MIA Reading Challenge

Mental Illness Advocacy (MIA) Reading Challenge

About the Challenge:
I started the Mental Illness Advocacy (MIA) Reading Challenge in December 2010 in an effort to raise awareness, knowledge, and acceptance of mental illness.  Reading, both fiction and nonfiction, is an excellent way to broaden one’s horizons and expose one to new ideas and ways of thinking and being.  Many reading challenges already existed in the book blogging community to address racism, sexism, and homophobia, but I could not find any to address the stigma faced by those suffering from mental illness.  In spite of mental illnesses being recognized by the scientific community as diseases just like physical ones, many still think those suffering from one are at fault for their own suffering.  I hope reading and reviewing books featuring characters struggling to deal with mental illness, whether their own or another person’s, will help remove the stigma faced on a daily basis by those with a mental illness.  They already have to struggle with an illness; they shouldn’t have to face a stigma too.

Please note that this is the original MIA Reading Challenge. For the years 2010-2014 there were no other reading challenges addressing mental illness.

What books count?
Any book, fiction or nonfiction, that is either about mental illness or features characters or real people with a mental illness counts for the challenge.  However, the book must not demonize people with mental illnesses.

So, for example, the movie Fatal Attraction, which features a character with Borderline Personality Disorder, would not count since she is demonized in the movie.  However, Girl Interrupted, which also features a character with Borderline Personality Disorder, would count since that character is presented as a three-dimensional person with good and bad traits.

If you’re having trouble coming up with books to read for the challenge, check out the list of reading suggestions below.

Challenge Levels:
Acquainted–4 books
Aware–8 books
Advocate–12 books

GoodReads Group
It’s not required to join the GoodReads group, but it’s there if you want to join it.  Joining it will automatically notify you when a new read is added to the reading suggestions list.

Sign Up:
Sign up by commenting on this page!

Participant Reviews:
Participants, please plug in links to reviews completed for the challenge in the comments below. Thanks!

Please feel free to use the reading challenge’s hashtag #miarc to help generate more conversation among participants.

Reading Suggestions:
I’ll be maintaining a listing here of books featuring characters with a mental illness depicted in a sympathetic light.  I do my best to organize the book by the main type of mental illness featured, although some feature more than one.

You may also check out the listing I maintain of participants’ reads here.  Please be aware that I have not read all of the books in that list and thus cannot guarantee that the exact mental illness listed is correct or that the character(s) with mental illness is not demonized.

Suggestions list last updated on 1/01/2015. Books reviewed after that date will be added to the list on the next page maintenance day.

Addictive Disorders



Antisocial Personality Disorder

Asperger’s Syndrome

Bipolar Disorder

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)



Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID, formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder or MPD)

Mental Retardation

Munchausen by Proxy

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Panic Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)



Sensory Processing Disorder

Sleep Disorders

Tourette’s Syndrome

Note to Authors and Publishers:
This listing is carefully researched and vetted by me.  You cannot simply request to be on it to be placed on it.  I must have read the book and rated it at least 4 stars or the book must be highly credited in the psychiatric field to be included on the list.  I put a lot of effort into this list, and I will not add books to it on a whim.  If you believe your book fits, you may offer me a review copy and specifically mention the relevance to the MIA Challenge in the email, but please do not leave comments or email me asking me to simply add your book to the list.  Check out my Review Policies for further details.

  1. mrsborderlinehughbanks
    December 24, 2010 at 2:15 am

    So far when the new year starts I will be starting on the book ” Cut I will make a post for each chapter ( that will probably take 2 wks tops to read). I then will start on The Buddha and The Borderline ( that will probably take me 2 – 3 months tops to read). i am still decided on which other 2 books to read. I might read more than four in 2011 just taking it slow at first.

    • Karen
      January 16, 2011 at 12:12 am

      I’m also very curious about The Buddha and The Borderline. I can’t wait to hear what you say about it.

      I’ll be starting my first book on this challenge tomorrow: I Don’t Want To Be Crazy by Samantha Schutz, but I have a whole slew in the queue through my library and from audible.com.

      • January 17, 2011 at 11:32 am

        I’m so excited to start seeing the reviews!

  2. mrsborderlinehughbanks
    December 24, 2010 at 2:28 am

    Ok I have made my decision on thetwo other books I want to read …..

    1. Get me Out of here

    2.Hungry: A Mother and Daughter Fight Anorexia

    The second is about a jounrey between a mother and daughter dealing with anorexia. It is written by both Mother an Daughter.

    • December 24, 2010 at 10:39 am

      Those all sound like excellent choices! I’m especially looking forward to your posts for each chapter of Cut and to see what you think of The Buddha and the Borderline. :-)

  3. January 5, 2011 at 8:40 am

    I’d like to take up your challenge. I’ve already read some of the books on your list and I haven’t yet decided which of the others I want to read. I’d like to read as many as possible and review them on my website.

    I’d also like to recommend an excellent book: The Madman’s Tale by John Katzenbach. It’s a murder mystery told from the viewpoint of a schizophrenic.

    • January 5, 2011 at 9:12 am

      Oh, excellent. I’m glad you’ll be participating, and I’ll add your suggestion to the list!

  4. January 11, 2011 at 6:33 am

    this is a read from last year but thought you might want to check out my review.

    I also read Eye Contact by Cammie McGovern which fits in and was an excellent book, I just didn’t review it. It is well worth reading again

  5. January 11, 2011 at 7:08 am

    I’ve decided to join the challenge (here I also thought of another book Soft Spots, this is a PTSD memoir

    I did change the graphic, I’m bi-polar and this seems to fit how I feel sometimes.

    • January 11, 2011 at 9:12 am

      Great! Glad to have you in the challenge! And thanks for the recs.

  6. Karen
    January 22, 2011 at 12:41 am
    • January 24, 2011 at 10:40 am

      Glad your first read was enjoyable! I know people with panic issues, so now I really want to read this one too.

  7. Karen
    January 24, 2011 at 1:07 am

    This next book is a work of fiction and only peripherally deals with mental illness, but the illness in question does greatly impact our leading character, so I’ll leave it up to you to make the final decision whether it counts or not.


  8. Karen
    January 24, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    wolfshowl :
    I’d say, if you feel like it counts, then it counts.

    It is a good view on what repercussions untreated mental illness can have on family members.

  9. Karen
    January 30, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    Just finished Devil in the Details: Scenes from an Obsessive Girlhood by Jennifer Traig and my review is here

    • January 31, 2011 at 9:19 am

      So glad you enjoyed it! I was unaware that Jennifer was also Jewish and used the Jewish laws as part of her OCD. That definitely makes for a unique story.

      • Karen
        January 31, 2011 at 2:51 pm

        Oh yeah, the Jewish laws just gave her so much fodder for her OCD. At one point, she works with a rabbi to sort through her quirks to see what is actual law and what is the illness.

  10. Karen
    January 31, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    At some point, this reading furor will slow down… until then, here is my review of Kay Redfield Jamison’s An Unquiet Mind.

    • February 3, 2011 at 10:47 am

      Wow, good going, Karen! Glad to see you’re getting so much relevant reading done. :-)

  11. Karen
    February 5, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Yeah, so the furor hasn’t slowed yet… so I have a review of Patricia McCormick’s Cut here.

    BTB, I simply adore audiobooks. I kind of feel like a kid again with someone reading to me and it allows me to do other things while listening to the story!

    • February 7, 2011 at 10:08 am

      Go, go Karen!! I also enjoy audiobooks. They’re great accompaniment to doing housework. :-)

  12. February 9, 2011 at 7:51 am

    I’ve read and reviewed my first book for this challenge, The Silver Linings Play Book by Matthew Quick, check it out here:


    • February 9, 2011 at 10:41 am

      Yay! Go Jessica! Go go, go Jessica!

  13. February 13, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    First book read for the challenge. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

    • Karen
      February 14, 2011 at 11:18 pm

      Ironically, I too just finished reading The Bell Jar. I totally agree on wishing Plath had dealt more with the treatment aspect of her illness, but from what I’ve been told about electroconvulsive therapy, she might not remember it.

      I think I related better to the main character after her breakdown than before it.

      • February 16, 2011 at 10:39 am

        Great job, Karen. I especially appreciated how you pointed out that the illnesses are the same no matter the time period, just society and the treatment of it is different.

    • February 14, 2011 at 10:20 am

      Yay, congrats! Sorry you didn’t love The Bell Jar, but glad it was still enjoyable.

  14. Karen
    February 24, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    *sigh* I downloaded the audiobook version of Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh and can only understand about one word in ten between the very strong accent and the addict speak from another country no less… *sigh* It might be better through the ear phones than my computer’s one working speaker, but I’m not holding my breath. FWIW, if you’re on the western side of the Atlantic Ocean, don’t get the audiobook of this, unless you’ve spent time in the UK or have very, very good hearing.

    • February 25, 2011 at 11:04 am

      Ahh yes. I’ve heard the accents in the movie version of Trainspotting are thick. It makes sense they would be in the audiobook too. Too bad. :-(

  15. Karen
    February 27, 2011 at 12:16 am

    and now for Darkly Dreaming Dexter, a fictional account of a sociopathic serial killer.

    • February 28, 2011 at 2:19 pm

      If it’s anything like the tv show, it’ll be awesome!

      • Karen
        February 28, 2011 at 8:51 pm

        I started watching the first episode on Netflix just to see how the book and the show compare and maybe it’s me… my dark sense of humor… but the book is funnier – much funnier. The narrator’s performance in the first audiobook is great – ironic and sardonic. Now some of the lines (even in the first 15 minutes) are right out of the book, but delivered differently between the book and the show… the performance in the show seems flat, deflated in comparison and in the book, Dexter states flat out he’s Dead Inside Dexter – he feels no emotions and fakes everything. In the show, they wimp out on that part a bit.

      • March 2, 2011 at 10:20 am

        It took me a few episodes to get into the tv show. I do think it improves with time. However, I have yet to the read the books, and in general, books are better than the film or tv show. (The only big exception to that being True Blood).

    • Karen
      March 3, 2011 at 7:52 pm

      Hi, my name is Karen and I’m completely hooked on Dexter – I can see why they made a TV show about this character. I’ll include the brief review I posted of this book, Dearly Devoted Dexter, but since it’s not a new subject or anything, I don’t want to count it towards the MIARC. Otherwise reading the whole series (as part of me really wants to do) would artificially pad my count. :-D

      • March 4, 2011 at 10:03 am

        Hey, however you want to count things! I won’t complain at all if you want to count each Dexter book. However, I do understand if you want to ensure more diversity in your reading. :-)

      • Karen
        March 20, 2011 at 10:53 pm

        I’m sorely disappointed… IMNSHO, Dexter in the Dark betrays its origins… ~sigh~

        does the TV series jump the shark like this too??? shees!

      • March 21, 2011 at 8:40 am

        The tv series has yet to jump the shark, but then again, I just finished the 4th season. Could still happen! Sorry Dexter in the Dark was disappointing. :-(

  16. Karen
    March 3, 2011 at 12:11 am

    Well, looky… I stumbled upon this one quite by accident… Missing by Karin Alvtegen. Long before this story takes place, the main character spent time in a mental hospital after some breakdown. We see some of her experiences then through random flashbacks. While no diagnosis is presented in the story, the symptoms (and environmental factors/triggers) are there. And, yes, in the story, the main character is demonized, but not directly due to her illness… In fact, they vilify her and then pull up the hospitalization as a sort of vindication for doing so.

  17. Karen
    March 9, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    And now, House Rules by Jodi Piccoult

    OK, true, this book I would have read with or without the MIARC – I like Piccoult’s work for the most part, but, without going into too much detail here, this is a gem.

  18. March 20, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Finished Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood, never fully know for sure, but hinted that the character, Grace has Multiple Personality disorder. Also an interesting read on how people who were mentally ill were treated in the late 1800s.

    My Review

    • March 21, 2011 at 8:39 am

      Oh very cool! Atwood is one of my all-time favorite writers, but I have yet to read Alias Grace. I’ll have to add it to my wishlist asap. :-)

  19. March 26, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    I have now read and reviewed my second book for this challenge, The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean, check out my review here:


  20. May 6, 2011 at 2:33 am

    Now I have read and reviewed my third book, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, check it out here:


    • May 6, 2011 at 8:41 am

      Gosh, I must say I’m surprised, but also pleased, at how popular Sylvia Plath is among all you challenge participants! Way to go, Jessica. :-)

  21. Karen
    May 24, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Hi, I’m back… did ya miss me?

    My latest entry into this challenge is The Silver Linings Playbook. My interest was sparked after reading jessicabookworm’s review.

    FWIW, I’ve also been working through a “technical manual” style book, which is so much harder for me to read than the fictions & semi-autobiographical works. Hopefully, I’ll be posting about that soon as well.

    • May 25, 2011 at 12:45 pm

      I love seeing the interaction going among you guys!

      And of course I missed you. ;-)

  22. Karen
    June 1, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Me again. Back with a review of Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robinson. OK, technically, I didn’t write a review, but I carefully picked the reviews from another website with which I agreed – that should count for something, right? ;-)

    • June 2, 2011 at 1:33 pm

      Yay more Asperger’s books!

  23. June 7, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    I have now read and reviewed my fourth book for this challenge, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. Check out my review here:


    • June 10, 2011 at 9:15 am

      Excellent, Jessica!

      • Karen
        July 5, 2011 at 1:13 pm

        Since my 16yo niece was just diagnosed with Asperger’s, there will be a lot more books coming up about the syndrome as I further educate myself.

      • July 6, 2011 at 3:01 pm

        I’m sorry to hear you now have mental illness in the family, but what a great thing for your niece that she has such an advocating aunt!

  24. Dana M
    June 10, 2011 at 7:34 am

    I want to highly recommend The Noonday Demon: an Atlas of Depression by Andrew Solomon. An incredible, humane, and instructive book. I have learned and felt so much. It will help and inform many people!

  25. Karen
    July 5, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Hey there, I’ve had a busy month of reading… Here are my write-ups for Running with Scissors, Dry, Manic, and Along for the Ride. In my own list, I include Running with Scissors in the “undisclosed/unknown” category.

    • July 6, 2011 at 3:00 pm

      Oh, Dry has been on my reading wishlist for a long time! I’m glad to see you picked it up. :-)

      • Karen
        July 6, 2011 at 3:43 pm

        I really enjoyed Dry. You can read it with Running with Scissors or on its own – it can stand alone. Burroughs is entertaining and really doesn’t seem to hold anything back, so you can see the dark and grungy as well as the strength and beauty.

        The humor about his misconception of rehab, its sad reality, the core of addiction, the strength it takes to recover – amazing stuff really

    • Karen
      July 6, 2011 at 11:13 am

      just poking a little fun at myself because I can… to reiterate, the Challenge Levels:

      Acquainted – 4 books
      Aware – 8 books
      Advocate – 12 books

      I propose that for someone who reads 16+ related books in a year, the level should be “Consumer” or “Client” ;-) because those titles above represent 13, 14, 15, & 16 and I have 17 sitting in my purse right now as well as another dozen or two in my Library reading list. So either I am very committed to this or I should be … ;-)

      • July 6, 2011 at 2:59 pm

        Lol, I like your sense of humor with yourself! And you definitely are very committed, and that’s a nice thing to see!

  26. Karen
    July 6, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    I’m sorry to hear you now have mental illness in the family, but what a great thing for your niece that she has such an advocating aunt!

    Oh, my niece’s Asperger’s diagnosis wasn’t the first in the family. It’s kind of rampant in my family. My maternal uncle was diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia. My brother was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, though I don’t think his therapist knew his complete history. Unfortunately, he died before it could come to light. Additionally, I have been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder (so I’m not only an Advocate, I’m also a Consumer ;-). I think I commented on the other post about all the books on BPD – I’ve read all but one on this list and could name quite a few more. I’ve done a lot of research on it since my diagnosis. My research there has also shaped my reading list here – I’ve been focusing my reading on other illnesses and conditions.

  27. Karen
    July 29, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    I’m back with another book about Asperger’s: John Elder Robison’s Be Different. Loved it!

  28. September 18, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Have another book this time its Depression/PSTD -Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson My Review

    • September 29, 2011 at 8:38 am

      Oh I’m glad to see a review of Speak! I’ve heard many good things about it.

      • September 30, 2011 at 7:14 am

        It’s well worth reading, hopefully you get a chance to read it soon.

  29. September 29, 2011 at 3:26 am

    I have now read and reviewed my sixth book for this challenge, Mr Monster by Dan Wells, the best read for the challenge so far! For my review use the link below:


    • September 29, 2011 at 8:39 am

      I’m so glad you like the I Am Not a Serial Killer series! We’ve finally found non-cozy violence you like. :-) *high-five*

      • November 1, 2011 at 4:19 am

        Haha yes I must be getting used to the violence because I’ve just read and reviewed my seventh book for the challenge…and surprise surprise its I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells. Technically only one more book to read now for my level!! For my review use the link below:


      • November 1, 2011 at 9:53 am

        Clearly my evil secret plot is working…. ;-)
        Great job, Jessica! So close to being finished with the challenge this year.

  30. November 30, 2011 at 2:55 am

    I have now read and reviewed my eighth and final book for this challenge, Emotional Geology by Linda Gillard, to check out my review use the link below:


  31. December 1, 2011 at 11:45 am

    I would love to be a part of the MIA reading challenge. I think breaking up the stigmas of mental illness is important. I suppose I feel this way to because I currently suffer from mental illness. I have a blog on wordpress called Depressionandbpd.me . I created this blog to help Borderline Personalities and non-BP’S. Please stop by and check it out some time. I would love to post your blog link on my blogroll links page so that other readers can participate in your challenge and learn more about mental illness.

    • December 1, 2011 at 12:37 pm

      I’m so excited to have a new participant already this year!! Welcome to the challenge, and please feel free to link and promote however you like.

  32. December 17, 2011 at 12:30 am

    I’m so excited to find out about the Mental Illness Advocacy Reading Challenge, because one of the reasons I wrote my new novel, Playing the Genetic Lottery, was to raise awareness and understanding about schizophrenic. My novel is a fictional story of a 32-year-old who grew up with two schizophrenic parents. I published it in November 2011 as an e-book, and am planning to release it as a paperback in 2012. May I send you a digital copy for you to review?

  33. January 2, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Finished the challenge, just late posting my final thoughts! Thanks for the challenge, my final reviews are included with the link below. But I read some great books in the end.
    Piano Man’s Daughter, Halfway House, Alias Grace, Woman on the Edge of Time and Unless are all noteworthy!


    Thanks again for the challenge!

    • January 3, 2012 at 9:11 am

      Thanks for being such an amazing participant, Jules!

  34. froggy
    January 3, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    This is amazing. Thank you so much for doing this! As someone with DID/MPD you just made all of us want to read more. :)

  35. January 11, 2012 at 4:12 am

    Hello Amanda, just to officially let you all know I’ve signed up for this challenge again this year. Here is the link to my sign-up post:


    • January 13, 2012 at 9:31 am

      Thanks, Jessica! So glad to have you back this year. :-)

  36. March 14, 2012 at 3:31 am

    I have read and reviewed my first book for this challenge in 2012, Stuart: A Life Backwards by Alexander Masters, check out my review with this link:


  37. April 4, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Back again! Not a read this time but have done a relevant review of the screen adaptation of Girl, Interrupted which I thought people might be interested in.

    My review: http://thebookwormchronicles.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/girl-interrupted-2000/

  38. April 19, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Hi everyone! I never made an official announcement, I am part of the challenge this year. I have mentioned that I am participating on my blog though. http://daniellewood728.wordpress.com

    I’ve read & reviewed 2 books now (I know these are 2 from the list, but in case anyones interested):


    • April 20, 2012 at 11:39 am

      I’m so glad you’re joining us!! The challenge is so important, and I’m glad to be getting more participants at any point in the year :-)

      And please do always link your reviews, even if they’re already on the list. Actually, especially if! It’ll help let the community know about your reviews.


  39. May 18, 2012 at 7:23 am

    I have now read and reviewed my second book for the challenge this year, Untying the Knot by Linda Gillard, which focuses on post-traumatic stress disorder.

    My review: http://thebookwormchronicles.wordpress.com/2012/05/18/untying-the-knot-linda-gillard/

  40. May 22, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    I read a book for the OCD category. Addition by Toni Jordan. The young lady, Grace, is obsessed with numbers— everything in her life is controlled by counting. It’s a romance novel but has some wonderfully poignent messages along the funny and quirky writing. Here’s my review, it took me a long time to get around to writing it so it’s not as fresh in my mind— but I still recommend checking out the book. http://daniellewood728.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/addition-by-toni-jordan/

    • May 22, 2012 at 10:51 pm

      Woo yay! *applause* Glad to see a returning fresh face. :-) I’ll be sure to check out your review tomorrow.

  41. May 30, 2012 at 3:53 am

    I have now read and reviewed my third book for the challenge this year, a slightly more unconventional choice but once I read it thought it would be appropiate, Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys.

    My Review: http://thebookwormchronicles.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/wide-sargasso-sea-jean-rhys/

    • June 11, 2012 at 3:26 pm

      I went over and commented on your blog but forgot to do so here. Thanks for finding a unique book for the challenge, Jessica!

  42. June 9, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    Finished my 4th book for the challenge. The Cloud of Unknowing by Thomas Cook.

    As I mention in my post I was on the fence reading this whether the book really was about schizophrenia and thus if it’s a good awareness book. I’m still not sure it is but I do look at everything I read in a different light after reading the ending to the book. Actions, and words match with textbook paranoid schizophrenia and thus it’s a good book overall— plus it’s a good suspenseful read.


    • June 11, 2012 at 3:30 pm

      I love how you go into detail in your post about how you went about making a list of holdings that count for the challenge in your local library. Thanks for all the effort, Danielle!

  43. June 25, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Hi, Wasn’t sure how to contact you. I’m working on a website collecting titles of written work by people with mental health issues. Could I link to this page in my ‘links’ section? The site isn’t up yet but my blog is ephena.wordpress.com

    • June 25, 2012 at 2:51 pm

      Hi Annette,
      Thank you for asking! Yes, feel free to link to this page, but please do be aware that not *all* of the titles on the list are by someone with a mental illness. Some of them are by advocates/supporters/friends.

  44. June 25, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    That’s great. My list will be people with mental illness/madness, but I want to have a section with links to other reading lists, some of which might have other authors etc. The site is supposed to be for people with issues/challenges, but we’ll have to see what happens.

    • January 7, 2013 at 11:32 am

      So great to have you back again! Thanks for linking up to your posts. :-)

  45. January 9, 2013 at 11:03 am

    I admire this challenge. I think mental illness awareness is very important. I was hoping I’d find someone who was hosting an Autism Awareness theme in April, but this is even better. I’m not sure how many books I’ll end up reading, but I really look forward to seeing what everyone else reads!


    • January 10, 2013 at 10:27 am

      What an awesome entry post! I’m so pleased that you found a challenge to suit your hopes. :-) Looking forward to seeing your 2013 reads.

  46. January 11, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    What a wonderful challenge! The fact that you are doing this challenge means a lot to me. I suffer from severe depression and possibly BPD and/or bipolar. Doctors can’t agree. http://booksareportablemagic.blogspot.com/2013/01/mental-illness-advocacy-mia-reading.html

    • January 12, 2013 at 11:31 am

      Hi Julie!
      Welcome to the challenge! I’m so glad you found it :-) I’m sorry that doctors struggle for a diagnosis for you. That must be very difficult. But keep up the hope! Recovery is a step-by-step process for everyone. And I hope you find the challenge encouraging in your process.

  47. January 15, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Alright, here goes. I only put down four books due to current time constraints, but so many on the list sound interesting that I may have to extend that at some point! In any case, here’s the link: http://bookingitup.wordpress.com/2013-challenges/. On a side note, I’m halfway through Hunger already, and it’s really good!

    • January 15, 2013 at 4:11 pm

      Welcome to the challenge, Alexandra! So glad to have you and glad you’ve found the suggestions list helpful. I’m glad you’re enjoying Hunger as much as I did so far. Hope the rest of the challenge is just as engaging for you!

  48. February 10, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Just finished another book. This one touches on Depression/Post-Post-partum depression. It’s the Age of Hope by David Bergen. http://www.julesbookreviews.com/2013/02/book-review-age-of-hope.html

    • February 12, 2013 at 11:53 am

      That looks like it was an interesting read, Jules, although it’s too bad you didn’t enjoy it more.

  49. Ang
    July 8, 2013 at 10:02 am

    So far I have read Wintergirls and Soft Spots. Now I am looking for suggestions for books with a basis in Sensory Processing Disorder, any suggestions?

    • July 9, 2013 at 2:10 pm

      Hi Ang! Thanks for participating in the challenge and giving me an interesting new topic to look into. It appears that most of the books published so far addressing SPD are either nonfiction for parents/educators on how to deal with it or a few picture books for children. I was also able to find one memoir, however. The memoir is Not Just Spirited: A Mom’s Sensational Journey With Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) by Chynna T. Laird http://www.amazon.com/Not-Just-Spirited-Sensational-Processing/dp/1615990089/ref=cm_lmf_tit_11. What appears to be the most highly trusted book for adults dealing with a child with SPD is The Out-of-Sync Child by Carol Kranowitz http://www.amazon.com/Out-Sync-Child-Carol-Kranowitz/dp/0399531653/ref=cm_lmf_tit_1. I was unable to find any fiction books with fictional characters with SPD for adults or YA to read. Although, again, there were a few children’s picture books. Hope this helped!

      • Ang
        July 10, 2013 at 11:10 am

        Wow Thank you! I had been having a really hard time finding anything, I was usually referred to books involving Asperger’s instead. I think a memoir would be right up my alley.

      • July 10, 2013 at 3:13 pm

        You’re welcome! Glad to help :-)

  50. August 11, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Here’s my latest review, it was a fantastic read. They main focus on the book was schizophrenia, but it also has focus on depression and substance abuse.
    Away From Everywhere by Chad Pelley http://www.julesbookreviews.com/2013/07/book-review-away-from-everywhere.html

    • August 23, 2013 at 11:03 am

      Sorry it took me a bit to get back to you. I’ve been very busy teaching orientations this August! I’m glad you found a read for the challenge that you loved so much. Yay!

  51. September 14, 2013 at 11:01 am
  52. September 14, 2013 at 11:20 am
    • September 18, 2013 at 3:03 pm

      Wonderful to see two more entries into the challenge, Jules. Thank you!

  53. November 2, 2013 at 2:45 pm
    • November 2, 2013 at 4:07 pm

      It looks like a good read! And I’m excited to see some diversity brought to the Anorexia category.

  54. December 22, 2013 at 5:58 pm
    • December 28, 2013 at 11:01 pm

      You’re going strong, Jules!

  55. December 27, 2013 at 1:16 am

    I’m really looking forward to this challenge. Just joined. Thanks for having this :)

    • December 28, 2013 at 11:01 pm

      Thank you so much for joining! I’m excited you found it. :-)

  56. December 30, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    I made it to 6 books this year. Here is the link for my wrap up post. It contains the list of books and links to my thoughts on them.


    • January 6, 2014 at 1:39 am

      Congratulations! You made it to more books than me this year! So happy to have you participating.

  57. December 31, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    I’m set for 2014. Although I’m committing to the first level, I hope to read more this year. Thank you again for this challenge.

    • January 6, 2014 at 1:39 am

      Thank you for continuing to participate. I’m so happy you enjoy the challenge.

  58. January 10, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    First book read and a short review on my blog. I started this challenge with “Bent, Not Broken” by William Potter: http://upthehillgang.blogspot.com/2014/01/bent-not-broken.html
    I’m looking forward to visiting other participants’ reviews! Thanks again for this challenge!!

    • January 11, 2014 at 11:27 am

      Congrats on finishing your first read! I’m happy to see a romance featuring OCD show up. :-)

  59. Ang
    February 11, 2014 at 11:02 am

    I just completed my first for the year, Still Alice and boy was it emotional and rather informative. Next on my list is Not Just Spirited.

    I am wondering if you would consider Post Partum Depression, I am looking at Down Came the Rain by Brooke Shields.


    • February 11, 2014 at 11:28 am

      Glad you enjoyed Still Alice, and I’m looking forward to the first review of Not Just Spirited.

      Postpartum Depression definitely counts for the challenge! I simply haven’t had a request to make a category for it separate from Depression. But others have absolutely read Postpartum Depression books for the challenge.

  60. February 13, 2014 at 4:47 am

    I just completed Enduring Love by Ian McEwan. I’m not sure if you would consider de Clerambault’s syndrome. If not, then it’s okay. I am planning to read more than what I signed up for. Thank you for having this challenge again :) Here’s my review of the book: http://5eyedbookworm.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/enduring-love-by-ian-mcewan/

    • February 13, 2014 at 11:08 am

      I had never heard of de Clerambault’s syndrome, but a quick google showed me that it is officially recognized as a mental illness in the psych community and literature, so it definitely counts! Most intriguing to me is the debate about whether or not it is a form of schizophrenia.

      Thanks for introducing a new illness to me. It’s fascinating to read about! If you, or anyone, is interested, there’s a free article on PubMed about the history of the illness and current thoughts on its diagnosis from 2006: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2569288/

  61. March 3, 2014 at 7:48 am

    I have a proposal: I am walking for NAMIWalks NYC (although you guys are welcome to donate that isn’t my purpose here) and I am trying configure a viable way to harness this challenge into a readathon. Maybe $3-5 per book read from each person willing to sponsor me. Anyways, this is just seedling of an idea banter, but if you guys think there is something to it (or not), please don’t hesitate to jump in to tell me so!

  62. March 3, 2014 at 7:56 am

    I’m walking in NAMIWalks NYC and I couldn’t help notice this would be a great readathon. 5-10¢ per page read from each person? I’d take those odds with how much I read.

    • March 3, 2014 at 7:33 pm

      Hi Samantha! It’s wonderful you’re doing the NAMI Walk. I did it myself a few years ago, and it was a very empowering experience. :-)

      You’re welcome to create a readathon connected with the challenge. Just please provide links back to this page and mention that I host the challenge. Let me know if you do decide to do a readathon, and I will promo it here and on twitter.

  63. March 4, 2014 at 10:29 am

    Oops I accidentally posted twice

  64. March 4, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    I’ve got a review of Darkly Dreaming Dexter. The dark sense of humor was definitely outside my comfort zone, but I thought it was very well done :)

    • March 5, 2014 at 10:19 am

      Congrats on your first read! I’m glad you ventured outside of your comfort zone and enjoyed it :-)

  65. Ang
    March 20, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Just stopping by with the links to my reviews so far.

    First was Still Alice – https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/788252275?book_show_action=false

    And then I read Not Just Spirited – https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/663922962?book_show_action=false

    In April I plan on starting Achilles in Vietnam, I am really looking forward to this one.

    • March 20, 2014 at 1:45 pm

      Thanks for linking us to your reviews, Ang!

      I’m so glad that Still Alice struck such a chord with you. What a lovely review!

      I’m sorry Not Just Spirited was a bit info-dense. Unfortunately, there aren’t very many books out there about Sensory Processing Disorder. It isn’t talked about very much, so each book is important. Hopefully more will be published soon!

      • Ang
        March 21, 2014 at 10:22 am

        I agree with you that while Not Just Spirited really pushed information, I think she felt she had to in order to get that info out there. She did reference the other book you have listed, Out of Sync Child several times so I think I might try to read that one as well in the future.

  66. March 22, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    First review of the year!


    It lightly touches on depression during the immigrant experience.

    • March 22, 2014 at 1:16 pm

      Congrats on your first challenge read for the year!

      I’m happy you were able to find a multicultural take on depression, although it’s unfortunate the book didn’t touch as strongly on the main character’s suicidal ideation as it could have. Still a great add to the challenge!

  67. April 10, 2014 at 12:21 am

    Sharing my second review (out of the four books) for this challenge :)
    The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath – http://5eyedbookworm.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/the-bell-jar-by-sylvia-plath/

    I’ve already completed reading four of the books for the ‘Acquainted’ level, but I need to work on the two more reviews :) Thanks again for having this reading challenge :)

    • April 10, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      Loved the review! Left a comment over on it. :-)

  68. April 12, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Book number two – Timothy Findley’s “The Last of the Crazy People” http://www.julesbookreviews.com/2014/03/book-review-last-of-crazy-people.html

    • April 12, 2014 at 3:43 pm

      Hooray! It sounds like it was a great read, too. :-)

  69. May 24, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Book Number Three – Matthew Quick’s Silver Linings Playbook

    • May 28, 2014 at 1:54 pm

      I’m glad someone read Silver Linings Playbook for the challenge. I’ve been curious about it!

  70. May 29, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Just read January First – a memoir about a father struggling with to find an answer. This is about child onset schizophrenia. I did a mini review on the blog : http://papajm25.blogspot.com/2014/05/january-first-mini-review.html

    • May 29, 2014 at 3:18 pm

      Thanks for linking up your review! (It looks like it’s your first for the challenge, yes?) January First is definitely a controversial book. It’s my hope that when January is grown up, she might write a memoir of her own.

  71. Jo
    June 4, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    First review: Amy & Matthew by Cammie McGovern: http://www.onceuponabookcase.co.uk/2014/06/review-amy-matthew-by-cammie-mcgovern.html

    Love story between two teenagers, one with cerebral palsy, the other with OCD.

    • June 5, 2014 at 9:02 am

      Thanks for linking up your review! Happy to see a romance. :-)

  72. Jo
    June 6, 2014 at 5:46 am

    Second review: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick: http://www.onceuponabookcase.co.uk/2014/06/review-forgive-me-leonard-peacock-by.html

    About a guy planning to commit suicide.

    • June 6, 2014 at 10:03 am

      Great review and looks like it was a quick read too!

  73. Jo
    June 9, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Third review: I am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells: http://www.onceuponabookcase.co.uk/2014/06/review-i-am-not-serial-killer-by-dan.html

    Supernatural thriller about a serial killer obsessed (in the hobby sense) sociopath. Suddenly people start being brutally murdered in his county, and he is determined to catch them.

    Sounds demonising, but really isn’t. Actually a really sympathetic character, one you really get to understand. (I read this because I recently read Breaking Butterflies by M. Anjelais, which has a sociopath in – not only did I not fully understand his mental illness, but he came across as a villain, putting it nicely. I don’t think the author did a very good job with this at all. So was looking for a better story with a sociopath to understand the mental illness more, and not react so badly to someone with a condition they can’t help.)

    • June 10, 2014 at 9:17 am

      Oh, it definitely isn’t demonizing. It’s actually on the list of recommended reads! And I think it’s a great one for demonstrating the realities of Antisocial Personality Disorder to people who think “there’s no way not to demonize sociopaths.” I hope the read helped meet your goal of better understanding sociopathy in a realistic light.

      • Jo
        June 10, 2014 at 3:10 pm

        Aah, sorry, I must have missed that! I thought just in case you hadn’t heard of it, and my description sounded demonising, I should clarify.

        It most definitely did. I actually felt really uncomfortable with my reaction to Cadence in Breaking Butterflies, because I did think he was a monster. Hence wanting to read something different; he had a mental illness, it wasn’t his fault, yet oh my god, I hated him. I wanted to make sure it wasn’t my reaction to this particular mental illness – I don’t want to be prejudiced. But after reading I am Not a Serial Killer, I know it’s not me, but that author doing the mental illness and the character a disservice. John is a sympathetic character, and I understood him, and I like him. I’m so much happier now I know I’m not a bad person, haha! :) Really looking forward to the other books in the trilogy!

      • June 12, 2014 at 9:15 am

        Oh no worries! I of course would much rather people err on the side of caution and critically analyze the books they choose to read for the challenge. I just wanted to point out that it’s a recommended read as well for anyone else reading the comments. :-)

        I’m so glad I Am Not a Serial Killer was able to bring understanding of Antisocial Personality Disorder to you. This is why I keep running the challenge and feel that it’s important. Too often mental illness is used in a “bad guy” character as shorthand for evil, which is patently wrong. Mental Illness doesn’t make anyone evil. Evilness is an entirely separate issue.

        Looking forward to your reviews of the rest of the series!

  74. Jo
    June 19, 2014 at 9:26 am

    Fourth review: When Mr Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan: http://www.onceuponabookcase.co.uk/2014/06/review-when-mr-dog-bites-by-brian.html

    About a boy with Tourette’s Syndrome.

    • June 25, 2014 at 9:09 am

      Yay! Believe it or not, that’s the first participant read featuring Tourette’s Syndrome. I’m quite excited to see it.

  75. July 5, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    Just finished Confessions of a Sociopath… not so sure what readers will think if they’ve never encountered someone with antisocial personality disorders before, so I feel like this is a bit skewed. If the reader has met someone with an ASPD disagnosis, I think it is possible to gleam some interesting insight… for the lay reader though, it may just come off as a silly memoir about someone with a huge ego.


    • July 10, 2014 at 1:36 pm

      That sounds very interesting! I haven’t seen a memoir by someone with APD before. What a great find!

  76. Ang
    July 7, 2014 at 10:27 am

    I am a little behind in linking up my reviews but I have finished two more books (though they aren’t listed above or official I think they fit this challenge very well).

    Down Came the Rain by Brooke Shields – Post Partum Depression – https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/783019481?book_show_action=false

    Dependent by Brenda Corey Dunne – Depression and maybe a little non combat PTSD – https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/911845341?book_show_action=false

    I am still planning to read one or two more books this year hopefully!

    • July 10, 2014 at 1:40 pm

      Ang, the list above is just reading suggestions. Any book, fiction or nonfiction, that is either about mental illness or features characters or real people with a mental illness counts for the challenge. However, the book must not demonize people with mental illnesses. You by no means have to only read books on the suggestions list. So definitely feel free to venture out!

      I’ve added your reads to the listing of all books read by participants. You might enjoy seeing the wide variety there. Participant Reads and Reviews List.

  77. December 29, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Sorry I didn’t link all along the way, but I am finished with the challenge! Here are my reviews:
    1. You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know by Heather Sellers (face blindness and schizophrenia and alcohol addiction) http://blog.cseditorial.com/2014/01/book-review-you-dont-look-like-anyone-i.html
    2. Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety by Daniel B. Smith (anxiety) http://blog.cseditorial.com/2014/02/book-review-monkey-mind-memoir-of.html
    3. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (PTSD) http://blog.cseditorial.com/2014/06/book-review-we-were-liars-by-e-lockhart.html
    4. The Good House by Ann Leary (addiction) http://blog.cseditorial.com/2014/07/book-review-good-house-by-ann-leary.html
    5. Columbine by Dave Cullen (psychopathy) http://blog.cseditorial.com/2014/07/book-review-columbine-by-dave-cullen.html
    6. The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok (schizophrenia) http://blog.cseditorial.com/2014/09/book-review-memory-palace-by-mira-bartok.html
    7. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (cutting, Munchhausen’s by proxy) http://blog.cseditorial.com/2014/10/book-review-sharp-objects-by-gillian.html
    8. The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson (psychopathy) http://blog.cseditorial.com/2014/10/book-review-psychopath-test-journey.html
    9. Someone Else’s Love Story: A Novel by Joshilyn Jackson (Asperger’s) http://blog.cseditorial.com/2014/10/book-review-someone-elses-love-story.html
    10. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (Asperger’s) http://blog.cseditorial.com/2014/11/book-review-rosie-project-by-graeme.html
    11. Cut Me Loose: Sin and Salvation After My Ultra-Orthodox Girlhood by Leah Vincent (cutting, suicide) http://blog.cseditorial.com/2014/11/book-review-cut-me-loose-sin-and.html
    12. The Prince of Frogtown by Rick Bragg (alcoholism) (posting tomorrow)

  78. January 1, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    I’m back for another year. Living with MH issues, it’s easy to become myopic and jaded, and I’m grateful to have this challenge reminding me to stay informed and continue caring.

    My post for this year (that will be updated as needed) will be at: http://comesitbythehearth.blogspot.com/2015/01/mental-illness-advocacy-reading.html

  79. March 4, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    Really can’t wait to join in!! The Curious Incident was a really enjoyable book! I am hoping to finish The Bell Jar (like some others, I didn’t get into it either) as well as start The Silver Linings Playbook, An Unquiet Mind and Look at Me. Thanks as well, this is is a really great way to discover new books as well :-)

    • March 4, 2015 at 4:38 pm

      We are always happy to have more participants! Looking forward to seeing your reviews.

    • March 4, 2015 at 4:05 pm

      Addition by Toni Jordan may also be worth looking at, to see if it would make the list. It is a romance novel, with the main female character having OCD. Well researched and worth a read.

  80. May 12, 2015 at 3:20 am

    I’m joining late but have a few books read already. http://hippiebookreviews.blogspot.com/p/blog-page_12.html

    • May 12, 2015 at 1:53 pm

      Hooray! We’re always glad to have more participants, at any time of year. Thank you for linking up!

  81. November 6, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    Hi, will you be doing this one next year? If so, I’d love to join. I did another reading challenge about mental illness this year, but the blog for that one was deleted several months ago. I’ll gladly join yours if you have it.

    • November 7, 2015 at 7:56 am

      Hi Jamie! Yes! I’ve hosted it every year since 2011 (with sign-ups in December 2010). How many books I myself manage to read for the challenge varies year to year but it is an issue I care about a lot, so I always host the challenge. You’re welcome to join in at any time! No need to wait for official annual sign-ups :-)

      • November 8, 2015 at 11:15 am

        I’ll be joining, but won’t start till next year. I joined a lot of other challenges this year and am trying to finish them. But I definitely will be in next year. This is a good topic to read about.

  82. November 13, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    Here is my sign up post:
    As I said, I will be starting this next year. I have some books in mind already. i know at least one that will also fit into my own challenge that I a hosting next year.

  1. December 16, 2010 at 1:08 am
  2. January 5, 2011 at 5:02 am
  3. March 26, 2011 at 1:34 pm
  4. April 22, 2011 at 2:38 am
  5. May 6, 2011 at 2:33 am
  6. May 16, 2011 at 3:01 am
  7. September 29, 2011 at 3:01 am
  8. November 1, 2011 at 4:03 am

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