Tag Archives: what I’ve been reading

For the love of BOOKS!

What have you been reading lately? While I believe ALL seasons are great for reading, Fall weather feels especially conducive. Don’t you think? There’s something so lovely about curling up on the couch because, hey, it’s already dark outside…but in reality you still have plenty of hours ’til bedtime.

I think Anne, of Green Gables fame, said it best —

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

Sad to see October go. But so excited for what books lay ahead in November! If you’re in the same boat, here are some books I’ve read recently that I’d recommend for next month’s evening couch sessions:

Sharp Objects
Delancey
Honeymoon in Purdah
Under the Banner of Heaven
All the Light We Cannot See
The Vacationers
Some Girls
Confessions of a Prairie Bitch

I’m currently reading The Silver Star, which is written by the same person who wrote The Glass Castle. My friend recently recommended Nevada (I added it to my reading list right away), and my mom and sister both LOVED The Electric Woman. Also, I recently saw someone perform an amazing oral interpretation of a story from Her Body and Other Parties, which totally made me want to reread.

So, what are YOU reading? Anything you’ve read in the last few years that you can’t stop recommending to people? Would love to hear!!

P.S. How to make time for books.

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MLK, Jr’s call for abnormality.

mlk

Recently, I read a very thought-provoking article about a seldom discussed aspect of the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. The author posits that depression could have played an influential role in the efficacy of his life’s greatest works. Nassir Ghaemi, who is working on a psychological biography of MLK, poses the following question in the February 2014 Psychology Today, “ Were personal demons a key factor in MLK’s charismatic and transformational leadership?”

The deeper attitude behind [MLK’s] philosophy was his view that we should be “creatively maladjusted.” King was explicit in a sermon: “Everybody passionately seeks to be well-adjusted,” he said. “But there are some things… to which men of good will must be maladjusted.”

Psychiatrists and psychologists see being “adjusted” as fitting in, being accepted, “functioning” well. We tend to be rewarded for being well-adjusted, but King realized that to solve life’s problems, especially the most profound—racism, poverty, and war—we have to become, in a sense, abnormal. We have to stop accepting what everyone else believes. We have to become maladjusted if we are to be creative, and then we may find that insoluble dilemmas are masks for unrecognized problems with simple solutions.
King may have known what it meant to be maladjusted psychologically because he wasn’t normal psychiatrically.

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Some won’t like the notion that King suffered from manic symptoms and depressive episodes. It would be ironic if those who admire his valiant fight against racism showed a bias against psychiatric illnesses, especially since illness may have contributed to his accomplishments.

Studies show that depression enhances empathy toward others, as well as realism in assessment of one’s own circumstances. King’s nonviolent resistance can be understood as a politics of radical empathy, an acceptance of one’s enemies as part and parcel of advancing one’s own agenda. The goal was not to defeat them but to change their attitudes: Racism was not a political problem to be outlawed; it was a psychological disease to be cured.

I recommend you check out the whole article here. It really forced me to take pause and think about the psychological make-up behind the very real people who fill our textbooks with their actions and end-goals but not their demons and pitfalls. The very thing which may contribute to the empathy, leadership, and creativity we take for granted is never discussed. This hypocrisy, especially as it pertains to admirers of King, is a striking argument. Perhaps, like King, we should look towards creative maladjustment.