New Nonfiction Books: October 2017

New nonfiction books of interest address infidelity, a well-known psychiatrist’s life story, Trumpism, online shaming, and creativity.

I. The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity by Esther Perel

In at least a couple recent articles, “Why Is Modern Love So Damn Hard?” and “Why Happy People Cheat” (The Atlantic), therapist Esther Perel presents info from her new book on infidelity.

A key introductory concept from The State of Affairs: “…(C)ontained within the small circle of the wedding band are vastly contradictory ideals. We want our chosen one to offer stability, safety, predictability, and dependability…and we want that very same person to supply awe, mystery, adventure, and risk.”

As Perel states in the second article cited above, “Once, we strayed because marriage was not supposed to deliver love and passion. Today, we stray because marriage fails to deliver the love and passion it promised. It’s not our desires that are different today, but the fact that we feel entitled—even obligated—to pursue them.”

II. Becoming Myself: A Psychiatrists’s Memoir by Irvin B. Yalom

At 86, prolific author and psychiatrist Irvin Yalom still sees patients. And now he’s finished what he believes is his last book, his memoir. What he wrote on Facebook at the end of June:

It was hard to finish. I hated to let this book go because I know it will be my last book. My friends roll their eyes as I say this: they’ve heard it often before. But this time I really mean it. I’ve always had a large stack of unwritten books in my mind but the last one was always to be a memoir. I finish it with a sense of pride – it is the book I wanted to write – but I finish it also with a sense of sadness, even grief, because I now face the new task, so difficult for committed writers, of living well without a book project.

III. Trump is F*cking Crazy: (This Is Not a Joke) by Keith Olbermann 

From the publisher: “With more than 50 individual essays adapted from his GQ commentaries, including new up-to-the-minute material, TRUMP IS F*CKING CRAZY is essential reading for concerned citizens who—like Olbermann—refuse to normalize or accept our new political reality.”

Kirkus Reviews reports that Olbermann’s main “focus is on the man he despises and on the minions who support him. The pieces are generally short and sharply focused on something quite recent at the time of composition—Trump’s post-election talk to the CIA, the testimony of Sally Yates—and the prose is consistently aggressive and often abrasive. Unrelenting invective for Trump haters, who will love it; Trump lovers won’t read it.”

IV. Shame Nation: The Global Epidemic of Online Hate by Sue Scheff (with Melissa Schorr)

Sue Scheff has a Psychology Today blog also called “Shame Nation” and is the founder of Parents’ Universal Resources Experts.

A review by Katie Hurley, LCSW: “Relatable, intelligent, and engaging from the first sentence, Shame Nation sheds much-needed light on our current culture of online shaming and cyberbullying. Thoroughly researched and packed with eye opening anecdotes, Shame Nation will help you learn why people choose to shame one another online, and what to do if it happens to you or a loved one. Sue Scheff is an invaluable resource in the digital world and this book should be required reading in high school, college, and the workplace.”

V. Things Are What You Make of Them: Life Advice for Creatives by Adam J. Kurtz

From the publisher: “As wry and cheeky as it is empathic and empowering, this deceptively simple, vibrantly full-color book will be a touchstone for writers, artists, entrepreneurs, and anyone else who wants to be more creative–even when it would be easier to give up and act normal.”

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