Hard Times: Mental Health Books 2021
From Publishers Weekly:
The tumult of the past 15 months has exacerbated common mental health concerns, among them trauma, anxiety, grief, and isolation. PW spoke with authors and editors about the emotional scars of the pandemic, and how their forthcoming books offer empathy, community, and guidance.
Unforgettable reads focusing on mental health
From Amazon Book Review: “To celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite books dealing with mental health, and it’s no surprise that connection is the theme that runs through all of them.”
How Booksellers Were Complicit in the Resurgence of White Supremacy and the Rise of Donald Trump
“Josh Cook Considers the Relationship Between Bookselling, Politics, and Free Speech”
Literary critic, novelist, and poet Josh Cook is a bookseller at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This piece is an excerpt from his book The Least We Can Do: White Supremacy, Free Speech, and Independent Bookstores (Biblioasis, 2021).
Like many industries and institutions, booksellers have done a lot of work in the last few years in response to the Trump administration, the Black Lives Matter Movement, the #MeToo movement, and other events and forces for social change in our society. We’ve formed committees, hosted panels, and held training sessions and though all of that is important, I have almost never seen booksellers grapple directly with the economic, social, and moral consequences of selling books by white supremacists, fascists, misogynists, and other believers in objectively dangerous ideologies.
Barry Jenkins On Avoiding The Exploitation Of Black Trauma In “The Underground Railroad”
Sagal Mohammed discusses Jenkins’s adaptation, currently streaming on Amazon Prime, of Colson Whitehead’s 2016 novel:
Thanks to Jenkins’ vigilantly balanced portrayal of excruciating racist violence and blissful joy, The Underground Railroad avoids accusations of exploiting Black trauma for which other shows — like Little Marvin’s Us-inspired horror series Them — have recently been criticized. But there’s no denying the emotional toll the show will take, particularly on its Black viewers.
Serious Trouble: Writing Character-Driven Thrillers
Novelist Elizabeth Brundage describes how finding characters and getting to know them comprises the process of producing her novels. I found her explanation informative because, although she doesn’t use precisely this terminology, what she’s really describing is learning (actually, creating) their life story: “I set out to write about a person at a particular time in their life when something happens to create a shift in their world-view.”
Did the Pandemic Change Summer Reading for Good? I Hope So.
“With our calendars cleared last year, many of us found more time to lose ourselves in books. Let’s hold onto that vibe this year.”
From Elisabeth Egan:
The summer of 2020 was a dud when it came to barbecues, vacations, family reunions, pedicures and swiping a lick from someone else’s ice cream cone. But there was one mainstay Covid couldn’t wreck: reading. For me, those empty, quiet nights were a reminder of the boredom that pushed me into the arms of books in the first place.
© 2021 by Mary Daniels Brown