10 books like Darkness Visible

By William Styron,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Darkness Visible. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Awakenings

By Oliver Sacks,

Book cover of Awakenings

A fascinating, readable nonfiction account of patients who contracted sleeping-sickness as children in the great epidemic of 1918. They grew to adulthood in a Bronx hospital, frozen in sleep for decades. The prognosis was hopeless until 1969, when Dr. Sacks dared to try a new drug, L-DOPA, giving his patients an astonishing, explosive, “awakening.” Dr. Sacks recounts case histories of his patients, their lives, and extraordinary transformations from his treatment. This book is a passionate exploration of the most general questions of health, disease, suffering, care, and the human condition. The patients’ realization of themselves as adults is heartbreaking. Dr. Sacks wrote:Awakenings came from the most intense medical and human involvement I have ever know.”

Awakenings

By Oliver Sacks,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Awakenings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The story of a disease that plunged its victims into a prison of viscous time, and the drug that catapulted them out of it' - Guardian

Hailed as a medical classic, and the subject of a major feature film as well as radio and stage plays and various TV documentaries, Awakenings by Oliver Sacks is the extraordinary account of a group of twenty patients.

Rendered catatonic by the sleeping-sickness epidemic that swept the world just after the First World War, all twenty had spent forty years in hospital: motionless and speechless; aware of the world around them, but exhibiting no…


Untamed

By Glennon Doyle,

Book cover of Untamed

Doyle is an excellent storyteller, and I found this memoir revealing and powerful as she explores the cost of striving to meet others’ expectations, something I could totally relate to. She begins the book with a metaphor, comparing the life of a caged cheetah with the lives of women who get caged into believing society’s truth about them instead of finding, and living, their own truth. I learned that I need to stop that behavior and start trusting the voice deep within me. This follows two other memoirs that she wrote: Love Warrior and Carry on, Warrior, which I also loved reading.

Untamed

By Glennon Doyle,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Untamed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • OVER TWO MILLION COPIES SOLD! “Packed with incredible insight about what it means to be a woman today.”—Reese Witherspoon (Reese’s Book Club Pick)

In her most revealing and powerful memoir yet, the activist, speaker, bestselling author, and “patron saint of female empowerment” (People) explores the joy and peace we discover when we stop striving to meet others’ expectations and start trusting the voice deep within us.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY O: The Oprah Magazine • The Washington Post • Cosmopolitan • Marie Claire • Bloomberg • Parade •…


An Unquiet Mind

By Kay Redfield Jamison,

Book cover of An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

Jamison writes about bipolar disorder as a professor of psychiatry and as a person who suffers from the illness. This dual vision allows us to see the disorder in multifaceted ways. Jamison is particularly adept at explaining why bipolar sufferers are so tragically prone to attempt and commit suicide. I suffer from Bipolar 2 Disorder with mixed features, meaning that I can be depressed and manic at the same time. This is a dangerous combination. A depressed person is more likely to have suicidal ideation and a manic person has enough energy to make suicidal plans and carry them out. Jamison's book is vital for me to understand and manage my suicidal ideation.

An Unquiet Mind

By Kay Redfield Jamison,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked An Unquiet Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An Unquiet Mind is a definitive examination of manic depression from both sides: doctor and patient, the healer and the healed. A classic memoir of enormous candour and courage, it teems with the wit and wisdom of its writer, Dr Kay Redfield Jamison.

With an introduction by Andrew Solomon, writer and lecturer on psychology and culture.

'It stands alone in the literature of manic depression for its bravery, brilliance and beauty.' - Oliver Sacks

I was used to my mind being my best friend. Now, all of a sudden, my mind had turned on me: it mocked me for my…


Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder

By John D. Preston, Julie A. Fast,

Book cover of Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Understanding & Helping Your Partner

In this book, Julie tells her story of living with bipolar disorder. She also shares some tools to help during the dark days. I started the OMG That’s Me! series so folks living with bipolar disorder will know they are not alone and that there is hope. Julie communicates this masterfully.

Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder

By John D. Preston, Julie A. Fast,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This fully revised and updated second edition of the bestselling Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder discusses all aspects of readers' relationships with bipolar partners: work, money, sex, medications and their side effects, therapeutic treatments, and more.

Also called manic depressive disorder, bipolar disorder can cause extreme mood swings, and people who suffer from this disorder can alternate between manic and depressed behavior without much warning.

Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder, Second Edition, builds on the practical advice offered in the original book by offering critical new information on the medications that are sometimes prescribed to manage bipolar disorder symptoms. Readers…


As A Man Thinketh

By James Allen,

Book cover of As A Man Thinketh

A book I strongly recommend on your success journey is As A Man Thinketh. This 60-page book is short, sweet, and to the point. Your thoughts are things, and you are where you are in life because of how you think. Understanding that profound statement can enable you to weave happiness and prosperity into your life. Also, As A Man Thinketh will show you how to always stay positive and keep successful thoughts flowing in your mind so you can live a prosperous life. 

As A Man Thinketh

By James Allen,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked As A Man Thinketh as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


The Doors of Perception

By Aldous Huxley,

Book cover of The Doors of Perception

I was stunned by this book when I read it nearly fifty years ago, when psychedelics were rarely talked about. Huxley describes in glorious detail the effects of taking 0.4 grams of mescaline one day in 1953. A vase of flowers revealed naked existence; the legs of a chair became miraculous in their tubularity, seconds became centuries, and as for self – was he looking at a chair or was he a chair? I have since explored many psychedelics, as well other ways of inviting extraordinary experiences, and this book remains an inspiration. 

The Doors of Perception

By Aldous Huxley,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Doors of Perception as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discover this profound account of Huxley's famous experimentation with mescalin that has influenced writers and artists for decades.

'Concise, evocative, wise and, above all, humane, The Doors of Perception is a masterpiece' Sunday Times

In 1953, in the presence of an investigator, Aldous Huxley took four-tenths of a gram of mescalin, sat down and waited to see what would happen. When he opened his eyes everything, from the flowers in a vase to the creases in his trousers, was transformed. Huxley described his experience with breathtaking immediacy in The Doors of Perception.

In its sequel Heaven and Hell, he goes…


We Are Our Brains

By D.F. Swaab, Jane Hedley-Prole (translator),

Book cover of We Are Our Brains: A Neurobiography of the Brain, from the Womb to Alzheimer's

A book written after decades of research by a leading neuroscientist to share his love of the brain with the general public. An ideal starter book for those of you who want to get a sense of all the different parts of the complex organ that comprise the human brain. In a series of chapters on the many different parts, regions structures, and brain processes this book provides a succinct yet comprehensive overview of the brain. It explains what the different parts do to make your brain work and how they work together they make us do what we do and makes sense of what we are.

We Are Our Brains

By D.F. Swaab, Jane Hedley-Prole (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We Are Our Brains as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Everything we think, do and refrain from doing is determined by our brain. From religion to sexuality, it shapes our potential, our desires and our characters. Taking us through every stage in our lives, from the womb to falling in love to old age, Dick Swaab shows that we don't just have brains: we are our brains.

'A blockbuster about the brain ... provocative, fascinating, remarkable' Clive Cookson, Financial Times

'A giant in the field' Zoe Williams, Guardian

'Engrossing, intriguing and enlightening' Robin Ince

'Enchantingly written' The Times Higher Education

'Wide-ranging, fun and informative ... as an ice-breaker at parties,…


The Rag and Bone Shop

By Veronica O'Keane,

Book cover of The Rag and Bone Shop: How We Make Memories and Memories Make Us

Veronica is a professor of psychiatry with a special interest in psychosis such as schizophrenia and especially those that are seen in women after childbirth. These states of altered consciousness and the memories they produce give us insights into the nature of mental illness and the making of memories. The book develops as a series of case studies that are gently described in relation to the different brain regions that are involved in the experiences with a simple-to-understand diagram. Bringing together her clinical insights with beautiful perspectives from prose and poetry as well as from philosophers especially Henri Bergson, she makes a compelling case for memories being the core of what we as humans are.

The Rag and Bone Shop

By Veronica O'Keane,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Rag and Bone Shop as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE SUNDAY TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR

'Vivid, unforgettable . . . a fascinating, instructive, wise and compassionate book' John Banville

A leading psychiatrist shows how the mysteries of the brain are illuminated at the extremes of human experience

A twinge of sadness, a rush of love, a knot of loss, a whiff of regret. Memories have the power to move us, often when we least expect it, a sign of the complex neural process that continues in the background of our everyday lives. A process that shapes us: filtering the world around us, informing our behaviour and feeding our…


Madness

By Marya Hornbacher,

Book cover of Madness: A Bipolar Life

Hornbacher details her experience of living with bipolar disorder—the psychological escapades, the unimaginable highs, and devastating lows. These transcendent highs and crippling lows are mirrored in the strange delights and perils of the physical world. She is the life of parties, dressed provocatively in silky red dresses and matching ruby lipstick. But she is also capable of breaking ties with reality, hopping in a car with a boyfriend and travelling across the state for no reason in particular, an adventure in which the pleasure of the high becomes too much, too dangerous to be reckoned with. 

I too recall waking up at 2 am, writing for 18 hours straight, (without a water or pee break), and creating a beautiful essay in one draft which was later published. I once spent two days and nights in a blinding fury of elation that was simultaneously beautiful and terrifying. I too remember in…

Madness

By Marya Hornbacher,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Madness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Pulitzer Prize–nominated author of Wasted, Marya Hornbacher's astonishing New York Times best-selling memoir from the belly of bipolar disorder.

Marya Hornbacher tells the story that until recently she had no idea was hers to tell: that of her life with Type I ultra-rapid-cycle bipolar disorder, the most severe form of bipolar disease.

In Madness, Hornbacher relates that bipolar can spawn eating disorders, substance abuse, promiscuity, and self-mutilation, and that for too long these symptoms have masked, for many of the three million people in America with bipolar, their underlying illness. Hornbacher’s fiercely self-aware portrait of bipolar, starting as early as…


Girl, Interrupted

By Susanna Kaysen,

Book cover of Girl, Interrupted

The prose style in the memoir, Girl, Interrupted, is clean, concise, and unembellished. The spare writing leaves no room for self-pity, yet still tells a vivid story of mental unraveling and convalescence concurrently. Kaysen meets a cast of vulnerable characters during her nearly year-long commitment in a psychiatric hospital. They form unlikely friendships, and we get to know all of their various neuroses in a stifling environment that is at once a cage and a path to self-discovery and health. 

I was reminded of my own two commitments to psychiatric hospitals, how strange and austere the world became in those weeks, how time became irrelevant with the breakfast, lunch and dinner announcements, medication time, nightly bed checks, and the ironic “fresh air breaks,” on the back steps of the ward where I and my own unlikely cast of characters smoked cigarettes and commiserated about our unique predicaments. 

I was…

Girl, Interrupted

By Susanna Kaysen,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Girl, Interrupted as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Futaro Uesugi is a second-year in high school, scraping to get by and pay off his family's debt. The only thing he can do is study, so when Futaro receives a part-time job offer to tutor the five daughters of a wealthy businessman, he can't pass it up. Little does he know, these five beautiful sisters are quintuplets, but the only thing they have in common is that they're all terrible at studying! At this rate, the sisters can't graduate, and Futaro must think of a plan that suits each of them - which feels hopeless when five-out-of-five of these…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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