A thorough and thoughtful manual on a challenging illness.

BIPOLAR WELLNESS

HOW TO RECOVER FROM BIPOLAR ILLNESS

Rose turns his struggles with bipolar disorder into advice for others in this debut motivational work.

Bipolar disorder, with its periods of mania, hypomania, and depression, can derail a person’s life. Although there’s no cure, per se, one can find effective ways to live with it: “I have been able to manage my bipolar illness without hospitalization for the last 25 years,” writes the author. However, success is about “more than just avoiding the psychiatric hospitalization; it is being able to have an active and meaningful business and family life.” Rose shares how he uses methods of his own design to grow what he calls “the Mid-Polar Zone”—a middle ground between depression and mania. The author comes from a family of people who have struggled with bipolar illness (including tragic victims of disorder-related suicide), and he was hospitalized for it in the late 1960s, when treatments were nothing short of brutal. This book serves as a road map to avoid such outcomes, aiming to help readers to identify symptoms of the disorder, investigate different medications, manage their activities, and find useful resources. Each chapter concludes with a “Recovery Action Sheet” that clearly states a disorder-management goal and offers a numbered list of actions that readers can take to achieve it. Rose’s prose style is earnest but direct, balancing empathy with frank advice: “One thing that happens, especially in manic waves of energy, is that we become convinced we are right….It is much more important in relationships to learn to be wrong than it is to be right.” The author makes clear that he isn’t a medical professional, and he encourages readers to seek medical treatment and to read more scientific works on bipolar illness. However, Rose’s guide may, in conjunction with professional help, provide a supportive, action-based regimen that will allow sufferers to feel more in control of their lives.

A thorough and thoughtful manual on a challenging illness.

Pub Date: March 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9991112-0-8

Page Count: 306

Publisher: Bipolar Wellness Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2019

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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SLEEPERS

An extraordinary true tale of torment, retribution, and loyalty that's irresistibly readable in spite of its intrusively melodramatic prose. Starting out with calculated, movie-ready anecdotes about his boyhood gang, Carcaterra's memoir takes a hairpin turn into horror and then changes tack once more to relate grippingly what must be one of the most outrageous confidence schemes ever perpetrated. Growing up in New York's Hell's Kitchen in the 1960s, former New York Daily News reporter Carcaterra (A Safe Place, 1993) had three close friends with whom he played stickball, bedeviled nuns, and ran errands for the neighborhood Mob boss. All this is recalled through a dripping mist of nostalgia; the streetcorner banter is as stilted and coy as a late Bowery Boys film. But a third of the way in, the story suddenly takes off: In 1967 the four friends seriously injured a man when they more or less unintentionally rolled a hot-dog cart down the steps of a subway entrance. The boys, aged 11 to 14, were packed off to an upstate New York reformatory so brutal it makes Sing Sing sound like Sunnybrook Farm. The guards continually raped and beat them, at one point tossing all of them into solitary confinement, where rats gnawed at their wounds and the menu consisted of oatmeal soaked in urine. Two of Carcaterra's friends were dehumanized by their year upstate, eventually becoming prominent gangsters. In 1980, they happened upon the former guard who had been their principal torturer and shot him dead. The book's stunning denouement concerns the successful plot devised by the author and his third friend, now a Manhattan assistant DA, to free the two killers and to exact revenge against the remaining ex-guards who had scarred their lives so irrevocably. Carcaterra has run a moral and emotional gauntlet, and the resulting book, despite its flaws, is disturbing and hard to forget. (Film rights to Propaganda; author tour)

Pub Date: July 10, 1995

ISBN: 0-345-39606-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1995

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