Book Hunting Expeditions Mentally Yours Reading Themes

[BHE 250] Launch of March – April Reading Theme: Mentally Yours, Portrayal of Mental Illness and Differently-Abled in Literature


Myra here.

It is quite the special book hunting expedition today as we are launching our new reading theme this March and April.


We are looking for titles that deal with the following themes:

  1. Mental illness in literature
  2. Emotional disturbance, behavioural issues, difficulties in adjusting well to society
  3. Portrayal of disabilities or the differently-abled in books: physical disability, learning disorders, etc.
  4. Grief and depression brought about by bereavement
  5. Terminal illness, accidents, anything that involves hospitalization
  6. Stories of recovery, rehabilitation, therapy, counseling, treatment
  7. Cutting, hurting one’s self, suicide

As we are all psychologists (Fats and Iphigene have been former students of mine as psychology undergraduate students), this topic is of special interest to all of us. It’s actually surprising that it is only now that we have covered this as a reading theme.

Book Hunting From My Own Shelves

First thing I did was to search among the books I already have for possible titles that I can start reading so that I can feature them for our reading theme. And here are a few that I found across different genres:


Shtum by Jem Lester, Unspeakable by Abbie Rushton.


A Quiet Kind Of Thunder by Sara Barnard.


Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo and Me: A Graphic Novel by Ellen Forney, There’s A Dark Dark Wood Inside My Head by B. Wing.


Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier.


I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly and JM Ken Niimura.


Harvey by Hervé Bouchard and Janice Nadeau, Rosalie Lightning by Tom Hart.

From The Library


One Hundred Names For Love by Diane Ackerman.


When We Collided by Emery Lord.


Aldo’s Fantastical Movie Palace by Jonathan Friesen, As Brave As You by Jason Reynolds.


Rush by Jonathan Friesen, Mayday by Jonathan Friesen.


Six Dots: A Story Of Young Louis Braille by Jen Bryant and Boris Kulikov.


Just Behave Pablo Picasso by Jonah Winter and pictures by Kevin Hawkes, Knockin’ On Wood Starring Peg Leg Bates by Lynne Barasch.


Psychiatric Tales by Darryl Cunningham, The Inflatable Woman by Rachael Ball, Drawn Together: Uplifting Comics On the Curious Journey Through Life And Love by Leah Pearlman.

Do you have any titles that you think would fit our reading theme? We’d love to hear your suggestions.

5 comments on “[BHE 250] Launch of March – April Reading Theme: Mentally Yours, Portrayal of Mental Illness and Differently-Abled in Literature

  1. The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner (depression / grief)
    The Ruby Oliver Books by E. Lockhart (anxiety)
    Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (depression / PTSD / amnesia / alcoholism / grief / rehab)
    Recovery Road by Blake Nelson (alcoholism / rehab)
    Pieces of Why by K.L. Going (depression / grief)
    Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (social anxiety / crippling perfectionism)
    Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz (eating disorder)
    The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds (grief)
    I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios (PTSD / alcoholism)
    Sex & Violence by Carrie Mesrobian (trauma)
    Missing You by Meg Cabot (PTSD)
    Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (social anxiety / bipolar disorder / alcoholism)

    This is just from my past two years on Goodreads (er, give or take a few titles), so I know there are more. I’m looking forward to the theme!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Akilah, you are the awesomest! I have already scheduled a review of The Serpent King (like minds!). I’ve featured a review of Saenz’ “Last Night I sang To the Monster” here:
      I thought we featured Me and Earl – but apparently not! – I will be sure to hunt down some of these other titles here. 🙂


      • I wasn’t sure how far back you wanted to go. I know some people/bloggers like to keep their lists super current. I tend to mostly read backlist (a term I picked up after I started blogging, ha), so most of my suggestions will be for older titles. I can probably come up with a couple more.

        (And I did. One popped in my head, so I had to finish the list.)

        The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackey (self-harm)
        Percy Jackson series (dyslexia)
        Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn (trauma / emotional disturbance)
        Pointe by Brandy Colbert (eating disorder / trauma)
        Dangerous by Shannon Hale (physical disability)
        The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (cancer)
        The Year of My Miraculous Appearance by Catherine Ryan Hyde (alcoholism)
        Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta (depression)
        Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta (depression / alcoholism / grief / trauma)
        Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King (grief / alcoholism / depression)
        Night by Elie Wiesel (trauma)

        Also, of course, there is just about any Chris Crutcher book ever written, but I’m thinking specifically of Whale Talk.

        Okay, that’s it, I promise. That is the last of my organized Goodreads list for one. Haha.

        Can you tell I love recommending books?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have just started “Open Heart, Open Mind” by Clara Hughes – Canada’s Olympic athlete who fought severe depression for many years.


  3. Pingback: [Poetry Friday]: Inside my Illness – Gathering Books

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: