The Most Depressing Post Ever

So obviously the best thing to do when the world gets you down is to talk about depression… Okay- this is clearly not the best thing to do, but who says I am good at judging what the best thing to do is? If you want answers, look to your nearest pope/politician/prat, they’ll be happy to oblige- me, I just recommend books and give occasionally sage advice:

“Life’s a joke and tragedy is the punchline” – Chris Ray Gun

Now I know what you’re thinking- hasn’t mental health week been already? Well, yeah, but I’m far too doolally to keep track of these things. And I thought I’d just jump on the bandwagon cos when it comes to mental health “everybody is talking about how nobody is talking about it” (Freddy Gray)- so what difference does it make when I add to the white noise?

Alright- serious-face on. I do actually care about mental health. Yada yada *insert personal experience* yada yada… Let’s just cut the crap and get to the books before my dark humour completely takes over. These are, in my totally subjective opinion, some of the best books you will find on mental health out there:

  1. Jude the Obscure – Fair warning, this is not a book to perk up your mood. It is, however, brutally realistic and the most honest reflection of the human condition I have ever seen. There is also a lot more to this book than mental health, so if you are looking for a deep story that will imprint itself on your soul forever- than this is the book for you!

jude

  1. All the Bright Places – the jury is out on this one and as many people that seem to love it as loathe it. Me, I was firmly in the love it camp. Again, this is totally subjective, but this was one of those rare books that had me crying in public because it felt so raw and real.

all the bright places

  1. The Bell Jar – I bloody love this book. Sylvia Plath’s writing is exquisite. I don’t normally fall for a lot of literary fiction, but man if this book doesn’t hit you like a tonne of bricks, your old ticker can’t be totally switched on when you read it.

the bell jar

  1. Titus Alone – this is most definitely the most peculiar choice on this list. Firstly, because I wasn’t a fan of the rest of the series, secondly because this is generally viewed as the weakest one in the trilogy and thirdly because it’s just an odd book. But I was strangely wooed by it. Perhaps it is because I am such a huge fan of imperfections in books in general- especially when those imperfections perfectly coincide with the message and tone of the book. To put it simply, the book was totally mad, the author was supposedly losing his mind while writing it and the overall effect is, well, mad. You’d be hard pushed to find anything more poetic than that.

titus alone

  1. The Yellow Wallpaper – it’s slightly spoilery to even put this on the list, so look away now if you haven’t read it, but I couldn’t fail to include this quintessential look at female hysteria. While I’ve met academics who wish to diagnose the main character as suffering exclusively from patriarchal control, I truly believe this applies more broadly to mental health in general. Again, there is more than just the mental health to this story, but I think in today’s climate we can find a great deal of universality in looking at the intriguing psychological aspects of this book.

yellow wallpaper

So perhaps an odd list- but this is just my personal take on which books I feel tackle this topic in the most authentic and beautiful manner. Now I want to know- which books on this topic do you have an affinity for? Let me know in the comments!

And because it’s Friday and I want to end on a happy note, this trailer just came out and I am so excited!!

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57 thoughts on “The Most Depressing Post Ever

  1. Nel says:

    WINTER IS COMING! in summer… but still!!! Not to take away from the rest of your post because it was awesome too but I’m so excited for this season!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. LizScanlon says:

    I have to say Titus Alone made me quite curious as well! Maybe it’s the fact that it’s a bit challenging to read? Then again, you have a great selection here, most of the obscure enough, am I right to say so? And I like nothing more than discovering new interesting titles and you seem to be the person to rely on in this case!

    Hey! The trailer… I watched it yesterday and there’s a bit where two people are kissing. It’s really quick but i couldn’t for the life of me figure out who they were.. do you know? It’s at 1:22min … it’s been nagging me since last night XD

    Liked by 2 people

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Hmm I don’t know if it’s challenging per se- unless you count the fact that I found getting through the first two a little challenging cos I struggled to connect with them 😉 But no, I don’t think they’re especially challenging. They are very different to a lot of fantasy books I’ve read because they are so visual and psychologically intriguing (it’s clear almost in the way they were written that they were written by a war artist). Some of the stories are quite obvious- but I don’t think you’re likely to read anything else like it!

      Hehe I haven’t been able to figure out a lot of it either- partly cos I’m unwilling to watch the trailer breakdown, but I think that’s Ellaria Sand and Asha Greyjoy, cos I saw people discussing it- hope that’s right!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • LizScanlon says:

        OK, sounds good… ‘unlikely to read anything else like it’ makes a book attractive indeed! 🙂

        Oh? Is that who they possibly are? I better go and find the trailer breakdown 😀 I’ll forget about it anyway by the time I’ll be watching the season… I normally let the season end and then do a marathon rather than watch week by week.

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  3. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    I completely agree with this list on so many levels. I’ve only read the first three on your list, though. I also fall into the Love It Camp for All The Bright Places. It just wrecked me but in the best possible way.

    I also would add Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson to this list. It’s a collection of memoir essays, but it tackles depression and anxiety really well. Also, Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Leviathan does a good job presenting depression.

    So many great books to add!

    Liked by 2 people

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Thank you!! 😀 Yay I’m so glad you feel that way about All the Bright Places!! 🙂 Me too!!

      Ahh yes- I’m really really keen to read that!! it’s been on my tbr for ages and I really need to get to them. And thank you so much for the other recommendations too 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Matthew Wright says:

    I haven’t read any of these but must check them out! On matters of a ‘depressing read’ I have to admit I find Stephen Baxter’s stuff usually throws me into a total downer, partly because he is so good at nailing the darker realities of humanity but also because his stories often don’t have happy endings – I still remember reading ‘Titan’ (sitting on a launch in the Marlborough Sounds, here in NZ) KNOWING from the setup that all the characters were going to die… and having to read through to the end. I have his authorised sequel to The War Of The Worlds sitting on my ‘to read’ list now.

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    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Ah excellent!! Thank you so much for so many awesome recommendations!! I hadn’t heard of Stephen Baxter’s work before, so I will be sure to check it out- I actually enjoy unhappy endings from time to time (hence having Hardy on my list 😉 ) That sounds absolutely amazing!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Joelendil says:

    If you want a sci-fi addition to the list, I’d go with “The Doomsday Book” by Connie Willis. It features time travel and the bubonic plague and the part that takes place in the past is pretty unremittingly dark…but so well written (aside from the absolutely obnoxious child character who seems to crop up in most of her books. I don’t think she likes kids). Her book “To Say Nothing of the Dog” is set in the same universe but has a completely different, lighthearted tone (and is one of my all-time favorites).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. By Hook Or By Book ~ Book Reviews, News, & Other Stuff says:

    I have All the Bright Places at the top of my tbr, but I didn’t know it was a love it or hate it book. I absolutely love Sylvia Plath’s writing, especially The Bell Jar. I’m intrigued by Titus Alone. I’m going to have to look it up. And that trailer for season 7 of GoT is AWESOME! I’m so annoyed we don’t have HBO.😒 I love the books and thanks to my library I’m up to the 4th season, but the hold list are long for the devs so I think I’m going to save my pennies and buy them eventually.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Ah well I hope you’re in the love it camp like me 😉 I think it’s just a matter of taste for that one- cos most people I’ve seen that didn’t like it still acknowledged it’s well written. Ahh yes, her writing is exquisite. And that’s the third in the Gormenghast series- I wasn’t crazy about the first two, but I liked the last one, which took me by surprise. Yes it is!! Ah I hope you get to watch it at some point then. I don’t have Sky, which is what it airs on in the UK, but you can pay per view for it, which works for me cos it’s much cheaper than getting a subscription.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Charlotte Annelise says:

    I read All The Bright Places around a year ago and I agree it was really sad, especially the ending! I studied The Yellow Wallpaper in high school literature and it was really interesting to see how people viewed mental illness in the past.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

    Absolutely loved the intro to this post. 😛 Looking forward to checking out Sylvia Plath’s classic some day. Sounds like I can expect some pretty awesome writing skills. And.. Can’t wait got GoT!!!! 😀 I also wish it wasn’t the last season though.. 😦 I heard they planned on making FOUR spin-off series for GoT afterwards.. Oh god.. I don’t know what to think about that hahahah

    Like

  9. Cylan says:

    The bell jar and the yellow wallpaper are depressing indeed. Let alone jude the obscure I think all of Hardy’s novels are depressing. I would add The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Kafka’s metamorphosis to the list.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Martin says:

    Great post and some good suggestions. I started reading Jude the Obscure a long time ago and never finished it. I must give it another go. I also want to read The bell Jar.
    As for some ideas in return, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is an amazing account of both a personal and cultural fragmentation, and Stoner by John Edward Williams is relentlessly bleak but fantastic

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Thank you! Ah I get that- it’s a tough one for some people to get through- it’s very dark! Oh do give it a go, it’s very good! 🙂 Oh yes, I love Things Fall Apart 😀 And I’ve read Stoner too. Great suggestions!! 😀 Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Zezee says:

    My new fav word: doolally.
    I looked up the meaning and all but I just love how it sounds. Doolally.

    I hardly read books that touch on mental health, I realize. But couple weeks ago I got an urge to read Susannah Cahalan’s “Brain on Fire,” which made me want to read more nonfiction books about mental health so I picked up “Madness: A Bipolar Life” by Marya Hornbacher, which I sometimes have to read in spurts.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Feminism Through Cinema and Literature says:

    Great post. I particularity like your inclusion of ‘The yellow wallpaper’. You are right. Though from a feminist perspective it does definitely offer a critique of the patriarchal institution of marriage, I think diagnosis and medicine as an extension of this system of control is the central concern of the text.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Thank you so much! Yes I understand the feminist critique- I’ve studied the YW on more than one occasion and as you can imagine, that came up 😉 I personally prefer not to reduce texts down to a single meaning though. Especially since this an ambiguous text with multiple possible readings.

      Liked by 1 person

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