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Book Reviews Stephen King

The End of the Whole Mess * Stephen King

The Story

In a little town there were two brothers. One was bright, one was a genius. Howard and Bobby got along like the house on fire and the older brother could feel only awe and amazement when looking at the stuff his little brother invented.

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When he was small he came up with an airplane design that had the wings backwards saying that’s how all airplanes should be as that’s how hawks take off after catching their prey. He blanked out the TV channels and put in his own show featuring the effects of beans on their father and other jokes.

As he grows older, he grows quieter – much like the younger sister in the Secret life of Bees. He realizes that the world is a scary place, filled with bad people and starts feeling the need to change it.
Much like Crake he has a solution for human violence.
While doing sociological research in Texas, Bobby used crime statistics to create a sort of topographic map which displayed a geographical pattern of violent crime. Examining the map, Robert noted diminishing levels of crime centered on the town of La Plata. When he arrives to investigate, he finds that this town has never had any violent crime. Bobby is ultimately able to determine that the cause of the non-aggression is the presence of a chemical unique to the town’s water supply, a phenomenon that is mentioned in (but had nothing to do with the causations of) King’s earlier novel It. Even minimal exposure to the chemical will calm down an angry person or animal, and Bobby has been able to isolate the chemical and reduce it to concentrated form.

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Several months later it is discovered that, to the Fornoys’ horror, there was another constant about La Plata that was not studied until after the substance was released. It does eliminate aggression, and increases calm, but it does the job too well. It builds up, out of control, in a subject’s system, ultimately giving them symptoms resembling dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and eventually resulting in death. Howard’s journal entries after this point begin to include increasing amounts of grammar, spelling, and other mistakes, eventually devolving into incoherence as Howard succumbs to the effects of the chemical. It is implied the human race will also eventually die out as adults start to forget how to care for newborn children.

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Connections

the-end-of-the-whole-mess.jpgThe premise of the story was also part of the plot of the 2005 film, Serenity. The colonists of the planet Miranda released a chemical into the atmosphere that suppressed all aggression, causing the population to become placid to the point of not performing any tasks at all and peacefully dying where they were. An additional twist came in that the chemical affected a portion of the population in the complete opposite way, driving them mad, and creating the Reavers.

Categories
Book Reviews

The Room by Jonas Karlsson * Book Review

I don’t think I have been so intrigued about a book in a long time. Following You – Caroline Kepnes Book Review and Hidden Bodies, I think I developed a sort of a taste for the life adventures of a psychopath. Or in this specific case, a person with so few social skills it makes the recluse Loch Ness Monster look like a Miami socialite 🙂

The best way to prove this is from this lovely conversation started with the receptionist:

“My name’s Margareta, by the way.” “Oh,” I said, then thought that I ought to say something more. She looked as if she were expecting a reply, but what could I say? What could I possibly have to say about her name? Her name was Margareta. Okay. Good. Nice name.”

It’s the story of an office clerk working in Sweeden. He’s self-obsessed, slightly narcisistic, can’t take any form of disagreement and is compulsive about order (be it how his colleague’s papers keep creeping on his desk or how people’s jackets don’t seem to be as neat and tidy as his).

“Her skirt was nice, but she was wearing a dull-colored blouse that wasn’t at all attractive. I’d have to remember to tell her not to wear it when she was with me if the two of us were going to get together, I thought”

Bjorn devised an image in his own mind of how he wants to be portrayed.

It probably didn’t sit well with the accepted image of a newcomer, but it fit with the reputation for ambition and tough tactics that I was happy to help spread about myself.

Categories
Psychology

How to find happiness in nature (Mental Health Awareness Week 2017)

As we are currently towards the end of the 2017 Mental Health Awareness Week, I will tackle suicide and depression.

Last year in Japan, more than 25,000 people took their own lives. That’s 70 every day. The vast majority were men.
Those figures do not make Japan’s the highest suicide rate in the world in a developed nation.
That dubious title belongs to South Korea. But it is still far, far higher than virtually all other wealthy countries.
It is three times the suicide rate in the United Kingdom.

“Isolation is the number one precursor for depression and suicide,” says Wataru Nishida, a psychologist at Tokyo’s Temple University.

Talk therapy (psychotherapy), antidepressant medication, and lifestyle changes are often essential tools for managing major depression. But sometimes just soaking up some sunshine, breathing a little fresh air, and feeling your toes in the grass can provide relief from depression symptoms too.

Categories
Poetry

Thinking with both minds * M Clement

I think I’m bi-polar
Maybe not emotionally,
Scratch that
But I feel like I’ve got split-personality disorder
There’s part that wants to let go
And the other part so desperately holding on

I want to look you in the eyes
and ask you what you’re doing here
I want to ask you what we are
I want to ask you if we’re just using each other
If, really, we’re just both getting a physicality that we’d otherwise be missing
Part of me wants to just let it be
And the other part so desperately wants to ask

I wonder if you think this is going to last
I wonder if we’re fooling ourselves
I wonder if what we’re doing is what should be happening
I wonder why you make me think so much

I hope you’re happy
You’re making me think
That was your goal, wasn’t it?
I hope you’re happy

I hope you’re happy
Because I wonder
if this house
is built to last
Or
At the sign of storm
Or tidal wave
It’ll come crashing down
Should we start looking at insurance?

Categories
Psychology

Are you feeling down? Or are you suffering from depression?

Categories
Psychology

“His reality is so different from ours”

a659cd88737d323207e3b646a46f77cc“Maybe each human being lives in a unique world, a private world different from those inhabited and experienced by all other humans.

If reality differs from person to person, can we speak of reality singular, or shouldn’t we really be talking about plural realities?

And if there are plural realities, are some more true (more real) than others?

What about the world of a schizophrenic?

Maybe it’s as real as our world. Maybe we cannot say that we are in touch with reality and he is not, but should instead say, His reality is so different from ours that he can’t explain his to us, and we can’t explain ours to him.

The problem, then, is that if subjective worlds are experienced too differently, there occurs a breakdown in communication … and there is the real illness.”
― Philip K. Dick

Categories
Book Reviews

Books dealing with mental health

This week marks the beginning on National Mental Health Awareness Month so we handpicked a few books dealing with different disorders.

  1. Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn
    Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn

    Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome – Munchausen’s by Proxy, the systematic infliction of illness of a child so the mother can look like a saint and benefit from the attendant approbation and attention. Book: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn.

Camille Preasker is a middling reporter on a fourth rate newspaper in Chicago, not quite living up to her potential when news of two sensational murders in her small Missouri hometown comes across the wires. Her editor sends her off, hoping to inspire her to the greatness he believes her capable of, and boosting the paper’s reputation as well. The murders–two thirteen year old girls, killed about a year apart, and all their teeth pulled out. To secure her future, Camille has to return to her past.

There are a myriad of mental diseases in this book. I’ve pinpointed the main theme, but there is also self-harm involved, depression, bullying and ganging up on a single helpless victim.

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Excerpts

Gone mad… Alias Grace * Margaret Atwood

Still on my first few chapters and I know I will love this book.

“Gone mad is what they say, and sometimes Run mad, as if mad is a different direction, like west; as if mad is a different house you could step into, or a separate country entirely.
But when you go mad you don’t go any other place, you stay where you are. And somebody else comes in.”

Is Grace’s madness caused by an alter ego? Did she commit a murder while being someone else?

Margaret Atwood has found an ideal mode for giving a voice to a split feminine subject where the conscious self is shadowed, or indeed displaced, by its dark double, in a condition approaching schizophrenia.

Categories
Art

Of Mice and Men Encore * Theatre

I have been most blessed to see an outstanding performance from James Franco and Chris O’Dowd acting in the stage production of Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men”. An american classic, Of Mice and Men is one of the most read books in schools across the country despite appearing on the American Library Association’s list of Most Challenged Books of the 21st Century

Of Mice and Men tells the story of George (James Franco) and Lennie (Chris O’Dowd), an unlikely pair of friends drifting from job to job across the farms and fields of California, holding fast to their dream of one day having an acre of land they can call their own.

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The creative team for Of Mice and Men includes scenic design by Tony Award winner Todd Rosenthal, costume design by the international, Emmy Award-winning designer of the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony, Suttirat Larlarb, lighting design by 2014 Tony Award nominee Japhy Weideman, sound design by Rob Milburn & Michael Bodeen, original music by David Singer, fight direction by Thomas Schall, hair & wig design by Charles G. LaPointe and casting by Calleri Casting.

Categories
Psychology

Psychological Disorders

There are a lot of reasons people behave oddly, but most put it down to attitude.