So I bought this:
And now I need to watch Gigi:
So I bought this:
And now I need to watch Gigi:
I joke about my anxiety and depression and OCD here quite a bit, because most of the time I’m in the right frame of mind to view those diagnoses as just another part of me, like being ridiculously near-sighted or having hay fever. When the meds and therapy and the planets are aligned, I can just shrug off my, um, quirks and make it through each day without dreading the next.
Last Thanksgiving, nothing was aligned. This Thanksgiving, I’m on an even keel because I finally did something I was terrified to do before.
And I got the help I needed — new meds, new therapist, support from my family. And that led to an infinitely better day job and a fantastic part-time gig that are finally resolving the financial problems that dragged me down in the first place.
But part of me is still resentful that I had to ask for help. Why didn’t anyone around me notice what was happening? All I wanted was someone to care enough to see my distress.
Logically, I know that no one else can see my anxiety and depression — because I work so, so hard at trying to hide it. That doesn’t make the bitter berries taste any better. The woe-is-me voice keeps saying “I shouldn’t have to ask.”
So. Here’s where I’m going with this.
(1) If you’re overwhelmed, send out the SOS. No one will think less of you. There is nothing wrong with taking meds. There is no shame in talking to a professional. Trust me on this — and trust your family and friends enough to be honest about your fucked-up brain.
(2) If you’re concerned about someone, don’t take “I’m fine” as the final answer. Ask questions. Be nosy. Please.
(3) If you’re an author, for the LOVE OF GOD, do your homework before using any kind of mental illness as a plot device or character trait. OCD is much more than being a neat freak. There is no Magical Orgasm Cure for agoraphobia. Panic attacks do not require a Tragic Past. Put your characters on meds and in therapy.
Thus endeth the lesson. Now, on to the Literary Analogies! Because this is a book blog, after all, not a whiny “let me dump my angst all over you” blog.
“Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them… Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you. If it can, the Dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself…soulless and evil. You will be left with nothing but the worst experiences of your life.”
That one was easy, right? Not quite. The real dementors of depression are invisible. They’re always there, hovering, waiting to infiltrate your brain and take hold. The coldness comes on so gradually you don’t even realize it. Chocolate does help, but the demons are never the “it’s all in your head” boggarts that can be laughed away.
However…there is a Patronus charm: “I need help.” It takes courage and practice, but it’s there. Sometimes you just need someone to teach you how to use it.
Hermione screamed in pain, and Harry turned his wand on her in time to see a jeweled goblet tumbling from her grip. But as it fell, it split, became a shower of goblets, so that a second later, with a great clatter, the floor was covered in identical cups rolling in every direction, the original impossible to discern amongst them.
…”They have added Gemino and Flagrante curses! Everything you touch will burn and multiply, but the copies are worthless — And if you continue to handle the treasure you will eventually be crushed to death by the weight of expanding gold!”
It took me a long time to figure this one out. Everyone knows the “black cloud” depiction of depression. We’ve all seen the TV commercials with blank-faced people huddled on the couch hugging a pillow. Every bit of that is true.
There is no universal metaphor for anxiety — because there are at least eleventy thousand different ways to be anxious and eight kajillion thing to be anxious about.
Yeah, everyone worries. Everyone gets anxious once in a while. But an anxiety disorder makes it impossible (and I am not exaggerating here) to turn off those thoughts. It makes your brain expand all those horrible thoughts and explode them all over the place and heat them up until you’re buried under a smoldering pile of what-the-hell-is-wrong-with-me-why-can’t-I-be-normal that will inevitably reignite and start the whole damn process over again.
Anxiety disorder also causes run-on sentences. There is no medical proof of this, but in some cases anecdotal evidence is enough.
And maybe next year, I’ll be thankful for my hard-won ability to make a simple phone call without Xanax.
Especially this first one. IT’S FABULOUSLY GOOD AND IT WON THE RITA AND IT’S FREE.
Did I mention the part about it being FREE?
Just read it already.
“It was an Opening,” she whispered.
“It was…you,” he said.
OH. MY. GOD. You people weren’t kidding about this book. Good lord. It’s going to take me months to recover my equilibrium, and god help whatever books I’m reading and listening to next.
The minus on the story grade is for the slight lag in the pacing after the [NO SPOILERS], and I wondered about Maddie being called “Duchess” instead of “Your Grace,” and I couldn’t figure out why her father didn’t play more of a role in her spiritual conundrum, but then I had to replay the last chapter three times because, you know, OH. MY. GOD.
[Gimme a sec, I need to swoon again: *~*SWOON*~* <thud>]
Sorry, where was I? With the wrong narrator, this audiobook would have been a disaster of epic proportions. Nicholas Boulton captured Jervaulx’s anger and anguish — and Maddy’s longing and confusion — so bloody brilliantly I had my headphones on all night for four nights straight. And I stayed up until 3 o’clock this morning and I don’t care if I fall asleep at my desk and drool on my keyboard.
These characters, and all their lovely, glorious angst, will live with me — and I can’t think of much higher praise for an author than that.
He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
This book won the Newbery Medal in 1962, and I can’t believe I’ve never read it before. The historical world-building is utterly enthralling, and narrator Pete Bradbury made the complex characters vivid and unique — I was there every minute, and there were more than a few times I lingered in the parking lot when I arrived at work to listen just a few minutes longer.
The plot went in directions I never expected, and I loved how the secondary characters grew and changed — even more so than the main character. Just when you think Daniel has finally gotten his head out of his nether regions, he has another hissy fit about something and must begin his spiritual and emotional journey all over again. My frustrations with his self-centered cluelessness lowered the grade a bit, but this book might just have a place on the DIK list.
He never knew what hit him.
I’m glad that’s over with. Also, I now know who Kathryn Le Veque has been reading for inspiration.
The Prize is set in 1066 England, with William the Conqueror on the throne in London and his minions crawling the countryside to claim Saxon holdings. One of those minions, our hero Baron Royce, gets clobbered on the head with a stone flung by our slingshot-wielding heroine Nicolaa, a feisty (god help us) Saxon maiden determined to defend her family’s home.
When he regains consciousness, Royce and his men overtake the manor, mostly thanks to Nicolaa’s idiot older brother abandoning her to “go north.” Our spunky (god help us) heroine disguises herself as a nun and claims sanctuary at the nearby abbey where her other brother is recovering from a serious injury. Royce feels all tingly in his manly parts upon meeting the beautiful young nun, but he manages to get them to the convent without disturbing her maidenly essence.
Somehow, Royce manages to figure out that Nicolaa isn’t really a nun, which allows the tingling to burst forth into full-on mental lusting. Nicolaa is too busy swanning about denouncing the Normans and pronouncing things about her family’s honor to notice much about Royce. Except for the fact that he smells good.
After some unimportant secondary character nonsense, Royce forces Nicolaa out of the abbey and on the road to London, where she’ll be auctioned off as the titular “prize” to a deserving Norman lord. Nicolaa insists on bringing along her infant nephew, who she claims is hers by her deceased husband. There is no mention of a wet nurse, so I have no clue how this poor child is being fed, and we get a first glimpse of our heroine utter cluelessness as she flounders to explain the chronology of her fake husband’s death and her pretend child’s birth.
At some point early in the road trip, Nicolaa decides to escape. She does this in the dead of night, with no plan of whatsoever. No food, no weapon, leaving her infant “son” in the hands of god knows who – but she’s sure nothing will happen because she knows the territory. She then promptly falls into a ravine and twists her ankle. She starts to call for help, but – never fear – hero Royce is near. He followed her, because he’s not a clueless idiot.
Why am I geeking out about a Civil War battle, you ask? (I know you’re wondering, admit it….)
This is my great-great-grandfather, Edwin Atkinson, age 22, on the day of his mustering into Company D, 2nd Wisconsin (part of the famous Iron Brigade), in December 1862, in Madison, Wis.. Six months later, he was critically wounded during the first day of fighting at the Battle of Gettysburg.
Born in Yorkshire, England, he was the youngest of eight children. The family moved to the United States around 1843, and were farming near Albany, Wisconsin, when the war broke out.
He married Julia Griffin of Albany, Wis., soon after arriving home; they had three daughters and 18 grandchildren. He died March 26, 1918, in Kamiah, Idaho.
That’s everything we know. Here’s what I’m dying to find out:
Why did the Atkinson family emigrate — with eight young children — to America in the early 1840s? Were they compelled by economic or political conditions in Yorkshire? Maybe they were losing their land and unwilling to become urban factory workers? Were they encouraged by family or friends who had already emigrated? How much did it cost to pack up and move a family of ten across an ocean? What was the crossing like?
How much schooling did Edwin and his siblings receive? Did his parents educate their children at home, or send them down the road to a schoolhouse? Was Edwin satisfied with being a farmer, or did he have other dreams?
At 6′ 1″, Edwin was significantly taller than the average male height of 5′ 7″. Was everyone in his family that tall? (That genetic trait continues on today…) Was he naturally dark-complected, or was he just permanently tan from hours in the farm fields? How did a tall, gangly farm boy adjust to a soldier’s life? What kind of training did he get?
She had proved quite amenable, showing admirable equestrian and culinary skills and generally not making a nuisance of herself.
This story was all over the place, especially the wildly inconsistent, nearly-TSTL heroine and her education at the Convent of Handy Outdoor Survival Techniques.
I bought myself a few Mother’s Day presents. Because Santa didn’t bring me anything from my wish list.
These arrived on my doorstep this week….
The obsession started with watching the (wildly inaccurate) movie Elizabeth with Cate Blanchett. Then I found the book I, Elizabeth by Rosalind Miles at the library, and then I discovered Jean Plaidy, and the rest is…um…history (sorry, couldn’t resist).
The new additions will take their places of honor alongside….
And I read history without pretty pictures too!
Disclaimer: I’m not a trained historian, so I am in no way qualified to judge the veracity or scholarship of any of these books or authors. I’m just an average History Geek looking for great reads that tell (or show!) a great story and compel me to learn even more.
“Actually, these lines seem a bit cheesy.”
I had to choose that quote. How could I not choose that quote? I requested this solely for the “naive Iowa farm girl” bit in the blurb, and the nicest thing I have to say is that it’s exactly what I expected.
This short story (a very strange choice for Entangled’s Flirt line) is one erotica cliché after another (except a billionaire CEO), with some eye-rolling attempts at ridiculously superficial characterization.