10 books like Muses, Madmen, and Prophets

By Daniel B. Smith,

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

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The Divided Self

By R.D. Laing,

Book cover of The Divided Self: An Existential Study in Sanity and Madness

The Divided Self kick-started my search for the truth of the human condition. It taught me that I didn't have to follow the life laid out for me and that I was expected to follow. Through it I discovered that I was not the only person trapped in a world and struggling to make sense of the bizarre and contradictory reality around me, that lied and lied about existence continually. Further books by him reinforced this awareness of the illogic of it all, including The Politics of Experience, The Self and Others, and Knots. I was Brer Rabbit, caught in the honey trap of the tar baby and this book showed me that.

The Divided Self

By R.D. Laing,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Presenting case studies of schizophrenic patients, Laing aims to make madness and the process of going mad comprehensible. He also offers an existential analysis of personal alienation.


Memories, Dreams, Reflections

By Richard Winston, Clara Winston, C.G. Jung, Aniela Jaffe

Book cover of Memories, Dreams, Reflections

C. J. Jung stood large on the world scene. Freud, much his senior and a household name when they met, was at first a father figure, Freud thought of Jung as natural heir to his psychoanalytic method, Jung’s ultimate rejection of its central tenets led in the end to their break.

Jung’s analysis was sought by distinguished people all over the world. During W. W. II the CIA had him develop a psychological profile of Hitler.

Jung’s Collected Works consists of 19 volumes. A less daunting way to get acquainted with him is through the famous MDR, (Memories, Dreams, Reflections) dictated late in life. The book focuses entirely on Jung’s interior life—his thoughts, his influences, his visions, and Ideations. It was in these that Jung saw his life’s meaning.

Memories, Dreams, Reflections

By Richard Winston, Clara Winston, C.G. Jung, Aniela Jaffe

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Memories, Dreams, Reflections as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'I can understand myself only in the light of inner happenings. It is these that make up the singularity of my life, and with these my autobiography deals' Carl Jung

An eye-opening biography of one of the most influential psychiatrists of the modern age, drawing from his lectures, conversations, and own writings.

In the spring of 1957, when he was eighty-one years old, Carl Gustav Jung undertook the telling of his life story. Memories, Dreams, Reflections is that book, composed of conversations with his colleague and friend Aniela Jaffe, as well as chapters written in his own hand, and other…


Woman on the Edge of Time

By Marge Piercy,

Book cover of Woman on the Edge of Time

I have to admit, I almost didn’t read this book. The first fifty pages are so dreary and difficult, with domestic abuse, racism, and excruciating poverty, with no science fiction to be seen. But then, suddenly, the main character is teleporting to another world or also has guests from that world visit her in ours, and things get very interesting. The alternative world has non-binary gender, it is not capitalist but communal, and they have eradicated most of society’s ills, from killer automobiles to cigarettes, domestic abuse, poverty, racism, and so on, and have replaced these with loving relationships, complex child-rearing arrangements and a more loving-relationship-oriented approach to life. It is a fascinating juxtaposition and definitely worth the opening slog.

Woman on the Edge of Time

By Marge Piercy,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Woman on the Edge of Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'One of those rare novels that leave us different people at the end than we were at the beginning.' GLORIA STEINEM

'She is a serious writer who deserves the sort of considered attention which, too often, she does not get...' MARGARET ATWOOD
_______________________________________

Often compared to Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale and Naomi Alderman's The Power - Woman on the Edge of Time has been hailed as a classic of speculative science fiction. Disturbing and forward thinking, Marge Piercy's remarkable novel will speak to a new generation of readers.

Connie Ramos has been unjustly incarcerated in a mental institution with…


Soteria

By Voyce Hendrix Fort, Loren R. Mosher,

Book cover of Soteria

What would happen if instead of throwing people into jail-like mental wards and hammering them with tranquilizing drugs, we instead welcomed them into home-like settings and spent time listening and caring, patiently giving them time and space to explore the emotional roots of their crisis? Psychiatrist Loren Mosher did just that in the Soteria House research project in the 1970s and 80s, and the results were clear: people do better without medications and with listening and caring in a safe environment instead.

Mosher was the first chief of the Center for Studies of Schizophrenia of the National Institutes of Mental Health but you’ve probably never heard of him – his innovative project proved that psychosis can be healed more effectively without medication and outside of  hospitals, but came at a time when biological and pharmaceutical solutions – and the profits they generate – came to dominate psychiatry, so he was…

Soteria

By Voyce Hendrix Fort, Loren R. Mosher,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Soteria as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the story of a special time, space, and place where young people diagnosed as


Rethinking Madness

By Paris Williams,

Book cover of Rethinking Madness: Towards a Paradigm Shift in Our Understanding and Treatment of Psychosis

I found Rethinking Madness to be a highly original book. Clinical psychologist Paris Williams interviewed individuals who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and other psychoses, and he integrated this research with prominent alternative explanations for madness. In contrast to the gloomy picture painted by establishment psychiatry, Williams describes how full recovery from schizophrenia and other related psychotic disorders is not only possible but is surprisingly common, and that many people who recover from these psychotic disorders do not merely return to their pre-psychotic condition, but often undergo a profound positive transformation with far more lasting benefits than harms.

Rethinking Madness

By Paris Williams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rethinking Madness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As the recovery research continues to accumulate, we find that the mainstream understanding of schizophrenia and psychosis has lost nearly all credibility:

* After over 100 years and billions of dollars spent on research looking for schizophrenia and other related psychotic disorders in the brain, we still have not found any substantial evidence that these disorders are actually caused by a brain disease.
* We have learned that full recovery from schizophrenia and other related psychotic disorders is not only possible but is surprisingly common.
* We've discovered that those diagnosed in the United States and other "developed" nations are…


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…


VALIS

By Philip K. Dick,

Book cover of VALIS

Blimey. Even by PKD’s standards, this is an unconventional read. VALIS is a story which seeps into the author’s real life, or vice versa. It includes autobiographical elements as well as science fiction and philosophy. Its bravery impresses me. This is art written with the utmost passion, honesty and perhaps even desperation, as it details the author’s mental illness and unexplained experiences and tries to make sense of them. And yet it also manages to be great fun. Really. 

VALIS

By Philip K. Dick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It began with a blinding light, a divine revelation from a mysterious intelligence that called itself VALIS (Vast Active Living Intelligence System). And with that, the fabric of reality was torn apart and laid bare so that anything seemed possible, but nothing seemed quite right.

It was madness, pure and simple. But what if it were true?


The Shock of the Fall

By Nathan Filer,

Book cover of The Shock of the Fall

This isn’t a crime book but it does involve an unravelling of a mystery. The story spans three timelines, childhood recollections of a tragic accident, in which the main character Matt’s brother dies, the aftermath of the incident and then the present day, in which Matt is being treated for schizophrenia in a mental hospital. Too often those suffering with schizophrenia get a hackneyed handling by creatives but author Nathan Flier, a former mental health nurse, paints vivid and insightful observations into this poorly misunderstood condition. 

The Shock of the Fall

By Nathan Filer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Shock of the Fall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE COSTA BOOK OF THE YEAR 2013

WINNER OF THE SPECSAVERS POPULAR FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR 2014

WINNER OF THE BETTY TRASK PRIZE 2014

'I'll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name's Simon. I think you're going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he'll be dead. And he was never the same after that.'

There are books you can't stop reading, which keep you up all night.

There are books which let us into the hidden parts of life and make…


Mad in America

By Robert Whitaker,

Book cover of Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill

Robert Whitaker’s books inform my work. Both Mad in America and Anatomy of an Epidemic provided crucial policy background as I searched for my brother's personhood. Whitaker’s deep research and ferocious insistence that we rethink psychiatric care guided me into the world of mental illness, the history of treatment, and the controversy over forcing medication on unwilling people. I sympathize with Whitaker and the people who believe anti-psychotics make things worse. But I also meet many with diagnoses who believe in the mantra, “take your meds.” Best practices cannot be one-size (pill)-fits all. I end my own book by imagining the best possible world for mental health treatment—guided both by Whitaker and his most vehement critic, E. Fuller Torrey.

Mad in America

By Robert Whitaker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mad in America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Schizophrenics in the United States currently fare worse than patients in the world's poorest countries. In Mad in America, medical journalist Robert Whitaker argues that modern treatments for the severely mentally ill are just old medicine in new bottles, and that we as a society are deeply deluded about their efficacy. The widespread use of lobotomies in the 1920s and 1930s gave way in the 1950s to electroshock and a wave of new drugs. In what is perhaps Whitaker's most damning revelation, Mad in America examines how drug companies in the 1980s and 1990s skewed their studies to prove that…


No One Cares about Crazy People

By Ron Powers,

Book cover of No One Cares about Crazy People: My Family and the Heartbreak of Mental Illness in America

Ron and Honoree Powers’ story is far more searing than my family’s story, but their experience surely resonated with me. There’s a whole genre of books by parents who take us along with them on their journeys with mentally ill children (see Pete Earley’s Crazy, as well), weaving in the history of our treatment of the mentally ill. Powers is the best I’ve read, and he does such a sweeping survey of that history, I decided not to cover the same territory in my book—but to concentrate on Mike’s story. The Powers have two sons, both diagnosed with schizophrenia. Kevin doesn’t make it, succumbing to suicide. Dean manages to live a relatively stable life. The “grief and hope” of my subtitle are both here, fiercely told.

No One Cares about Crazy People

By Ron Powers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No One Cares about Crazy People as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Extraordinary and courageous . . . No doubt if everyone were to read this book, the world would change."---New York Times Book Review

New York Times-bestselling author Ron Powers' critically acclaimed narrative of the social history of mental illness in America paired with the deeply personal story of his two sons' battles with schizophrenia.

From the centuries of torture of "lunatiks" at Bedlam Asylum to the infamous eugenics era to the follies of the anti-psychiatry movement to the current landscape in which too many families struggle alone to manage afflicted love ones, Powers limns our fears and myths about mental…


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