The More or Less Definitive Guide to Self-Care: from A to Z by Anna Borges

Pages: 240

Genre: nonfiction; self-help, mental health

My thoughts

Four out of five stars

This book is written as a A to Z list of going through definitions connected to self-care and what they mean to the author.

This format has both good and bad sides; it makes the reading experience a good mix of lighter and more serious subjects, as well as more practical tips and more abstract thoughts concerning the definition and how we think of it. Because I already know and love Anna Borges writing and she does not shy away from talking honestly about mental health and suicidal thoughts. She also writes for online sites, prev. buzzfeed, and the book seems very influenced by that in how it is very much for right-now (with concrete tips like using meditation apps) and I don’t think the book will age that well necessarily. But it does help giving the tips something concrete actions behind them. It’s very much a product of the age of social media in general, but so is the word self-care, if not the concept behind it as is discussed. I think I both wanted and expected a bit more in-depth, but because of the good writing and more extensive thoughts behind each concept, it works even if it’s simple.

I would recommend this both as a starter book to the concept of self-care or one to pick up when you’re feeling low and need a reminder or inspiration, like I did. Overall it’s obvious the intention of the book is not to sell you something, but to ask you to take care of yourself and giving you some reminders around what could work for you.

Reminders I will take from it; Make a damn dentist appointment not because I yet have to, but because you should take care of your health out of self-respect. Take care of & grow my curiosity. Let yourself just be and think less of making a narrative or explanation out of the chaos that can be daily-life. Don’t let anyone fuck with you is self-care. Boundaries are important; time, values, mood, emotional well-being, comfort and safety all. Get a snake plant for better air quality. Create times for just being quiet, even if I’m not going to immediately want to meditate each day.

Self-care is the simple act of listening to my body and responding appropriately, even if it’s not the norm. It’s reminding myself that days off and times of rest are not a luxury, they are an absolute necessity.

The More or Less Definitive Guide to Self-Care: from A to Z by Anna Borges

all the book hauls | Bi-Weekly Update

So, I’ve started buying more physical books (in comparison to none) and then I never do book hauls, so here they all are gathered up. Honestly, a few of these books are from a year ago, but too nice-looking to not include.

  • Astrobiology: a very short introduction by David C. Catling
  • Kant: a very short introduction by Roger Scruton
  • The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus
  • Robin Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (penguin english library edition)
  • A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle (penguin english library edition)
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle (penguin english library edition)
  • To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (penguin vintage classics)
  • By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept by Elizabeth Smart (bught used, panther granada publishing edition from 1978)
  • how to: absurd scientific advice for common real-world problems by randall munroe
  • A Separate Peace by John Knowles (simon and schuester edition)
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher`s Stone (scottish edition)
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (slytherin edition)
  • Dune by Frank Herbert (penguin edition)
  • Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat
  • Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore
  • Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow
  • War on Peace by Ronan Farrow
  • The Iliad by Homer (penguin classics edition)
  • Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson
  • The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman (david fickling edition)
  • Maya by Josten Gaarder (found for free)

The Library Book Haul (aka books I promised to return a month ago, but have not read yet)

  • Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett
  • The Story of More by Hope Jahren
  • Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee
  • The Hidden Girl and Other Stories by Ken Liu
  • The City We Became by N. K. Jemish

The Notebook Haul (mostly gifts)

  • Floral (green) notebook from Paperblank (called poetry in bloom)
  • Flowers (dark) notebook from Paperchase
  • Edinburgh illustration notebook by Libby Walker

New book posts:

  • none.

Other books I’ve been reading:

  • Currently reading Winter Hours by Mary Oliver (poetry/prose/essays)
  • The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson (fantasy, lgbt; lesbian mc)
  • World Without Fish by (graphic novel, nonfiction, enviromental science) by Mark Kurlansky

Added to TBR:

  • A Beautiful Question: Finding Nature’s Deep Design by Frank Wilczek (science)
  • Fundamentals: Ten Keys to Reality by Frank Wilczek (science)
  • The Queen`s Gambit by Walter Tevis (chess, fiction)
  • Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots (fantasy, superheros, lgbt; bi mc, nonbinary)
  • The Monster Baru Cormorant (The Masquerade #2) by Seth Dickinson (fantasy, lgbt; lesbian mc)
  • The Summer of Everything by Julian Winters (contemporary YA, lgbt; m/m)
  • Tell Me by Kim Addonizio (poetry)
  • Bound by Claire Schwartz (poetry)
  • Hours Inside Out by Isabella Presiz (poetry)

Three things on my mind:

  • About physical books; it’s funny how much taking photos of books is would boost my book posts more than anything. My short review of graffiti by Savannah Brown is a perfect example, it gets too many views each day solely from google image searches. I’m using the library more this year and in general have bought more physical books, so I hope to also take more photos, because I do love that aspect as well. I definitely did a lot when living at home, to the point where we would rarely get good natural light in winter and it annoyed me because book photos were worse, hahha. Physical books are just more expensive and less convenient. You’re talking about the girl who at the age of 10 years old chose to learn books in english instead of the translated norwegian copies because they cost so much. But I do prefer having physical copies of science and poetry books a lot over digital ones, because it’s so much easier to refer to and really sit down and take time with reading the book. I would love to have a copy of all my favourite books on hand in case friends are looking for recommendations, but I just don’t have the money for all the fantasy series that would include, as the student I am.

  • I started writing a short thing about how I’ve been thinking about gender for a while, as I did put off an imminent gender crisis during the first season of covid-19 lockdown. But then it turned into its own whole thing, and I think it will just be a post on its own because it fits nowhere else. Not that it has any conclusion, it’s more of an on-going discussion with myself.

  • I’ve listened to & loved the podcast Reply All from Gimlet Media for years. To the point that when company after company was revealed to have racist practices and similiar recently, I actually thought about if these (until now seemingly empathic) white guys behind Gimlet Media would disappoint me to. But instead they’ve hired and otherwise given platform to producers of color with a purpose to cover a more diverse range of topics. And it’s really brought things to my feed that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise, I think. A very recent addition to this is a series on the Bon Apetit test kitchen which had a “online reckoning” last summer with being exposed for being racist. Told by reporter Sruthi Pinnamaneni, she goes hard in the first episode by calling a huge number of past and current employees over a period of twenty years and highlights the many people of color that has quit already way back because they were devalued in different ways because of the color of their skin and them not coming from the same background or looking the same as every other white person in the kitchen. She does an expert job by pointing out other possible causes for situation as well, many of these people struggled at the time to understand it themselves, but overall it shows a pattern. Especially in comparison to the newest known scandals that made so many very-much-loved-by-the-audience cast members quit. Absolutely worth listening to, I’m sure the next episodes are going to be great as well.
  • Resistance is another new podcast by Gimlet Media hosted by Saidu Tejan-Thomas Jr. all about the front lines of the Black Lives Matter movement. The third episode “Shake the Room” was the first I listened to, and the story of how american police targeted protesters months later, and this example of how they showed up at the house of the Warriors in the Garden protestor Derrick Ingram in particular, really shook me to my core in its injustice and the potential and threat of violence.

merry christmas & all that | Bi-Weekly Update

New book posts:

NOne. I took somewhat of an unexpected vacation.

Other books I’ve been reading:

  • I bought and started to read The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus until I realized I was truly not in the right head-space to read about the philosophy behind taking your own life right before Christmas, which I think is fair.
  • Sweetdark by Savannah Brown!!! It’s so good!!! If you’re looking for a poetry collection, this is it. Review will be out sometime soon.
  • I might have read the whole, very popular hp marauders fanfic All The Young Dudes by MsKingBean89 and then added it as a book to my goodreads because it’s … 520k words. It is breath-takingly amazing, the writing only gets better as the years pass for the marauders. Remus and Sirius are both queer, but not in a forced way. Everything in the story just makes sense and gives hp fans everything they deserve, I am just late to the party here. All praise to MsKingBean89, must you have a wonderful christmas and a wonderful life. Someone yell it from the sky at me if they publishes writing of their own.
  • I read Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett the night I was awake before my train home for christmas, then the whole train-ride home. It was amazing fantasy.

Added to TBR:

  • Shorefall (The Founders Trilogy #2) by Robert Jackson Bennett (fantasy, lgbt; f/f romance, found-family trope, heist book). The first book of the series Foundryside was not perfect, but it was really good.
  • What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe (nonfiction; science, physics, illustrated). Made by the same author as the great & nerdy webcomic xkcd, also a former physicist and NASA robotics employee, so this book got to be good.

Three things on my mind:

  • I have never needed a good amount of time to not do anything, with nearly-free-conscience, this much before. Exams went to hell, not because I did bad, but because I didn’t do them at all. (You can’t fail me if I do not participate and all that). It’s very on-brand in that I have a tendency to do something completely or not at all, which is the mind-set I truly had pre-university. Abandoned it at uni this far for a reason. Sometimes things start out as irony and develop into a part of yourself, as with that one. Anyway, exams failed because of bad health and chronic illness flare-up. Surprisingly, when you go home from the hospital after doctors haven’t found out what the fuck is wrong with you this time, you can’t suddenly expect to get better the next day, or week, or month? I really pushed myself through all those medical things (and there were many), went home to my mom for a break, failed to study for exams, failed to go back to my university city at scheduled time because I was feeling too unwell for the train-ride. Then finally got back to the city a week later, failed to study even more and then did more medical things while being on the brink of exhaustion. That last medical procedure felt like torture, just because my body was so done with it all, while it might be the easiest of them all overall. In many ways, I did get the whole exam period stress and then the relief-from-completion experience, only with a lot more shittier steps to it. 2/10 won’t recommend, with the plus point for having been worse before.
  • I bought myself a couple jewellery items as a gift from my mom this christmas, which is very rare for me, but I got so excited over them and have been for months. We were all feeling bad because of getting to the christmas shopping too late in the middle of this chaos and no one really knew what to do. Ended up with getting her more gifts than usual in fear of nothing making it before christmas, my favorite of them all being the very useful hairbrush, but with Frozen Elsa motive because what else do they sell online here? Nothing else, I can assure you. (When Amazon rarely/expensively sends to your country). As I write this, I haven’t gotten the jewellery yet but loooook –

IT’S THE DAGGER EAR THING OF MY DREAMS. I might just go ahead and use the rest of my gifted money on actually getting piercings this new year, when corona hopefully sometimes calms down, that would be cool.

  • I should have said this already, but I hope you are having as good of a christmas or holiday season as you can! I am so sorry if your area is hit badly with COVID-19 right now. As someone who is in the risk group; I am so deeply tired, I understand and I feel so much sympathy. From the tone of this post, it might not be a surprise to find out my christmas has been rocky. Here’s some of my things I’m really grateful for this season, that I do not take for granted; I am with my mom & brother, who means the world to me. I am on a never-ending quest to text the people I care about, who I might not have stayed in touch with as much this past year, and wish them well. Photos of people getting the corona vaccine are making me happy every time I see them. My 17 year old brother have not out-grown or gotten too embarrassed to dance to old Nicki Minaj songs on Just Dance on our very old, but newly found Wii console. I have to learn how to make christmas dinner, because we do not have access to our family of chefs this year, even though they’re literally across the street. I am grateful that no one of the affected by COVID that is close to me have been at particular at risk or hit hard by it.

Soooo merry christmas, happy holidays and let’s all stay safe, also over new years?

the return of autumn and corona, i guess | Bi-Weekly Update

New book posts:

Other books I’ve been reading:

  • The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel A. van der Kolk
  • Paper Girls vol. 1 – 6 by Brian K. Vaughan
  • The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller
  • Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
  • When I Arrived at the Castle by Emily Carroll

Added to TBR:

  • Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse (urban fantasy with anti-heroine)
  • Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant (horror with mermaids, f/f)
  • Merchants of Doubt by Oreskes and Conway (science, climate change)
  • Enchantée by Gita Trelease (set in Paris 1789, historical, witches)
  • Plain Bad Heroines by emily m. danforth, same as the author of “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” (horror, boarding all girls school, sapphic dark academia)
  • Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft (short stories, witches, queer characters)
  • Kingdom of Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco (young adult fantasy with witches)
  • Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, same author as Mexican Gothic which I would like to read as well (horror with vampires, set in Mexico City)

Three things on my mind:

  • Maybe rewatching two seasons of Hannibal in two days are not what you should do when you’ve been sick (with a sinus infection, not corona, I’ve done two tests) the whole week and only just gotten good enough to walk out of the house for food, but it did feel worth it at the time. I’m going to have to reconnect with the outside world and actual people again now, so wish me luck there.
  • I have since starting writing this rejoined society and I wasn’t aware of how much I was missing (of course my friends but more specifically) older students and the motivation they bring by just existing and being passionate about their degree or certain physics fields. This semester I’ve found myself constantly questioning why I’m doing this and not just taking a year off, because the constant struggle between hospital visits, bad health and trying to complete my second year during a pandemic is tearing me down. I feel I’ve reached some kind of personal conclusion now, but I do think we need to remind each other than no matter what one person is going through right now they’re also going through a pandemic. It’s difficult to support one another when we’re not supposed to socialize outside of friendgroups, but I think it’s something we need to find creative solutions for fast.
  • Speaking of it; Corona has made a comeback here this week. I’m so deeply tired of it, as we all are of course. We’re again stuck in the middle of not knowing how bad this outbreak is right now before it’s been another ten days or so. Motivation is sinking among the student body, or at least my friends. I have a whole lot of hospital appointments for chronic illness this fall and I’m worried that they’re going to be postponed, but at the same time I’m passed the point of worry for much of this. I’ve lived in such a heightened state of awareness as a young person in the risk group that I don’t know how I’m going to react this time around if (at least partly) lockdown happens, but it will definitely be different, because it’s become our new normal to such a degree.

The Eleven Books I Never Seem to Finish (Part Two)

I’ve got a currently-reading shelf on goodreads that always contains too many books that I picked up and never really finished or stopped reading. And then I made a post all about my excuses and what I liked or didn’t like about them, which got way to long and this is the second part of that. Here’s part one.

Permanent Record by Edward Snowden

When I started reading the book: September 2019

Have I picked it up since? No

I listened to Edward Snowden’s voice in the audiobook go through every aspect of how he turned out a whistle-blower, about mass surveillance, how intelligence agencies work, how his experiences has made him into an expert the last six years. It’s about growing up online, morality and that’s how far I got. I think I found some pieces truly interesting, but was a bit bored by the background of the person that is Edward Snowden (it is part memoir after all) just because I’m less interested in that than what he thinks about the digital now and future. Which I’m sure he would’ve gotten to eventually.

Why am I not reading it? I don’t quite know? But it’s that type of book that you want to dive into and do your own research as well, and it’s a bit thought and time consuming, which I’m not up for right now.

Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku

When I started reading the book: December 2019

Have I picked it up since? No

I truly can’t say much about this book as I got 50 pages into a 300 page book and hadn’t made up my mind quite. It’s supposed to be about the science needed to mmake impossible things like death rays or force fields or invisibility cloaks real.

Why am I not reading it? I don’t know why I never got back to it

A collection of norwegian debut poems

When I started reading the book: February 2020

Have I picked it up since? No

Here I am trying to become a better person by reading more norwegian – my first language – which I haven’t done much of the last decade and only because of being forced to through high school.

Why am I not reading it? have you ever borrowed a book from the library and then … left town leaving it there? It’s somewhat of a pain to have to extend the return date for half a year (blaming corona again). I would just get a new copy of this one, the problem being that it’s a bit difficult to get my hands on. Poetry and ebooks aren’t always a thing, I’ve recently come to learn.

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

When I started reading the book: February 2020

Have I picked it up since? No

I read Ocean’s poetry and felt a strong need to read his newer fiction as well. It’s as strikingly beautiful and vulnerable, but I picked it up at a highly-anxious time and found that it wasn’t the mindset I wanted to be in reading this book. It’s synopsis explains it truly well actually; “Asking questions central to our American moment, immersed as we are in addiction, violence, and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one’s own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard.”

Why am I not reading it? too powerful in its pain and violence in a time where I unfortunately wasn’t up for that

By Grand Central Station I Sat Down And Wept by Elizabeth Smart

When I started reading the book: March 2020

Have I picked it up since? No

I truly am mad about not finishing this book because it’s only 128 pages. It’s not that complex, to be real, even if it is a good story. And I was about to finish it in one sitting, as I was literally sitting on the floor in front of the oven waiting for my food to cook. And into the empty kitchen comes one of the many people I live with and comments on it in a way that left a bad taste in my mouth. As if I was sitting there crossed-legged and disheveled reading an old book for the quirky ~aesthetic~ of it, even though no one else was there. I don’t even know now why it made me so suddenly furious, but it was a generally bad time for me, on the verge of deciding whether to leave town because of corona and being very sick from migraines. Simply put, if commenting on what someone is reading, don’t be an asshole about it.

It is a pretty cute, worn edicition though, I picked it up form an Edinburgh used book shop extremely cheap.

Why am I not reading it? I can still feel the ghost of the fury I felt every time I try to finish it

To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

When I started reading the book: June 2020

Have I picked it up since? Yes

Why am I not reading it? Each summer I seem to bring with me one ‘heavy’ physical book absolutely everywhere, and never get to it until my patience runs out and I just sit down and get through it, finding myself enjoying it a lot. I think this is this years book, as I do truly like Woolf’s writing, even if her style is what makes this particular book ‘heavy’, while last year it was the physics of ‘Six Easy Pieces’ by Richard Feynman.

My Favourite Podcasts 2020 Update

I used to do this series of favourite podcasts last year, and then I started uni and got friends (hahahha, more like didn’t have an hour commute anymore tbh) and stopped listening to as many. But now there’s covid-19 and well – I’m back to loving podcasts.

Podcasts previously mentioned that I still listen to a lot:

(Let me know if you want to discuss any of these, honestly! I’ve linked to where I wrote more about them. I can’t believe there’s this few now compared to before, and yet there’s so many.) Reply All by Gimlet Media, Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green, Ologies by Alie Ward, Nancy by WNYC studios (it just posted its last episode though … find me crying in the corner), the Legendarium, Cortex by CGP Grey and Myke Hurley, No Dumb Questions by Destin Sandlin and Matt Whittman, Hello Internet by CGP Grey and Brady Haran, Dear Hank & John by John & Hank Green, Delete This by Hank & Katherine Green and the Wikicast by Simon Clark and Dan Maw.

‘New’ Podcasts I Love

SciShow Tangents

  • The SciShow team: Hank Green, Ceri Riley, Stefan Chin and Sam Schulz
  • Weird and funny science facts centered around a topic, with the group (mostly Hank) going on a few weird & funny tangents as well. The group just has a great dynamic and different levels of background knowledge, making it very accessible. I still sometimes miss the video couch format of the ‘beta-version’ (in my mind) Holy Fucking Science though.

The Catch and Kill Podcast

  • by Ronan Farrow, Pineapple Street Studios
  • Made as a continuation of the book Farrow made by the same name where he goes through reporting on the revelation of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assaults, but also how NBC tried to manipulate and hold him back. The book goes very much in depth on the pattern of different powerful people’s assault & manipulation, and then the cover-ups. I would recommend listening to that audiobook as well if you’re even more interested after finishing the podcast.
  • The podcast is a good ten-episode summary focusing more on just Weinstein and how the women he assaulted took brave stances to take him down, in addition to the last episode with Rose McGowan made after the verdict of Weinstein.

Two Headed Girl

  • I would probably listen to anything Alex Cox puts out tbh, but their partner Mattie Cox is so amazing in sharing his story transitioning from female to male in this podcast, taking the listener with them on every step of the way and being so vulnerable. It seems to be both a podcast to process and document this time of their life as well as explain and teach anyone who wants to listen.
  • Their own pitch is “Welcome to Two Headed Girl, a new show about gender, mental illness, and all sorts of transitions made by a couple of married queers trying to figure themselves out.” which sums it up pretty pretty good.

Lovett or Leave It

  • by Jon Lovett, Crooked Media
  • I found this podcast, while actually already knowing about Jon Lovett before, because I was trying to find more interviews with Ronan Farrow and he happened to have made a rare recent podcast with his partner Jon Lovett because of being in quarantine together. But it’s news-related, trying to bring it with some humor where possible. These corona/Black Lives Matter days it’s more interviews and segments, with jokes in between, which is a great mix if sometimes news-related things are too much.

Wind of Change

  • by Patrick Radden Keefe, Crooked Media
  • Eight episodes in total of 1990’s rock music or more specifically how and if the CIA was involved in writing the famous “Wind of Change” by the Scorpions, the soundtrack of the revolution aka Berlin Wall falling and the Soviet Union collapsing. Really, it’s a podcast about how the CIA operates, how propaganda works and how far a journalist is willing to go to figure out if a rumor from a credible enough source is true.

The Scaredy Cats Horror Show

  • by the Reply All team Alex Goldman (horror fan) trying to convert PJ Vogt (scaredy cat) for Gimlet Media. I don’t know how I found podcasts pre-university because apparently I found a lot, but since then I’ve basically just become aware as existing podcasters I listen to have started new ones.
  • It’s basically an experiment of ‘can you gradually get used to horror movies so you’re not as afraid of the really scary ones anymore’. I’ve listened to the five episodes so far without watching any of the horror movies, and the only one I truly wanted to watch out of them was Midsommar, but I have definitely brought horror podcasts and stories into my life in a bigger way, so maybe it actually worked anyway?? I’m confused about that, but it’s great. Also fun to listen to PJ Vogt actually being really scared, sorry for laughing about that, I would be too.

The Magnus Archives

  • by Jonathan Sims and Alexander J. Newall from Rusty Quill
  • There’s a 173 episode back catalogue as of right now, but after a few days I’m 35 episodes in and hooked. It’s a horror podcast with a huge fanbase (and soo much good fanart). As far as I’ve figured, it starts out really episodic with different people coming into the magnus archive to tell about their supernatural experiences and get them investigated, and then the archive itself is attacked and it gradually becomes more of meta storytelling. Would recommend it even if you’re not such a big horror fan, like me. The stories themselves (at least at the start) are not that horrifying, but the storytelling is just amazing.

Bipolar books; When We Collided, An Unquiet Mind | Book Review

This is basically me doing two reviews in one, with an intro.

Do you every just realize that you don’t know enough about a group of people’s situation? That’s me after bipolar disorder is a thing that has popped up with a question mark among multiple friends more recently. It makes sense; there’s a lot that will show first signs of bipolar in their early twenties, I’ve started at university where people are under a lot of stress, people are separated from their families and more open because they need support. There’s a whole list of causes.

Read a webmd page on what bipolar is on your own, I’m not going to oversimplify it and then obviously get it wrong. I think An Unquiet Mind’s description of it and constantly using manic-depressive instead makes more sense for people unfamiliar, if not for the actual researchers.

I think I knew more about bipolar than most going into this tiny project, but that’s just because the bar is low. I love this podcast especially by sickboy, called My little blue devil and I where a girl Siobhan talks very openly and with humor about her experiences living with bipolar type 2.

As someone who has other illnesses; what I think is most important to keep in mind is that if you’re reading an account of one person’s experience, that’s that one single person. It might give you better insight into what they’re dealing with, but you can’t apply that to everyone else in that category, which makes sense logically, but people seem to completely forget it when it comes to physical and mental illnesses.

When We Collided by Emery Lord

This is a contemporary young adult with a bit of romance. It has such great characters who form a big chosen family type of bond (though many are siblings so … actual family) with their different problems. The main character Vivi is new in town & has bipolar disorder and is definitely the best written of them. It brings all the summer feelings of a romance, along with all the messiness of someone not stable, but naturally so extroverted and fierce that at the beginning it’s hard to tell for those she interacts with. I’m so mad about reviews that call her a manic pixie dream girl because 1) didn’t someone write a long article about never using that description again and we all agreed and 2) she’s literally manic and you can obviously see the switch. Is there anything I’ve learned in the past couple months it’s that a symptom of manic state is that people don’t have the same risk calculation ability.

4/5 stars. I didn’t enjoy every part as I read it, but it’s stuck in my head, especially Vivi, for a month now.

An Unquiet Mind by Kay. R. Jamison

Trigger warning for suicidal and suicide attempt.

This is a memoir from someone who knows what she’s talking about, having bipolar in her family, struggling with it through her university days, eventually researching bipolar disorder and then getting the diagnosis.

I decided early in graduate school that I needed to do something about my moods. It quickly came down to a choice between seeing a psychiatrist or buying a horse. Since almost everyone I knew was seeing a psychiatrist, and since I had an absolute belief that I should be able to handle my own problems, I naturally bought a horse.

That quote sounds about right. Reminds me a lot of;

Anyway, she eventually sells the horse and gets a psychiatrist and Lithium basically saves her life, as she describes it. Along with the amazing descriptions of living with bipolar, the part where she questions her intentions and her career really got to me. She’s got to face the concept that her disorder might make her a bad psychologist, then she goes through all the reasons why that’s wrong. And the checks she has in place if she were to go suddenly into mania (though unlikely). She instead uses that drive and passion to be a better researcher on her own disorder, which was really inspiring.

But I compare myself with my former self, not with others. Not only that, I tend to compare my current self with the best I have been, which is when I have been mildly manic. When I am my present “normal” self, I am far removed from when I have been my liveliest, most productive, most intense, most outgoing and effervescent. In short, for myself, I am a hard act to follow.

They all seemed very related to one another at the time. Not only did they seem related, but they seemed together to contain some essential key to the grandiosely tizzied view of the universe that my mind was beginning to spin.

5/5 stars. It’s beautifully written, so honest and I’m honestly impressed about the courage to publish (in 1995) for someone who is very aware about the risks of having her career as a clinical psychologist questioned afterwards.

Spring TBR!

I didn’t think I would create a TBR because who knows when I’d get time to read because of university. And then it all went to hell and I need more structure in my life so here we gooo – a Spring TBR it is.

  • By grand central station I sat down and wept by Elizabeth Smart
  • The stranger by Albert Camus
  • All the lonely people by David Owen
  • The picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  • On earth we’re briefly gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
  • Permanent record by Edward Snowden
  • To the lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  • Notes from underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • The incendiaries by R. O. Kwon
  • Red, white and royal blue by Casey McQuiston
  • The serpent king by Jeff Zentner
  • Catch and kill by Ronan Farrow
  • So far so good by Ursula Le Guin
  • Hermosa and Tesoro by Yesika Salgado
  • The bell jar by Sylvia Plath

A Woman in the Polar Night by Christiane Ritter | Book Review

A new book on the list of all-time favourites.

Genre: nonfiction, memoir, travel to the Arctic

Pages: 224

Synopsis

In 1934, the painter Christiane Ritter leaves her comfortable life in Austria and travels to the remote Arctic island of Spitsbergen, to spend a year there with her husband. She thinks it will be a relaxing trip, a chance to “read thick books in the remote quiet and, not least, sleep to my heart’s content”, but when Christiane arrives she is shocked to realize that they are to live in a tiny ramshackle hut on the shores of a lonely fjord, hundreds of miles from the nearest settlement, battling the elements every day, just to survive.

At first, Christiane is horrified by the freezing cold, the bleak landscape the lack of equipment and supplies… But as time passes, after encounters with bears and seals, long treks over the ice and months on end of perpetual night, she finds herself falling in love with the Arctic’s harsh, otherworldly beauty, gaining a great sense of inner peace and a new appreciation for the sanctity of life.

This rediscovered classic memoir tells the incredible tale of a woman defying society’s expectations to find freedom and peace in the adventure of a lifetime. 

My thoughts

Four out of five stars

Rating out of five: five stars

Reading this book was an experience, one that made me actually want to take a trip further north than Norway, to experience the Arctic for myself. Which sounds both dumb and unrealistic, but truly read this book if you want to understand why.

This book is special because of many reasons. It’s a memoir from 1934 by a german woman, the painter Christiane Ritter. Her husband has already fallen in love with the Arctic, and she decided to uproot her comfortable and rich life and see what it’s all about herself. He warns her about how isolated it really is, but it’s almost as if he’s forgotten the big change from normal city life already, becoming used to having to fend for himself, to have no one to turn to when the hut gets covered in snow, and travelling great distances to search for a better stove to cook on.

It’s obvious that it’s written in another time from Christiane Ritter’s position in life, but the emotion she conveys through very sparce wording was really breathtaking. I know enough about the cold emptiness of certain landscapes that I felt I could recognize it, and the feelings the vastness brings after you get over its overwhelming fear of isolation.

Everyone should give this book a chance, it won’t be for everyone’s taste, but it earns its place among my favourite books of all time because of its uniqueness. Why did I feel like this contains lessons in writing as well. I really wanted to add some quotes, but I left the beautiful book filled with markings at home by the university, and as its closed for now, this will have to do.

My feelings reading this book: fear on Christiane’s behalf, then impressed & mindblown. I really loved the third person with them most of the time, the Norwegian, who Christiane talks about the strange customs of. He represented my norwegian heart too well.

Book Haul #2

I rarely buy books, compared to a lot of book blogs. But finally I’ve gathered enough recent buys. Also I just bullet-pointed the interesting parts to me of those synopsis because some make them way too long.

These shallow graves by Jennifer Donnelly

  • Mystery; main character’s dad is murdered and she investigates

A brief history of time by Stephen King

  • Physics <3<3

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

  • I love Murakami’s writing usually
  • Magical realism ❤
  • Set in Tokyo
  • I cannot decipher everything that the synopsis says happen in this book, only that it follows a lot of people, including a writer, a cult, a private investigator, a bodyguard and a women’s shelter?? Is that right? Sounds like Murakami

The body in pain by Elaine Scarry

  • One of my goals of 2019 was to find out how to describe pain, which might sound strange, but makes sense I promise. This was the place to start, according to a lot of sources.

Ebooks:

In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad #1) by Tana French

  • Set in Dublin
  • Murder investigation following a detective
  • Promising lots of mystery

Demons Lie (A Girl’s Guide To Witchcraft And Demon Hunting #1) by Sherry D. Ficklin

  • Main character out for revenge on mother’s murder
  • Killing demons
  • High school graduation a big thing??
  • Hinting at main character turning darker

A very large expanse of sea by Tahereh Mafi

  • Main character is a muslim girl who’s sixteen living in the US after 9/11 dealing with harassment

NetGalley:

Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II by Robert Matzen

  • About Audrey Hepburn during the Nazi occupation in Netherlands, which I’ve never considered
  • Parents was pro-nazi from what I see from the synopsis
  • Story of how she suceeded as a ballerina

How to Fracture a Fairy Tale by Jane Yolen

  • Rewritten fairy tales

Have you read any of these books? Or bought any other books you’re excited about?