Food Rules  by Michael Pollan  

64 simple “rules”, it’s that simple. After reading this book you will never eat the same again, or at least you will eat with your eyes wide open. Children and adults, both, find this brilliant little book to be easy to understand and easy to remember. Michael Pollan’s humor helps tremendously and makes the book entertaining, and not painful, guilt provoking or preachy. Worth the read! Enough said!

The Bipolar Child  by Demitri Papolos, MD and Janice Papolos

These two very qualified authors have written such a fine book that it is hard to know where to begin.  In this book you will find information on the signs of early emerging bipolar disorder, charts and lists to help parents organize accurate diagnosis, find professionals, and help with the child’s long term needs.  They cover medication and describe some of the ways to tell bipolar disorder from other disorders that look much the same.  The book reads easily.

An Unquiet Mind  by Kay Redfield Jamison, PhD

Written by a person who has bipolar disorder herself and has been through you know where and back, this book gives an intimate view of life with this profound condition.  Jamison tells of the emergence of the bipolar disorder, the struggle to find the type and amount of medication that helped to best, the devastation of having her important relationships suffer and sometimes end and how she managed to power through all of this and build a life worth living. Genuine and not dramatized. Excellent!

Diet for a Small Planet  by Frances Moore Lappe

We all have a relationship with food.  What is yours?  Food relationships are also woven deeply into the dynamics of mental health problems.  This book does not address these aspects of diet and nutrition but it does provide an excellent source of information about how to eat healthily and economically. The book was first published in 1971 and earlier editions are now considered collectable.  Includes recipes. A good read if you want to decrease the size of your diet’s footprint and increase your health.

Passing for Normal  by Amy S. Wilensky

Ms Wilensky grew up with Tourette’s syndrome AND obsessive-compulsive disorder but did not find out until she was in college just what had made her childhood so miserable.  The tics infuriated her father who accused her of looking “crazy” and demanding that she stop.  Imagine growing up like this. Not only does Wilensky describe her conditions, she also explores the topic of difference and how she came to grips with her very full plate. Fascinating and honest.

The Small Book  by Jack Trimpey

Twelve step programs don’t work for everyone.  Trimpey’s book outlines an alternate program for identifying the impulse to use intoxicants, valuing sobriety, and using self-control.  This approach has worked for millions.  Very worthwhile reading for anyone interested in substance abuse and its treatment.

The Far Pavilions  by M. M. Kaye

People often think of escaping to far away places when stress starts to overwhelm them. This book, all 700+ pages of it, can carry you away night after night to the country of India during the British presence. Kaye wrote of kingdoms, rajas and their courts, love, war, intrigue, and culture.  This book can’t be beat if you love this type of story.  Best of all, it’s long, long, long.

Anti-Cancer: A New Way of Life  by David Servan-Schreiber, MD. PhD

After enduring chemotherapy and surgery for cancer in his brain, Dr. S delved into the world of cause and prevention.  He gathered an impressive range and amount of information about how to shift our behavior, avoid many things that are now known to cause cancer, and begin, or increase, what works.  The book is easy to read, full of research citations and uplifting mainly because what he describes is so doable.  No unusual dietary changes or odd foods that are hard to find.  A realistic, encouraging book for change.

How to Practice  by the Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama tries with his writings to show the universal truths of spirituality.  Integral to mental health is some form of spiritual health. Some people find it in an organized religious structure and others find it in more general application of truths from various belief systems. The Dalai Lama offers in this simple book, some ways to manage ourselves on a daily basis to enhance happiness and contentment.  You might find that what he has to say is not all that unfamiliar.  Easy reading and comforting ideas.

The Culture of Fear  by Barry Glassner

Anxiety is epidemic now.  People are afraid and Glassner tries to disassemble the sources of some of this irrational fear.  He demonstrates how single incidents develop into trends or isolated facts are egregiously used to imply bigger problems. The importance of this book is not in where Glassner is right or wrong but, rather, how we all need to be able to rationally assess the true level of dangers around us.  Very interesting, good material for discussion.