In Strangers to Ourselves: Unsettled Minds and the Stories That Make Us, Rachel Aviv examines the challenges of living with mental disorders and how those disorders can define who we are. Aviv shares personal experiences and talks to a range of individuals who deal with—and find a sense of self in—mental illness. Featuring riveting firsthand reportage, moving interviews and important research, Aviv’s compassionate, revealing narrative offers a glimpse into the secrets of the human psyche while tackling tough questions about psychiatric treatment and diagnosis.
Judith Grisel mixes memoir and reportage in Never Enough: The Neuroscience and Experience of Addiction, a compelling investigation of drug use and the nature of dependency. Grisel, a former drug user who is now a neuroscientist, writes with honesty about her troubled past and grappling with substance abuse. She also looks at the unique psychology of the addict and provides possibilities for escaping the cycle of dependency. The role of genetics in addiction and the brain’s response to drugs are but a few of the book’s rich discussion topics.
In Mind on Fire: A Memoir of Madness and Recovery, Arnold Thomas Fanning offers a powerful, intimate account of a life spent wrestling with depression and bipolar disorder. Fanning’s first encounters with mental illness took place during his teenage years and left him ill-equipped to navigate daily routines. After spending time in an institution and living on the streets of London, Fanning found help in medication and therapy and achieved success as a playwright. In this poignant chronicle of living with illness, he shows that healing is possible.
Max Fisher considers the ways in which Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media platforms have impacted our daily lives in The Chaos Machine: The Inside Story of How Social Media Rewired Our Minds and Our World. Bolstered by in-depth research and interviews, Fisher’s fascinating book traces the evolution of social media, the rise of sensational content and the strategies employed by popular platforms to attract users and make profits. Themes like communication, self-esteem and the human need for connection will get book groups talking.