I'm surprised that so many entertainers were involved in this project and yet not one of them is someone who has chosen to adopt. The LGBTQ family is also neglected here. All that said, I believe that No Kidding may be entertaining and mainstream enough to finally engage people on both sides of women's choice issues in more productive discussions about roles and expectations. Let's hope this is just a starting point for other things to come.(less)
Bella Pollen's novel set primarily on an island in The Hebrides during the Cold War era has many qualities that would have made me avoid it if someone...moreBella Pollen's novel set primarily on an island in The Hebrides during the Cold War era has many qualities that would have made me avoid it if someone had pitched it to me as something I must read. I don't tend to go for historical fiction. Novels from multiple points of view with, possibly, unreliable narrators also don't tend to rank high on my list. However, without giving the story away, I must mention that for this book, Pollen's choices make perfect sense, so even if you're literary "turn offs" are similar to mine, give this a try.
So, here's what happens: British Diplomat Nicholas "Nicky" Fleming falls from the roof of the British Embassy while posted in Bonn, Germany leaving his wife and three children in emotional turmoil. Leticia, his wife, has no idea how to go discuss his death with her children, and ends up leaving the bulk of the parenting and explaining to her daughters: Georgie, 17, and Alba, 15. So, her son, Jamie, who is about 8 and easily confused to begin with, gets bits and pieces of information about what happened to his dad. Out of the three children, Jamie is the oddest. He lags behind his peers in school because it is hard for him to read and write, but he has a rich imagination and tends to be the emotional barometer for his family. Alba takes a more abrasive and pragmatic approach to life, and often feels like she despises her little brother for having his head in the clouds all the time, and being another unpredictable person for her to keep track of as a result. Georgie tries her best to keep the peace between Alba and Jamie, but she's also worried about her mother, and she's worried about what would happen if anyone discovers the whole truth about her father.
The Summer of the Bear is part mystery, part coming-of-age novel, as well as a piece on grief and acceptance. The characters are so well developed that I found it impossible to hate any of them even though Leticia objectively is an inattentive mother who drags her children to a house in the middle of nowhere to wallow in her grief.(less)
Sometimes a random book on NetGalley calls out to me, and The Scoop on Breasts: A Plastic Surgeon Busts the Myths was one of those books. I'm not sure...moreSometimes a random book on NetGalley calls out to me, and The Scoop on Breasts: A Plastic Surgeon Busts the Myths was one of those books. I'm not sure if it drew me in due to the so-wrong-it's-right nature given that I just started as a guest blogger on a feminist blog or if girls like boys are drawn to boobies. Personal disclosure alert: my breasts are the only feature on my body that I'm reasonably happy with, so no, I am not considering cosmetic surgery on those. I tried to convince one doctor to say I needed a nose job, but he insisted that everything on the outside was perfect---the inside is another story. I think he may have been talking about more than my nose, but I digress.
The frustrating thing about reading an ARC for a book like this is I'm not seeing the beautiful finished product with the real pictures instead of the awful stock photos and the typos, but the content that I could read was hilarious and enlightening. The good doctor compiled all the questions he gets from patients on a regular basis and explains it all for you. If you have ever wondered something about breast implants, including why do doctors specialize in this, it's covered in here. Even if nobody asked, Dr. Eisenberg includes plenty of edifying titbits on fashion trends in lingerie (and out) including home grown versions of the bullet bra, euphemisms for cup sizes, and Marilyn Monroe's measurements.
In case you're a Sex and the City fan and you're wondering why plastic surgeons don't take unsightly thigh fat and implant it in your bosom, Dr. Eisenberg covers that in The Scoop as well. At approximately 208 pages, The Scoop passes the test most men use for finding the perfect ta tas: a handful, but no more than that. All of those embarrassing questions your weird friend has ever asked are answered and you are left free to go on with your life, this time, better informed about jubblies.(less)
The introduction is the high point of this short story collection, and a few of the short stories are amazing, but ones that are bad are so unbelievab...moreThe introduction is the high point of this short story collection, and a few of the short stories are amazing, but ones that are bad are so unbelievably horrible, I wished I was reading the book in print instead of on my Kindle so I could throw it across the room.(less)
When it comes to comics and me, I have to admit that I tend to lean more toward the deep artsy stuff like Stitches, Fun Home, or Persepolis; or even t...moreWhen it comes to comics and me, I have to admit that I tend to lean more toward the deep artsy stuff like Stitches, Fun Home, or Persepolis; or even the dark yet more episodic Vertigo comics like Human Target(interestingly, I just found out that Human Target is actually a DC Comic under the Vertigo imprint--publishing is such fun.) Anyway, you get the point: The Justice League is not usually what I grab first when I'm in the mood for graphic novels or comics. However, I know Temperance Brennan from Bones loves Wonder Woman, and I've been hearing a lot about this Amazon in other circles lately, so I decided to give her a try. I combed the web for information about the best Wonder Woman comics out there and Wonder Woman, Vol. 4: The Circle was the right balance of being highly rated and available.
Like Superman's alter ego Clark Kent, Wonder Woman has an alter ego, Diana Prince, but Diana is more than just a safe front for Wonder Woman in the "real world." The Circle focuses on Wonder Woman's origin story than on her present life, so we don't see much of Diana, but we do get some satisfying action with Nazis having their asses handed to them.
I can't say that this is my absolute favorite read in comics, but I think Wonder Woman may grow on me over time. If you want to get to know her better, this is a good place to start. Also, fantasy fans will probably appreciate Mercedes Lackey's introduction.(less)
Fan girl confession: I'm a fan of Justin Taylor on Facebook because he's brilliant and (look at the pic on his profile) really hot in an intellectual...moreFan girl confession: I'm a fan of Justin Taylor on Facebook because he's brilliant and (look at the pic on his profile) really hot in an intellectual writer-boy kind of way. He also gives awesome tips on writing. Anyway, I discovered Trailerpark when a fan of his posted a picture of Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever: Stories on a shelf next to this book, The Things They Carried and Jesus' Son. Another fan came along and referred to the three other books on the shelf as her "holy trinity of short stories." I'd read The Things They Carried and didn't think anything else could be as awesome, but Russel Banks proved me wrong. Trailerpark is an amazing short story collection, and it's a must-read for anyone who loves character-driven fiction.
All the stories are set in a trailer park in New Hampshire. Most of the residents are apples that didn't fall far from the family tree. In one story, the wife didn't even need to change her last name when she married because she and her husband already had the same last name; chew on that for a while. Of course, the collection opens with a story about the outlier in the group: a woman who retired from the US Air Force, "landed" in the trailer park, and has an unfortunate penchant for guinea pigs and pot. Other stories in the collection address tensions between a father and son when the father realizes that his son is a sociopath and has no idea what to do. In "Cleaving, And Other Needs," Banks paints a surprisingly balanced portrait of a marriage falling apart complete with the reasons two people will stay together even when the relationship is ridiculously toxic.
While the setting may not sound sexy, and the characters may not seem appealing on the surface, this short story collection is not to be missed. Some of the passages are so beautiful, it's hard to believe anyone came up with such an amazing way to describe the feelings we've taken for granted.(less)
Lizzie and Evie have been friends forever. They complete each other's sentences and Lizzie believes they even share physical sensations, they are so c...moreLizzie and Evie have been friends forever. They complete each other's sentences and Lizzie believes they even share physical sensations, they are so close. Both girls are 13 and on the edge of joining the real teen world of boys and high school when Evie is kidnapped by a child molester who has been watching her from the backyard for months.
Megan Abbott writes beautifully, and her pacing throughout this thriller is perfect. While I was reading The End of Everything, I couldn't help comparing it to Gillian Flynn's Dark Places because it captures the feelings and thoughts that a lot of us have or had and are ashamed of. For that reason, it's particularly creepy because she taps into our own cultural fixation on obsessive, smothering love and the sexualization of young adolescent females. At the same time, this novel is a remarkable literary achievement in that as I read from Lizzie's point of view, I really went back to that 13-year old perspective, and that's really saying something considering that I spend most of my time reading books that are supposedly about girls that age and sound nothing like them.
If you are interested in a tight thriller with real raw emotion about dysfunctional families and screwed up social mores, this is an excellent choice. If you want to stay in the fantasy bubble of what teen girls are supposed to be like on Lifetime, this isn't the book for you.(less)
Admittedly, I've never been a big fan of the "I'm a druggie and that's okay" genre, so maybe I came to this expecting the wrong thing. One reader desc...moreAdmittedly, I've never been a big fan of the "I'm a druggie and that's okay" genre, so maybe I came to this expecting the wrong thing. One reader described this as part of her "holy trinity of short stories" including Trailerpark which I LOVED and The Things They Carried which I also loved. Denis Johnson writes like an angel, and that's no exaggeration, but the characters in these stories are such awful people and they're so real, it makes you feel kind of dirty empathizing with them. I guess it's a testament to Johnson's artistry that it's impossible not to empathize with these characters, but does it make me feel good reading about it? Not so much.(less)