Mental Health Reading Challenge 2017

Hey there everyone,

As you probably know by now, I am completely obsessed with reading challenges, especially ones that encourage you to read books centered around a theme. So, this year, I’ve decided to host my own. Welcome to the Mental Health Reading Challenge, which will kick-off on January the 1st.

The aim of the challenge is to raise awareness for the complexity and difficulty of mental illness, to erase stigma and to promote understanding and support. Reading, for me, is a transformative experience. It takes me out of myself and into the experience of other people. If all of us could bring ourselves to that level of empathy, the world would be a better place. I’ve written on this topic before here.

You can sign up for the challenge by commenting on this post. Please include your name or username, the number of books you want to read, and a Goodreads profile or blog where you’ll keep track of your progress.

There are going to be different levels of reader-awesomness.

  • Read 5 books and you get one gold star
  • 6-12 books gets you two stars
  • 13-20 books gets you three stars
  • 21- 30 books = four stars
  • More than 30 books gets you five stars

To make it easier to find books you like, I’ve compiled a list of some of my personal favorites that deal with mental illness, as well as ones I haven’t read but that are widely popular. Of course, books that aren’t on this list are still admissible, as long as they feature at least one character with a mental health problem. Continue reading

The Value Of Uncomplicated Enjoyment

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while probably know that I have a tendency to be analytical and critical, sometimes overly much so. Uncomplicated enjoyment is a rarity in my life: I am too full of doubts and thoughts and worry to really take things as they come. It’s an exhausting way to live.

Fortunately, there are a few exceptions to the rule. Sometimes, when I have already fried my brain with complications and what-ifs, I can sit back and just do something for fun. Concerts are an example of this ability I have to let go. An other example is my long-time fandom of Supernatural.

For those of you who don’t know Supernatural, let me tell you: it’s a very straightforward show. Two gorgeous boys travel up and down America in a very impressive muscle-car, fighting to kill monsters and save the world. Meanwhile, they occasionally take a night off to spend some quality time with a busty blonde, or maybe to get really, really drunk. That’s it, that’s the show.

when-jensen-gazed-lovingly-jared Continue reading

Bisexual Erasure: It’s A Thing

If you’re not doing this yet, please take my advice and go watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. It’s my favorite TV show currently running, with hardly any competition (okay, Westworld is pretty great, but Crazy Ex-GF is more my jam) and a new episode is added to Netflix every week.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend chronicles the tale of Rebecca Bunch, a hot-shot New York lawyer who moves to West Covina, California, essentially to stalk her teenage sweetheart. I hear you thinking it already: that’s not an innovative plot. Furthermore, there’s something sexist about having your main character move cross-country for a man. That doesn’t sound like a cool show at all.

But hear me out. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a show that debunks stereotypes at a heart-stopping rate. Even within the intro, the sexist nature of the show’s title is called out. Rachel Bloom, the writer, songwriter, producer and leading lady of the show, is incredibly self-aware, self-reflexive, funny and politically aware. Continue reading

Kevin Khatchadourian’s Bookshelf

Welcome to the Character’s Bookshelf. This is where I speculate, entirely outside of the space-time continuum and the barriers of language, what books would be a fictional character’s favorites. As you can see here, all of the Character’s Bookshelf posts so far have been about my favorite characters. That’s going to change today: welcome to Kevin Khatchadourian’s bookshelf.

For those of you who don’t know Kevin yet, I’ll give you a quick, spoiler-free bio: Kevin has had a book named after him. It was Lionel Shriver’s We Need To Talk About Kevin and it’s one of the most chilling books I have ever read. Why? Because Kevin is a psycho. I’d imagine, in spite of his lack of empathy, he’d enjoy the books I’ve listed here.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

What’s not to love about Dexter Morgan? Family man, blood spatter analyst and part-time vigilante killer.


Continue reading

3 Things Wrong With Beauty & The Beast And 1 That Isn’t

Although I am a lover of Disney, its songs, theme parks, merchandise, films and basically anything even remotely related, I’d also be the first to admit that some Disney movies are deeply problematic in a number of ways. I think it’s worth mentioning that I am wearing a Simba onesie as I write this, so my love of Disney is stronger than my critique. As the internet is buzzing with news of the live-action Beauty & The Beast remake, I consider it high time to let you know how I feel about that particular narrative.

First of all, I love it. I love the songs, because everything Alan Menken touches is gold. I love the bookish heroine. I love Chip. But there are some things I have doubts about:

This movie basically passes off Stockholm Syndrome as true love.

Stockholm syndrome, or capture-bonding, is a psychological phenomenon first described in 1973 in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors,” Source.

Belle, who only agrees to stay with the Beast to save her old father’s life, eventually falls in love with him. I don’t think that’s healthy.

Also, I think human Chip looks no older than six or seven.

batb-22 Continue reading