My Top 10 Mental Health Reads

MHAW18 – My Top 10 Mental Health Reads

 

Seeing as it’s Thursday I decided that instead of my usual review, I would share with you my current top 10 books about or featuring mental health. I was really hard to decide on the final 10 but I think I have a pretty good selection.

The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
This is one of my favourites books of all time. I read this when I was a student and it just connected on a level I haven’t before with any other book. The plot focuses on Esther a young woman in her early 20s and her descent into mental ill health.

Am I Normal Yet – Holly Bourne
I love Holly Bourne’s YA work and Am I Normal Yet was a great start to her spinster trilogy. Looking at OCD, how to open up to the people around you and the process of recovery. Full review right here.

Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig
Matt Haig was on the verge of committing suicide, now he’s a best selling author. To get from one to the other he needed reasons to stay alive. This is a beautiful and brilliant book which changes lives. I wrote all about it here.

My Lovely Wife – Mark Luckach
There are very few books I’ve read from the perspective of a partner who has to watch their loved ones go through mental illness. A truly lovely and honest book. You can read my review here.

How Not To Be A Boy – Robert Webb
I’m so in love with this autobiography. This isn’t just about Webb’s life, it looks at death, gender stereotypes, sexuality and toxic masculinity. I raved about it here.

Mad Girl – Bryony Gordon
I listened to this as an audiobook and fell in love. Not only does Bryony talk about serious topics such as depression, alopecia and OCD but she also makes you laugh. I’m a huge believer in laughter being a great healer. You can read my full thoughts here.
Nina is Not Ok – Shappi Khorsandi
This is the first YA novel I’ve read looking at alcoholism in a young person. I went through so many emotions reading it. A tough but important read.

Ariel – Sylvia Plath
I know, I know Plath again BUT her poetry is incredible. This is a beautiful collection and Plath’s last before her suicide. The imagery, the emotion. I can’t get enough.
It’s All in Your Head – Rae Earl
Confession, I’d never read anything by Rae Earl before and this was a great place to start. This is part manual, part memoir and wholly excellent. I loved this and it would benefit anyone and I highly recommend it.

When We Collided – Emery Lord
This is a wonderful YA novel which isn’t obvious it is about mental illness at the beginning. This is mostly about friendship, love and healing. Two teenagers, a summer and a beautiful novel. Full review here.

 

What would you add? Let me know in the comments below!

My Top 10 Books of 2017!

We’ve finally got to the end of the year! Well, it has been a long one but I’ve had plenty of books to get me through it, hitting my goal of 100 books today, but what about the top 10?

I have to say it hasn’t been my greatest year in terms of 5-star reads BUT there have been some absolute crackers, which means it has been hard to narrow it down…are your favourites in my top 10?

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Turtles All The Way Down – John Green 

I got into John Greens books when The Fault in Our Stars came out but then read them very quickly. I didn’t think we’d get a new novel so of course, I started this the second I got my hands on it. John Green is incredible and you could definitely tell this was written from the perspective of someone who has struggled with mental illness. Review here.

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The Sun and All Her Flowers – Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur came back with another cracking collection and I’ve really got into my poetry this year. This was another beautiful collection, exploring the evolving stages of relationships as well as a tribute, I felt, to her mother. Review here.

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Making Faces – Amy Harmon

This was an ARC that I received and I absolutely loved it. This broke my heart but gave me hope. Set in the aftermath of 9/11 it looks at the impact on young people, as well as looking at the idea of popularity and beauty. Review here.

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How Not To Be a Boy – Robert Webb

This surprised me, of course, I’d watched Robert Webb growing up on the TV but not thought much about him. It was only after I heard an interview I picked this up. A really interesting look at depression, gender and growing up. Review here.

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It Only Happens In The Movies – Holly Bourne

Holly Bourne came back after her wildly successful Spinster Club series and made me fall in love all over again. In true Bourne style, we have a kick-ass protagonist that decides love isn’t like the movies especially after her parents marriage crumbles as well as her own relationship. Review to come but you can find out more here.

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Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls – Elena Favilli

This was amazing, with beautiful illustration and tales about women that I’ve never heard of as well as women who I definitely have. This is for children but I think you’ll fall in love with it.  Review here.

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My Lovely Wife – Mark Lukach

It’s refreshing to read about mental illness from the perspective of family members. Mark Lukah marries the love of his life after meeting at eighteen. What neither of them knew at the time was that their later marriage would be tested to the limit as Giulia is hospitalised for severe mental illness. I loved this so much, especially as it is so honest and looks at relapse, the struggles and stresses of dealing with hospitals. So, so good. Review to come, but you can find out more here.

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My Shitty Twenties – Emily Morris

The title was enough to make me pick up this book. When Emily unexpectedly falls pregnant as a student the father responds by telling her to enjoy her ‘shitty twenties’, I know what a charmer. This goes through Emily’s journey as a young Mum and is full of honesty but also has a sense of humour. Review here.

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Nina Is Not Okay – Shappi Khorsandi

You might have seen Shappi on I’m A Celebrity but did you know she was a brilliant author? For me, this put Young Adult Fiction on another level. It’s not a light read but it is so worth it and it’s the first time I’ve seen a young person depecited as actually having a drinking problem. Review to come, more information here.

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The Diary of Anne Frank

Reading this as an adult made it more remarkable and more heartbreaking. Anne would have had such potential, she had such an incredible talent as you can see in her writing from such a young age. Review to come, more info here.

Note: I have not included anything that will be released in 2018! These will be included in my 2018 wrap up!

 

Book Review: How Not To Be A Boy – Robert Webb

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I’d heard Robert speaking on the radio about his new book, mentioning gender, depression and coping with loss, something I didn’t expect. I’d watched him in various TV shows and not really thought about Robert the man, rather than the actor.

The autobiography covers a large span of Webb’s life in detail and has the wit and humor that he brings to the television that he creates so well. I would thoroughly recommend getting the audiobook as possible as it makes the whole book come alive, particularly with the impressions of Webb’s family and friend.

This is a man who readily opens up about his faults. He candidly talks about failing his exams at 18, about how he felt he mistreated women in his youth and the fear of turning into his father. This brutal honesty is what makes Webb’s book. There’s no hiding, no excuses from him. That said, we know that there is a lot going on for him as a late teen, such as losing his mother.

Most interestingly, the book focuses heavily on gender expectations, something that Webb didn’t feel he could fit into. While his brothers were loud and boisterous, he preferred to be quiet and play. He found himself lost in what he ‘should’ be, rather than what he was, a sensitive young man who felt a little lost. He speaks candidly about how he didn’t feel he could show emotion openly he was on the cusp of being a man and men didn’t share feelings and talk. Something that lead Webb to a deep depression and almost cost him his place at Cambridge.

In this Webb lays out the ways in which these gender expectations affect both men and women and how toxic they can be to all of us. It was absolutely fascinating to read. Webb talks about his own experiences of having feelings for another boy at a young age and struggling with this and wondering what it meant. Again speaking about what it meant to be a boy, and later a man, and in his background that did not mean falling in love with another boy.

To put it simply this is a story that will promote change. Of course, it’s a very entertaining read, I laughed so much while getting through it but at the same time Webb has managed to bring in big questions about society, while making you feel like you’re having a conversation with a friend. From sexuality, gender norms and mental illness to falling in love, Webb has put his signature twist on the world and made it into, hopefully, an easier conversation to have.

I adored this book and gave it 4.5 stars! If I could change anything I’d want to know a little bit more about his relationship with David Mitchell as we all usually think of Mitchell and Webb together! That said it’s an inspiring and thought provoking read, I’d recommend it to anyone!

September Favourites!

I don’t quite know how it’s October tomorrow. This month I’ve had a very quiet one, Ali went off on tour on the 3rd, so I’ve spent a lot of time chilling at home and reading. So, this might not be the busiest favourites month but here they are!

Birthday! 

This month I turned 23! I went out a few days before with a few of my closest friends for dinner and drinks (more than a few drinks) before spending the actual day with my family and having the surprise of a Bose speaker delivered from Ali!

Books 

When it’s just me I read a lot. And I mean a lot a lot. I’ve read 8 books this month, around 2 a week! This month I’ve started getting back into reading fiction slowly. There were some really great reads and some I felt were a little disappointing. Making Faces and Fully Functioning Human  were two of my favourites and reviews this month!

 

General

And down to my general choices. I’ve spent the month trying to meet up with friends or seeing family, so that I don’t spend all my time alone! This included friends from my time at uni, my godchildren and family. It’s also been a good month for deliveries including a haul from Typo and my Ginny Weasley Barnes and Noble exclusive Pop Vinyl, as well as my first Wizard World Loot Crate! I think the best part has to have been getting a visit from Ali, even if it was only for 28 hours  and baking for the guys on tour.

My Favourite Posts: 

Long Distance Love

23 Things I’ve Learned in 23 Years 

How Is My Mental Health Right Now?

Goodbye 22 – Looking Back on a Weird Year

Feminist Friday: 10 Things You Can Still Do & Still Be A Feminist 

Using Food as a Crutch