Book Reviews: Her Next Chapter, Understanding Troubled Minds, & The Person Called You

Hello ladies and gentlemen,

ready for today's reviews? Here we go:

Her Next Chapter: How Mother-Daughter Book Clubs Can Help Girls Navigate Malicious Media, Risky Relationships, Girl Gossip, and So Much More by Lori Day
I've always loved reading. It's a passion that I have inherited from my mother. But, as far as I can remember, we've never read anything together. I don't even recall her reading to me, although that probably happened when I was very little. I hadn't realised what a missed opportunity that was until I read Her Next Chapter by educational psychologist and consultant Lori Day. In Her Next Chapter, Day explains the myriad of benefits of mother-daughter book clubs. They foster a closer-connection between a mother and her daughter and provide a safe and non-judgemental environment to discuss difficult topics with your little girl.
The book is divided into two parts. The first explains what a mother-daughter book club is, and provides useful tips to set up your own, as well as advice on how to deal with any issues that may come up when it is up and running, such as what to do when a couple quits or how to deal with any bullying incidents that may happen. The second part, instead, focuses on complex and difficult topics, such as gender stereotypes, sexualization of little girls, LGBTQ issues, violence against women and abusive relationships, that you may wish to address with your daughter but don't know how. After discussing each issue, Day provides a list of books, movies and other types of media you can read/watch with your daughter as well as a series of questions to start the discussion in a way that's appropriate for her age. This is also a great solution for those mothers who want their daughters to be aware of certain issues but are too embarrassed or uneasy to breach the topic themselves. In a book clubs, there are gonna be parents that are more at ease about discussing those issues than you are, so your daughter will receive all the information she needs by someone you trust, under your supervision, and in a safe way.
This book isn't just for mothers, though. It's for stepmothers, grandmothers, teachers, and any other adult who is entrusted with the care of a little girl. The tone is engaging and entertaining. You'll feel like you're talking to a friend who went through the same problems and can now give you advice on how to solve them. Overall, this is a must read for anyone interested in promoting media literacy in little girls and help them navigate the many issues they will face in their lives. I cannot recommend it enough!
Available at: amazon
Rating: 4.5/5

Understanding Troubled Minds by Sidney Bloch
Mental illnesses are very common. They are also widely misunderstood. In most people's minds, a person affected by a mental illness is a dangerous lunatic who must be locked away so that he/she won't physically hurt himself/herself or anyone around them. What few realise is that mental illnesses, just like physical ones, can take many forms. Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, dependency on alcohol and drugs, sexual dysfunctions, and psychoses, to name a few, are all mental illnesses that rob their victims of a full and vibrant life.
Unfortunately, the stigma associated with these illnesses, and a still prevalent belief that many of them such as depression or drug abuse are caused by a weak character, prevent people from seeking help. The truth is that like any other organ of the body, the brain can get sick. The brain is the organ that makes decisions, so, when it gets sick, the person affected is unable to reason clearly and often acts and thinks in a way that's harmful (although rarely violent) to them and those around them, especially their families. Relatives and friends, unable to understand what's going on in their minds, often get frustrated when a loved one acts in an "irresponsible" way and refuses all offers of help. Few of us know what to do in those circumstances.
That's why Understanding Troubled Minds should be in anyone's bookshelf. Written by psychiatric Sidney Bloch, this guide explains all you need to know about mental illnesses. After a brief history of mental illnesses, the author discusses all the different types of mental illnesses, from mood to eating disorders, from psychosomatic illnesses to disturbances of personality, and more. There are also sections of the mental illnesses that most commonly affect women, children, adolescents and the elderly. The final chapters are dedicated to the explanation of both drugs and psychotherapies used to treat the mentally ill, strategies to promote mental health, and the ethical problems faced by psychiatrists.
Bloch writes in a matter-of-fact way, without passing judgements. His style is concise and straight-to-the-point, informative, and clear even for laymen. He doesn't fill the book with technical and medical language only a few can understand. Each chapters also features the stories of patients affected by the discussed diseases, allowing the reader to better relate to the patients and understand why they're acting the way they do. At times, I found the writing a bit dry in places. After all, this is a concise medical encyclopedia about mental illnesses, so I supposed that was to be expected. But overall, the book flows easily. Bloch did an incredible job at presenting such a controversial, misunderstood and complex topic in such a human and easy-to-understand way. I highly recommend it to both professional and laymen.
Available at: Random House
Rating: 4.5/5

The Person Called You: Why You're Here, Why You Matter & What You Should Do With Your Life by Bill Hendricks
Too many people have no idea about to do with their lives. They are lost, not sure in which direction to go. Or trapped in a job that, even when well-paid, doesn't fulfil them. They know there's something better out there for them, something that will give their lives purpose, but they don't know what it is and how to achieve it.
Enter Bill Hendricks. A giftedness expert, hendricks believes that we are all born with certain individual gifts. It's only when we honour them that we can live a fulfilled life. Although these gifts start emerging from the moment we're born, figuring out what they are can sometimes be difficult. Even when we do, we are often conditioned to think that they're useless and that you could never make a living with them. How could you earn money, for instance, by listening to people discussing their problems and commenting about them? And yet, Oprah Winfrey made millions doing just that! Of course, like Hendricks points out, not everyone will make millions or become famous by honouring their gifts, but their quality of life will definitely improve. A person who is gifted at drawing may never become the next Picasso or Michelangelo, but they could become a cartoonist, a graphic designer, an animator, an architect, or a tattoo artist. There are so many options and yet, because we are aware of only a few of them, we tend to think it's impossible to pursue our real passions and, instead, opt for a safe job behind a desk that, in the best case scenario, makes us unhappy, and in the worst, leaves us unemployed when those safe jobs are made redundant.
In The Person Called You, Hendricks offers us a step-by-step process to understand what we are, what our gifts are, and how can we use them to find a job that suits us, improve our relationships with others, and live a better quality life. The book is full of both historical and fictional examples that shows us the impact honouring or neglecting our gifts has on our lives. It's a very inspiring read. But Hendricks' approach is also practical. He doesn't hide the fact that finding a job that suits our gifts, for instance, is not easy, and that no job will ever be a completely perfect fit. But he also puts these challenges in perspective, offering practical tips to make choices that will lead, one step at a time, to a more fulfilled life.
Hendricks is very passionate about his mission, and it clearly shows in every line. The Person Called You is a very easy and pleasurable read. But of course, you do have to implement his tips if you want to see some real changes in your life. Overall, this book should be a mandatory read for any student trying to figure out what career to pursue, as well as anyone who is at a crossroad in their lives, or is thinking about quitting a job that's making them miserable.
Available at: amazon
Rating: 4/5

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Disclaimer: I received these books in exchange for my honest opinion. In addition, this post contains affiliate links.