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NAMI Bookshelf: May 2009

Editors note: Click the book title to order the book from and NAMI will receive a portion of the proceeds.

Bipolar 101Bipolar 101: A Practical Guide to Identifying Triggers, Managing Medications, Coping with Symptoms, and More
by Ruth C. White, Ph.D., MPH, MSW and John D. Preston, Psy.D., ABPP
(New Harbinger Publications 2009 - 242 pages)

Everything you need to know to live well with bipolar disorder, this guide discusses medication, education, and psychotherapy as the three-part strategy for taking control of one's life.

Its emphasis on tracking moods, recognizing triggers, eating well, getting exercise, and support systems make it an excellent tool. Co-author Ruth White herself lives with bipolar disorder.

Closing the ChasmClosing the Chasm: Letters from a Bipolar Physician to His Son
by Benjamin Diven, M.D. ( 2009 - 172 pages)

This is the intimate story of a physician's struggle with bipolar disorder written in reflective, frank, sometimes comical letters to the author's eldest son.

It is a chronicle of family life, as well as crises involving the highs and lows of spiritual faith and medications.

Diven has been married 31 years.

"One of the strongest features of a mental illness is how isolating it is," he writes. Your mom likes to say that you are as sick as your secrets and this has been a secret to many for decades. Not anymore."

Annies GhostsAnnie's Ghosts
by Steve Luxenberg (Hyperion 2009 - 416 pages)

Following his mother's death, Steve Luxenberg sets off to learn more about Annie, the aunt he had never known, the secret his mother took to the grave.

Luxenberg, an editor with The Washington Post, traces family history from imperial Russia and the Holocaust in Ukraine to Depression-era Detroit to make sense of the years Annie lived a secret life in a psychiatric hospital.

Night Navigation
by Ginnah Howard (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2009 - 304 pages)

Annies GhostsThis debut novel follows a harrowing year in the lives of a mother, Del, and her 37-year-old son, Mark.

When the book opens, Del is preparing for a long drive to bring Mark, who lives with bipolar disorder and struggles with heroin addiction, to a detox center far from home.

Ginnah Howard juxtaposes the voices of Del and Mark in alternating chapters and effectively illuminates the complicated, moving journey of a family in search of healing.

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