Mental health awareness month reading

I’m a avid speaker on the topic of mental health and when I heard of this #mentalhealthawarenessmonth, I just picked the two books I have already been meaning to read and one I bought for the month

1. Schizophrenia by Divakar Choudhury

Published by penguin

This book is such a good account of first hand experience with a mental illness,but I hardly see it any where,no reviews on Amazon, Goodreads anywhere,my sister picked it randomly at a library cafe and got so intrigued that we got it .

Mental health is often ignored by people of all classes,
This book is a story of a man,a well known teacher,son of a well known lawyer who killed his wife and kids in a rage,got capital punishment which was later converted into life imprisonment due to his mental condition of schizophrenia

Of course killing people even incase of insanity is not acceptable but ‘what if this man got treated and diagnosed on time?’

During the case the family drowned in debts,and mental pressure,
Written by his brother we see closely how Divakar Choudhury falls in to mental illness and his treatment phase .

**According to the World Health Organisation, one in every 100 persons suffers from schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterised by abnormalities in the perception or expression of reality. In other words, a person loses the ability to think, feel or behave in a normal way. Patients suffer from hallucinations and delusions – they hear voices and see strangers around them. It starts in the most productive period of life 15-45 years**

2. Turtles all the way down by John green

Firstly for me no one puts down the feeling of actually dealing with anxiety and other mental & physical illness like John green

Secondly man how do you know and understand how women thinks ?its awesome

This book takes a little time to catch up but once it catches the pace it’s very tantalising

Most of the time, we are inside the protagonist Aza’s head, listening to swift and unsteady thoughts of this young girl dealing with OCD & severe mysophobia. The rational part of her,sees a therapist and fitfully takes medication, tries to talk herself down. But her mind is mostly in chaos
Unlike greens other girls she is more vulnerable but still have that quirky humor,
The other characters are Mychal Turner, an aspiring artist, and her best friend Daisy Ramirez, who writes Star Wars fan-fiction with whom she shares most things and had a brief drift.
The other character I really liked is the billionaire’s son Davis with whom Aza begin a relationship.

This book has some really great relatable Quotes(too relatable to be honest) and that’s what I love about John green ,he just gets how the Mind of young adults works in situations and then throws them in to it and take us to their thoughts.

I did not cry in this like in the fault in her stars but I could feel my own anxiety towering during the read.

3. The gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee

“The point is this: if you cannot separate the phenotype of mental illness from creative impulses, then you cannot separate the genotype of mental illness and creative impulse”

A beautiful written history of mental health problems and their solutions from past to present, also many buzz worthy topics are covered like gender and sexual identity, genetic screening to make a few

Mukherjee walks us through many exceptional people who did their work in the field to genetics and also stories of many ‘faux- scientists’

Also we see the ill treatment of people with mental illnesses in the past, that includes one of his own family members from father’s side as well .
Aristotle, Darwin and Mendel to eugenics in Nazi camps to modern embryonic stem cells development,he tried to cover it’s all

All this makes this book abit tedious to some people but it’s so informative and we’ll written and because I love genetics so much

All the three books in this selection deals with different types of mental illness with different outlooks first one the schizophrenia is an account of a family memeber and therefore is more emotional,and more touchy more gritty

Second one is a fictional account,the more entertaining YA novel but it definitely get the feelings of how it feels

And the third book is definitely the one with more scientific evidence and a more academic and scientific approach and will give you a proper understanding of the historical background and social stigmas around the mental health through ages.


Wonder by RJ Palacio …a review and an analysis on the favoured child

I’m not a fan of character driven books but this book just made me go all aww over it
This book is just beautiful

This is such a sweet and powerful story of a boy called August. He isn’t any different from any of us – his heart, his soul. But his face – yes, that is different.

A ten year old boy auggie,who has severe facial deformation due to a genetic disorder and has undergone years of treatment and many surgeries and is starting proper school for the first time and as we all know it kids can be very mean sometimes. But he is so strong – coping with operations and bullies and everything with so much love it’s moving.

Also we also see auggie’s story from other people’s eyes and dive deep into his life and the life of people around him – how they have changed and developed through knowing him.

My favourite eyes were of his sister Via,who is a teenager and going through all the teenage stuff herself.

Here Olivia learns to adjust to her parents preferring Augusts needs over her’s. At a very young age she realises that whatever she is going through will always be less painful than auggie’s problems.

But at times we see her breaking ,teenage girl going through highschool,loosing friends may not be as bad as auggie’s genetic disorders but still it does bother Olivia but she is resistant to share her problems with the parents

Ever since I read this book I felt like many times in real life also we see around us and feel that one sibling is being favoured, that does not necessarily means one child is loved more than others but may be more attention.

So how does it actually effect and shape a person’s life?

I did some research and here are some facts

  • Affect favoured or both?

Though I feel giving one child more attention does not necessarily means more love but the study, published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, revealed that these possible outcomes can affect both the favored and unfavored child.

  • Younger or elder

Also the elder and younger siblings react differently to the situation.

Specifically, Brigham Young University’s Alex Jensen found that favouritism is linked more to younger siblings’ parent-child relationships than with the older siblings’.

If the younger sibling feels like they’re the favourite, and the parents agree, their relationship is strengthened. If they don’t feel like the favourite and the parents agree with that, the opposite happens. Surprisingly with older siblings, whether they feel favoured or not, it has no major impact on the relationship.

  • Perception is everything

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re the chosen child or not, the perception of unequal treatment has damaging effects for all siblings,” explains Dr. Karl Pillemer, Ph.D., director of the Cornell Institute for Translational Research on Aging and one of the authors of the article.

  • “The less favored kids may have ill will toward their mother or preferred sibling, and being the favored child brings resentment from one’s siblings and the added weight of greater parental expectations.
  • Some positives

Long-term effects of being the favored child are not all negative. Ellen Weber Libby, Ph.D. asserts that there are, in fact, lots of advantages – including a bolstered self-esteem.

“The favorite child often grows up feeling confident and powerful with an attitude of ‘I can get things done,’” says Dr. Libby, author of The Favorite Child: How a Favorite Impacts Every Family Member for Life.

Dr. Libby points out that every American president since Franklin D. Roosevelt has been the favorite child.

  • Some Negatives

On the flip side, in the long-term, favorite children may struggle with intimate relationships when they find that no one can possibly love them as much as the parent who favored them.
“They’re more likely to be depressed because they spent so much of their lives trying to court parental favor that they may not have developed their own personality,” Dr. Libby says.
“Likewise, the overlooked child, who didn’t have to do the ‘pleasing dance,’ may have been free to experience the things he or she wanted to experience and to be the person he or she wanted to be. On the other end of the extreme is the unfavored child, who is often on the receiving end of the parent’s anger.”

*The unfavored child

The unfavored child perhaps stands to suffer the most – even long after he or she has left home whether it be through depression, weakened self-esteem or a chronic need to feel special.
In many cases, sibling relationships are strained as resentment from favoritism breeds.
“I see patients who, even well into their 50s, carry feelings about being the favored or unfavored child,” Dr. Libby says. “I have a patient in his 60s whose mom is still alive. He still feels slighted when his elderly mom needs something and turns to his sister. He still wants to be seen as special to his mother.”

Long term

Dr. Brenda Volling, director and research professor at the University of Michigan’s Center for Human Growth and Development, studies sibling relationships and knows all too well the devastating effects that can result from sibling relationships gone wrong particularly due to parental favoritism.
“When you’re young, you have to live in the same household,” she says. “When kids have grown and left the house, you’ll see a lot of instances where siblings avoid each other to the point where they haven’t talked in five years.
“The relationship can be that strained. And when parents get older, sibling rivalries don’t necessarily end. They often rear their ugly heads again.”


Nine by @swetasamota
“This dairy has taken my Dad. This dairy also took Manu Mukundi Lal”
To start with I’m very fond of historical elements in stories,so this book caught my attention from the cover and introducing lines.
Blurb – The protagonist Ila is a young girl studying in Pune,A ‘Number wiz’ girl, who see the whole world as a puzzle and she is so damn good at this that she got in national news. Although she seems to get the skill from her father, still her father is not very happy about this and advices her against solving things for other people but fate plays her in doing exactly the thing and the consequences changes her life course greatly.
Characters- In Pune ,Kyra is her roommate,who is constantly seem sketchy and Aryan is the co-student/love interest,but later is revealed as a undercover agent trying to guard Ila and as the story moves ahead the characters and readers are left with conflicting mindsets and Ila is not sure whom to trust and whom to not,
The story has an ubiquent plot presence of RSS, that I really liked,also the bits & flashes of Manu Mukundi Lal are very interesting, the story also has a cameo from Modi ji.
What I loved and not?
The best part is the idea of the book and authors efforts in the research really shine throughout the book but I hope the author could have implemented it even better with more character development and avoidance of unnecessary storylines like the love story
This book is a 3.5⭐/5 for me

Circus folks and village freaks

Some truths are too raw to be faced bare,
Except by bards, who truly do care.
But those stories of love, unseen, unwritten,
Are no less vital though they be forbidden.”
– Circus Folk & Village Freaks.
Blurb – This book contains 18 tales about people who are in a way “not-normal”, some have apparent physical anomaly some are different in their inclinations and due to this they are deprived of normal life in some form or the other,some end up very happy some not much,some anomalies like dwrafism are more believable some like the crocodile man were more fictious.All the stories are set in the village background and are set in times and locations of raised social stigmas and all together it gives the book a very rustic feel.
Writing style – It is one of the most unique book in terms of writing style. To maintain the rhythmic quality of the verses while not compromising with the storytelling ability and feel of the characters is really commendable.
The Look – I know don’t judge a book by it’s cover but this book is beautiful both inside and out.The hard cover is just so beautiful.
My opinion – I really liked this book as it made me think about how much physical appearance or things like that can affect lives,and for me any book which makes me think is amazing,I read to find new perspective and new ideas and this book is a total .
Rating – 4.5⭐/5 for me.

The queen of the jasmine country by Sharanya Manivannan

The author re-imagines how Kodhai becomes Andal, the only woman among the twelve Alvars, or devotional poets who sang hymns in praise of Vishnu.The story is set in Tamil Nadu in the ninth century. Kodhai, a baby abandoned in a tulsi grove, is found and adopted by a Brahmin couple. Her father Vishnuchittan weaves garlands of tulsi and jasmine for the deity and sings his praises. When a young Kodhai is caught one day wearing the garland that is meant for the deity, she is rebuked by a horrified Vishnuchittan. But when Vishnu himself refuses to wear the garland unless she wears it first, Kodhai becomes his consort. But Kodhai is a lonely young woman and craves a man comparable to her god. In the hope of finding him, she observes the pavai nombu vow in the month of Margazhi, the rituals of which are described in the 30 verses of the Tiruppavai. Her prayers go unanswered and her desires slowly give way to frustration.With the knowledge of words, Kodhai discovers her undying longing for a greater love that she had been harbouring within herself that perhaps would set her free and not chastise her in shackles of familial bonding.In an essence the story is less about the works of a great poet, a saint and more about the loneliness that one feels, an aching that wants her to belong to someone, and not just anyone, but the beholder of worlds, Vishnu himself.The writing style is poetry-as-prose sort of, that is her trademark and pulls the reader deep into her world, it stalls the flow of the story in several parts. But the depth in research is evident and Manivannan packs into less than 150 pages a difficult story narrated in her quintessential rich style with a lot of beauty of the ordinary things like the smell of flowers and camphor, the taste of milk and ghee, the sight of the colours of Madurai, and the feel of the dampness of the tulsi grove.

Men and dreams in the dhauladhar

Men and dreams in dauladhar

**What I liked?**

1.The detailed description of Kalaripayattu and its tradition.
2. Characters with a detailed history –
author introduced them so well to readers by giving several insights and background stories in the initial stage.

Cultural Diversity – The author covers the traditions of people from Kerala to Kashmir,the mountains life style,the detailing, the authors research just stand out all over the book.

What I didn’t like – the plot is something I didn’t enjoyed much, to be honest I’m not a fan of character driven books but specifically Rekha,who has such as clear vision about herself just sleeps with her kidnapper, this is not Stockholm syndrome. For that the you need to have alot more interaction with the kidnapper,also there are too much technical details about dams that I didn’t get,may be someone who likes technical details would appreciate it.

**I know it becomes difficult to critique a book which the author has spent precious time, effort and money in bringing it out. However, I also believe a healthy and balanced criticism would only help him in his future endeavours. Would like to congratulate Mr.K. Shibu and wish him the best for the future**

Would I recommend it and to whom?
Yes I would
if you like characters driven books like ministry of utmost happiness and hundred years of solitude,you would definitely like this book


The plot is set in the backdrop of Mighty Dhauladhar range of Himalayas where a construction of dam is under process.
The book amalgamates around three characters and how their destinies collide.

Nanda, the engineer on the dam,comes from Kerala after a series of events, basically he has evaded law and is now on the run.

Khusru, a Kashmiri boy who tripped into the hands of terrorist,is now one of them and trying to blow up the dam

Rekha, a doctor by profession and Kathak dancer at heart is treading on her own set of journey.
With afresh story line, simple narrative and new characters the book start to intrigue you in the first couple of pages.

The heart of the book is in right place, and overall it’s a beautiful character driven novel 3.5⭐ /5⭐

Mehboob Murderer by Nupur Anand

Mehboob murder
A very well written thriller from a debutante
The author has used all the complexities of human emotions so well, the characters
are well written and the details, their physicality their pain everything is dealt
beautifully. Also one more thing i liked is that the character details are revealed
gradually to keep the reader hooked on, Nupur has also used the locations of Mumbai
so well,Mumbai is not a city or location here, it’s like one of the important characters
and that add such a beautiful layer to an amazing story.
• What I liked? I absolutely loved Nupur’s story telling skills.
• Would I recommend it and to whom?
Yes I would definitely recommend this to all the thril ler lovers
• Summary:
On a rainy September night, six people are gunned down mercilessly in an old Parsi
cafe, café Mehboob in Mumbai.
The mass murder create a public and media frenzy around it, and the murderer is
nicknamed Mehboob Murderer
The headstrong Inspector Intekhaab Abbas is determined to get to the bottom of the
murders. He is part of the core police team, which is formed to investigate the case in
a fixed time frame. As they try to know the lives of the victims more, they stumbles
upon a heady cocktail of love,greed,sadism, lust, jealousy, betrayal, rage, longing,
As we get to know the victims more and more,the suspects also start coming up in the
picture but the story ends at a very unexpected turn,which I didn’t see coming at all
and honestly I’m not complaining (but I just feel that the actual Murderer should have
been convicted)

Never speak by John Manchester

Never speak by john Manchester @johnkmanchester
Publication date: 29 Jan,2019
Publisher: @tckpublishing
Publishing Language: English
Rating 4.5/5
What i liked ? Smoothly switching perspective
Overall view : impressedI have never been part of cult nor i have met someone who have been a part of it,but i have read about them and seen documentaries and stuff and this book made me wonder more about the long-lasting, damaging psychological effects of cult memberships.
Summary : Ray is a struggling artist living in his ex-girlfriend’s home that also work as his studio to sell his art. After hearing news about his ex-wife’s death, he turns to google for more information and falls into the rabbit hole of information,layer by layer he discovers an article about another artist named Karl, who seemed to be someone who vanished into thin air and people have various theories about what happened to Karl.But Ray definitely know something about the whole thing and probably one of the only people willing to talk about it. With the help of Ray’s friend, Bodine, Ray gets in touch with an editor. The editor is eager to publish a book by Ray and his first-hand experiences with Karl after Karl’s disappearance from the music industry, but what about Karl’s strict instructions all those years ago to “NEVER SPEAK”?