May proved to be another busy month! We logged quite a few miles on hiking trails, squeezed in a weekend camping trip, and made sure we spent more time outside overall. I still managed to read a couple of books this month…well, I finished one and tried to get through another. Oddly enough, both books had the word “shadows” in the title. However, the similarities stopped there…
Dreams and Shadows, by C. Robert Cargill
I picked up this science fiction novel during a “daily deal” eBook promotion and thought I’d challenge myself to venture outside my typical reads. I have to admit, my first foray into science fiction was pretty disappointing and this book was abandoned about a quarter of the story. Perhaps sci-fi is just not my style, or maybe it was not a great first book for the genre. The plot seemed to be all over the place and not really in a character development manner. I did manage to get through the first 100 or so pages, before abandoning the Dreams and Shadows altogether. Up to that point, the story had involved a cast of seemingly unrelated characters including baby-snatching rejected spawn of fairies and goblins, a wish-granting genie, fairies, and changelings, among others. About a quarter of the way into the novel, a rather gruesome scene played out when several of these forest inhabitants teamed up to systematically and violently kill four campers one-by-one. I was struggling to get through the book, but that last scene sealed the deal for me.
Shadows In The Sun, by Gayathri Ramrasad
“The more I try to control my errant moods, the less in control I feel. With each passing day, the stone wall of alienation grows thicker, taller, and more impenetrable between us, until I feel completely abandoned. Unable to think clearly or cope, I withdraw into a shell of sullen defiance. I need their approval as much as a sunflower needs the sun. Devoid of it, I begin to wilt – physically and emotionally.”
Gayathri Ramrasad penned her memoir, Shadows in the Sun, recounting her lifelong struggle with depression and generalized anxiety disorder. Born and raised in India, in a culture that views depression as a sign of weakness and a disgrace for her family, Gayathri and her family hid her illness and assumed that prayer and rest would remedy her erratic mood swings. Her arranged marriage to an Indian man living in United States moved Gayathri to Portland. With a fresh start and new life, her emotional and mental well-being temporarily improved and her family felt it was all behind them. Following the birth of her daughter, Gayathri’s depression spiraled out of control. Suicidal thoughts and attempts became a regular occurrence. Once properly diagnosed, Gayathri begins a long road to recovery which included failed attempts with medications, supervised psychiatric care and holistic approaches to controlling her depression. Gayathri’s memoir offers a raw and uncensored view of the mental state of a person suffering from depression. With mental health being such an important and controversial topic in our society, I found Gayathri’s story to be enlightening and moving. A must read for those who know someone who is suffering from depression.
What have you been reading lately? Any suggestions for an easy or fun pool/beach read? I just picked up Emily Giffin’s latest novel and plan to read it this month. I would love other suggestions.