Since 1949, Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in May and yet it’s importance is only realized today, in 2020. With half the world in lockdown, we have no clue as to when this horrible nightmare will come to an end. Day by day, we’re finding solace in our balconies and warm cup of coffees, just like the characters from these books. You might find yourself breathing through them. If you’ve been looking for the perfect moment to pick up one of these reads, there isn’t a time better than this.
1. Man’s search for meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”-Viktor E. Frankl
Based on his own experiences as a prisoner in the Nazi concentration camps during World War 2, Frankl explains how we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. His own psychotherapeutic method- Logotherapy, describes how the primary motivational force of a human being is to find a meaning in life.
2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.”-Sylvia Plath
Genre: Modern Classic, Autobiography
The only novel written by Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar revolves around the life of Esther Greenwood- a college student who aspires to become a poet and gets selected for a month-long internship. Soon, she finds herself breaking down, her insanity becoming palpably real as she explores the societal expectations of women in the 1950s. Almost an autobiography of herself, Plath committed suicide one month after the book was published. Today, it remains known as an extraordinarily haunting classic.
3. All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
“The great thing about this life of ours is that you can be someone different to everybody.”-Theodore Finch
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Recently developed into a Netflix film, All The Bright Places remains one of the most affecting YA novels of all time. Violet Markey is suffering from survivor’s guilt, still coping over the death of her sister when she meets Theodore Finch- a person fascinated by death. It’s unclear who saves whom as they’re paired together for a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state.
4. I’ve never been (Un)happier by Shaheen Bhatt
“You can buy happiness off the rack-but sadness is tailor-made just for you.”-Shaheen Bhatt
Shaheen was diagnosed with depression at eighteen, five years after already living with it. Unwittingly known as Alia Bhatt’s older sister, this book is an invitation into her head. In this emotionally arresting memoir, she reveals the daily experiences and debilitating big picture of one of the most critically misinterpreted mental illnesses in the twenty-first century. For anyone who decides to read this, you are sure to go on a wild, unstoppable journey with your own thoughts.
5. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Eleanor Oliphant thinks that she is completely fine. Yet she struggles with social skills and ends up saying exactly what she’s thinking. Everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen, the three rescue one another from the lives of isolation that they had been living. Ultimately, it is Raymond’s big heart that will help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one. If she does, she’ll learn that she, too, is capable of finding friendship—and even love—after all.
6. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
“So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.”-Stephen Chbosky
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Narrated through the medium of a series of letters written by Charlie- the wallflower to a stranger, the book takes us through his freshman year of high school in 1991. Charlie’s mind isn’t complicated at all. In fact, he cannot be more clear. This book discusses issues like substance abuse, rape, party culture, mental health through the innocent perspective of Charlie, who is special.
7. The Noonday Demon: An Atlas Of Depression by Andrew Solomon
“Grief is depression in proportion to circumstance; depression is grief out of proportion to circumstance.”-Andrew Solomon
Genre: Non-fiction, Psychology
Off the charts in its enlightening, comprehensive analysis of this pervasive yet misunderstood condition, The Noonday Demon forges a long, brambly path through the subject of depression–exposing all the discordant views and “answers” offered by science, philosophy, law, psychology, literature, art, and history. The result is a sprawling and thoroughly engrossing study, brilliantly synthesized by author Andrew Solomon.
8. Turtles All The Way Down by John Green
“We never really talked much or even looked at each other, but it didn’t matter because we were looking at the same sky together, which is maybe even more intimate than eye contact anyway. I mean, anybody can look at you. It’s quite rare to find someone who sees the same world you see.”-John Green
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
It all begins with a fugitive billionaire and the promise of a cash reward. Turtles All the Way Down is about lifelong friendship, the intimacy of an unexpected reunion, Star Wars fan fiction, and tuatara. But at its heart is Aza Holmes, a young woman navigating daily existence within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.
- Feeling good: The new mood therapy by David Burns
- The Happiness trap: How to stop struggling and start living by Russ Harris
- Who says you can’t you do by Daniel Chidiac
- An unquiet mind: A memoir of moods and madness by Kay Redfield Jamison
- The subtle art of not giving a f*ck by Mark Manson
- Darius the great is not okay by Adib Khorram
- Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
- Looking for Alaska by John Green
- Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
- Thirteen reasons why by Jay Asher