Calvin is a brilliant 17 year old who has procrastinated much too long on his final English and biology projects. Recently diagnosed with schizophrenia, he decides to undertake an epic pilgrimage across Lake Erie along with childhood friend Susie and the hallucination of a 10 foot tiger named Hobbes to convince Bill Watterson to write one more strip of Calvin & Hobbes. Thoughtful and heartfelt. (Submitted by Meghan W).
I listened to this book as an audiobook. The subtitle describes the book perfectly – it is both very funny and very sad. Lawson suffers from depression and various other mental and physical issues. The title comes from her deciding to be “furiously happy” and live life to the fullest during the times when she’s able. I found the funny and horrible to be mixed very well–a serious chapter about depression followed by something bizarre about taxidermy raccoons.
Lawson isn’t for everyone; she has a very odd sense of humour and a rather foul mouth and is very frank about depression. But if you enjoy quirky humour and live with depression yourself or in a loved one, this is a great listen. Lawson is a true advocate for mental illness and she provides a very real look at depression – I was particularly interested in her description of how people with mental illness just don’t have the same amount of energy as “normal” people (she calls it the “spoon theory”) and how it is not treated like a disease–sufferers are told to get over it or just be happy while we would never say such things to people with physical ailments. I laughed a lot and I really admire her philosophy of being furiously happy, I plan to try it myself! (Submitted by Gayle).
“Sue Klebold is the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the two shooters at Columbine High School in 1999 who killed 13 people before ending their own lives, a tragedy that saddened and galvanized the nation. She has spent the last 15 years excavating every detail of her family life, and trying to understand the crucial intersection between mental health problems and violence. Instead of becoming paralyzed by her grief and remorse, she has become a passionate and effective agent working tirelessly to advance mental health awareness and intervention.” ~ Penguin Random House
Whew, I’m glad I’ve finished this book, though it has stayed with me for days, just as the Columbine tragedy did. Sue Klebold is a very brave woman who has salvaged what could have been a wasted life spent in despair and hopelessness. She has spent the years since the horror of April 1999 trying to deal with PTSD, while struggling through life with her remaining son and husband. She has devoted herself to understanding and promoting the necessity for researching brain health, and, without excusing him, tried to understand what happened to her son. (Submitted by SB).
Open Heart, Open Mind by Clara Hughes is quite the eye opener. It reveals the unique lifestyle of a professional athlete and the challenges that it entails. Realizing that for a physical-based career, the greatest challenges could well be mental and emotional. Clara lays out her experiences of being an international athlete very truthfully and carefully. I would recommend this book to anyone thinking of a career in sports! (Submitted by Jamie).
I laughed out loud and read aloud, relishing Kevin Spenst’s fantastic way with words. This is a book of poetry chronicling his upbringing in Surrey, delving into issues of religion, mental health, politics, culture, and the always interesting experience of growing up. I really enjoyed it. Kevin is a great speaker and I can’t wait to hear him share his poetry in person. (Submitted by Meghan).
Meet Kevin at Authors Among Us: Remembering the Past in Poetry and Prose at Guildford Library on Wed, Nov 4 at 6:30pm. Call 604-598-7374 to save your spot.
New Westminster author Bryan Clegg tells the story of four Vancouverites facing darkness in their lives. Orphaned as a child and isolated from his other family members, Alex faces thoughts of suicide and finds no joy in his job at a call centre. Melissa struggles to heal after a vicious sexual attack leaves her with physical and emotional wounds. Richard is a paramedic newly returned to work after a mistake he made resulted in the death of a young girl. Joel is trying to overcome an abusive childhood and drug addiction through the help of his wife and daughter. Eventually, the stories of these four strangers intertwine in surprising ways. Clegg manages to create a very readable narrative while conveying heavy themes. I really enjoyed reading this book. (Submitted by Meghan).
Meet Bryan at Authors Among Us-The Dark Side: The Craft of Writing about Death, Demons, and Despair at Guildford Library on Wed, Oct 7 from 6:30-8:30pm. Call 604-598-7366 to save your spot.