Sunday, November 21, 2021

The Sunday Post #284

 

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The Sunday Post is a chance to recap the past week, talk about next week, tell you what I’m reading, and share news. It’s hosted by The Caffeinated Book ReviewerReaderbuzz, and Book Date.




The Sunday Post #284





On The Blog Last Week






On The Blog This Week


  • On Tuesday I have a book haul.





In My Reading Life


Nonfiction November continues!

I finished Cursed Objects: Strange But True Stories Of The World's Most Infamous Items by J.W. Ocker. It was a nice change from the depressing nonfiction I usually read. The book delivers exactly what the title promises. The author travels to museums and to the depths of the Internet to find "cursed" objects that are linked to death, destruction, or misfortune. The history of each object is told in 2-4 pages, which makes the book a quick read. The writing style is upbeat, and the objects are weird and fascinating. I enjoyed it. It's obvious that the author is passionate about cursed objects and had a lot of fun researching their history. If you're shopping for holiday gifts, this book is perfect for the history lovers in your life. It's quirky and memorable. Actually, it reminds me of collections of folktales or campfire stories. The stories of curses are ridiculous and easily disproven by historical research, but they're fun in a spooky way.

My biggest complaint is the lack of photographs. I know it's probably expensive or impossible to get permission from museums to publish photos, but I really wanted to see the objects. The book has illustrations, but it's not the same. I want to see the creepy junk!




After a brief foray into joy, I scampered back to my depressing comfort zone. I finished No One Cares About Crazy People: The Chaos And Heartbreak Of Mental Health In America by Ron Powers. This book is part memoir, part American history textbook. Both of the author's sons were diagnosed with schizophrenia. The memoir chronicles his struggle to get them help in a country where "no one cares about crazy people." He examines the history of mental health care in America and the different ways that doctors and the government have tried (and spectacularly failed) to help mentally ill people. The book isn't completely bleak, though! The author is optimistic about how recent scientific breakthroughs will help mentally ill people in the future.

I have mixed feelings about this one. The historical information is great. I learned a lot, especially about the anti-psychiatry movement and how influential they were in shaping public opinion about mental health care. I appreciate the information, but I'm not a fan of the author's writing style. It's pretentious and self-indulgent. I understand that he loves his children, but do we really need deep dives into song lyrics they wrote? Or endless emails praising them for their good grades? I found myself skimming over the memoir to get back to the historical information.

I also think the book could have benefitted from interviews with other families of mentally ill children. The author (somewhat) kept his sons safe by sending them to boarding schools, buying them a house, finding them great doctors, and driving all over the country to rescue them when they got in trouble. How is the mental health care experience different for families who can't do those things?

This book is worth reading for the historical information, but I found myself getting frustrated with the author at times. I think his emotional investment in the subject prevented him from writing a balanced book about it.




Then, I read a graphic novel: My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf. It's a memoir written and illustrated by serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer's high school friend. I saw the movie adaptation last year and loved it. The book and movie do an amazing job of showing Dahmer's troubled teenage years without making him a likeable character. I love how the author contrasts his normal teenage life with Dahmer's extremely abnormal teenage life. There were many times when someone could have stepped in and questioned Dahmer's bizarre behavior, but people are so caught up in their own problems and successes that we don't really pay attention to each other. Hindsight is 20/20, right? If you're interested in crime, I highly recommend the book and movie. The book is sad and unsettling, but since the events all occur before Dahmer became a killer, it's not gory.

I know the book is focused on Dahmer, but I wish the author had slightly more self-awareness. As a teen, he was a jerk who exploited Dahmer for his own entertainment. (Actually, you could argue that he's still exploiting Dahmer by writing this book.) It's not the author's fault that Dahmer killed people, and it wasn't the author's job to save Dahmer when they were teenagers, but I wonder if hindsight changed how the author sees his own behavior. That's the only issue I have with the book. It's a fascinating memoir. I think it's worth reading as a cautionary tale.



Right now, I'm back to happy nonfiction. I'm reading Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady's Guide To Sex, Marriage, And Manners by Therese Oneill. So far, it's irreverent and fun. I love the old photos and advertisements.






In The Rest Of My Life


Five things that made me happy last week:

  1. Who's excited about Thanksgiving? Me!
  2. Baby Brooklyn has a hard time with the "R" sound, so she mispronounces "Christmas" as "Pissmas." I'm immature enough to find it hilarious.
  3. We're in that strange time of year where nobody knows how to decorate their house. Houses in my neighborhood have Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas decorations up. We're living in festive times, people.
  4. I've been working hard on my Pinterest account. It's back up to 1 million monthly viewers. Please follow me on Pinterest! I'll love you forever.
  5. I finished my 5-week training plan for running. It was supposed to make me run a faster 5K. That didn't happen, but I finished it! I'm just doomed to be a slow runner.




Join My Book Cult















Take care of yourselves and be kind to each other. See you around the blogosphere!






24 comments:

  1. Unmentionable sounds like a good read. Based on your reviews of the other two, I'll skip them.

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  2. Cursed Objects sounds intriguing. I call that sort of book a browsable book, a book you can dip into at any point, one that you can read the parts you like and skip the others.

    Yes, we have Thanksgiving, Christmas, and a bit of Halloween. Of course we still have a couple of neighbors who don't realize the election is over...

    Hey, slow running is running, too. Somebody has to be last.

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  3. Aww, poor Brooklyn! My niece used to call me "Yaya" because she couldn't pronounce her L's - it was so cute!

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  4. Maybe you're not running faster, but you finished the plan. Gold star! And Pissmas is funny. Your neighborhood sounds like a hoot. Because of Diwali, there have been lights up in these parts for a while. Now all the Christmas lights are going up too. They're pretty. I like them.

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  5. I really enjoyed Unmentionable. I’m intrigued by My friend Dahmer now, I hadn’t even looked at it because I figured it would not have a lot to say.

    Wishing you a great reading week, and happy thanksgiving

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  6. I am already following you on Pinterest AJ! And I must be immature too because Pissmas made me laugh as well, also your first quote with "going home" LOL

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  7. Unmentionable sounds really interesting, I'll have to add that to my reading list.

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  8. Unmentionable sounds like a fun read. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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  9. After a brief foray into joy, I scampered back to my depressing comfort zone. -- Yasss! Depressing comfort zone! I can totally relate.

    How is the mental health care experience different for families who can't do those things? -- To answer that, you need only look at Arkansas. I have friends that work for social service programs and the horror stories they can tell. Families here that are so poor, for instance, they can't afford any kind of professional help for their children with mental or physical issues and haven't been taught how to help them or "control" them and don't know what the heck to do, so they will tie them to the porch or whatever. Not to be cruel, but because they don't know how else to keep them safe while the parents (or probably parent, singular) get stuff done around the house. There are families here that share one cup between all family members because all they've got is one cup. My own mother's physical therapist would always point out how clean our house is. Some houses he goes to, the floors are covered with dog poo or worse. So, imagine trying to take care of someone with mental illness or physical issues in those kind of conditions. No boarding schools or good doctors for poor families. Just good people like my friends who work for social services and do what they can to lend a hand.

    Ooo I'm glad to hear the Dahmer book and movie are good! Both have been on my list for a long time.

    I, too am excited for Thanksgiving (although it was a different story yesterday!) and will pick up all my ingredients at 2pm. The Walmart workers are doing the shopping for me and I GREATLY APPRECIATE them!

    Pissmas is adorable!!!

    We're living in festive times, people! -- LOL

    Congrats on the 5k!

    I rarely use my Pinterest, but sure. I'll be happy to follow you. Doing so now.

    Have a great Thanksgiving!


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  10. I am impressed that you ran a 5K no matter how quickly (or slowly) it happened. For the first time, I ran 1.5 miles this morning so I am WAY behind you in running talent. I have none so don't get too excited that you are better than me :-)

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  11. No One Cares About Crazy People sounds like it has so much potential. Too bad it fell short.

    Running a 5K is definitely something to celebrate!

    Have a great Thanksgiving!

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  12. Interesting about No One Cares. I agree the historical background sounds fascinating, but it does sound like it gets too involved with the personal aspects. Hm.

    Pissmas- I'm sorry that made me laugh. And yay Thanksgiving! Food. I'm in. And YES we have a house that has like Chrismasween going on...

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  13. Congrats on running a 5k. I'm a slow runner too, so it's okay. :)

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  14. Your books look interesting. Yes, we are definitely in festive times. Happy Thanksgiving!

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  15. I really loved My Friend Dahmer. I still need to see the movie!

    Lauren @ www.shootingstarsmag.net

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  16. Your "go big" quote made me smile! I understand what you mean about wanting to see the objects - it so helps with understanding and...well just plain curiosity. Well written about the Dahmer book - a little self introspection can go a long way. Perhaps its writing will help others recognize when people need help? Unmentionables reminds me of a "scandalous" book that I read was included in the the pack librarian's library in Kentucky. Wish I could remember which book I was reading that mentioned it. I'll be happy to follow you on Pinterest, though I rarely use it except to look for my old pins around the holidays. :)

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  17. Pissmas..bwhaaaaaa I went straight to my library ebook section and got No One Cares About Crazy People. As a person with Schizoaffective disorder, I want to find faults in that book, just like you did.LMAO, Seriously, though, I have yet to read ONE memoir by someone other than the mentally ill person themselves get even close to how "our" reality is shaped. The worst is when there is a huge recovery (like me); the only insurance that pays for the meds is the Disability one from the Government, and with that..you cant make one penny more than 800 dollars a month, and THAT pisses me off the most.

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  18. Interesting looking assortment of books but, perhaps, a little depressing for my reading tastes. Give me light and fluffy any day! Unmentionables does look good. Love your beginning graphic. Going home is always my goal too. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

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  19. I can hardly believe it's Thanksgiving week. I'm just happy to have the kitchen back enough to eat real food instead of takeout. Yeah, I've always been the slow, endurance type runner, bicyclist, etc. Enjoy your Thanksgiving and some yummy food!

    Anne - Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post

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  20. I love today's quote. That is so me. Your books sound great. Not sure I could read the Dahmer one, though.

    Thanks for visiting my blog today. Hope you have a fabulous Thanksgiving.

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  21. LoL, I would want to see the creepy junk too (in the book). Happy turkey day!

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  22. No one is a slower runner than me. :) Lol.

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  23. I've seen the film of the Dahmer book, and I'm so glad you found it worth the read! It's on my TBR (...as is almost everything else, but we'll ignore that!)

    Super-impressive Pinterest stats! I'm pretty sure I already follow you on Pinterest, so hopefully you already love me! ;) <3

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  24. That quote at the beginning of your post is awesome---I can so relate!! And I would totally be amused by Brooke's pronunciation issue as well. Too funny!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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