Psychology and Reading – Top Picks

I LOVE to read.  In fact, in the past few years it has eclipsed House Hunters as my go-to stress reliever.  I thought I would take this love of books and give you some of my faves.  I’ll start with psychology and mental health oriented picks (smart and professional, huh?) and then give you a couple fun picks.

Top Book for Couples:

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.  This is an oldie but goodie and I recommend it all the time.  I even recommend it for single folks because it can help us all learn more about ourselves.  It’s an easy read, totally relate-able, and so old that you can find it at the library or a used book store for super cheap.  Note: bypass the new versions and stick with the original.

Top Books for Parents:

The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness by Edward Hallowell.  I read this book for the first time before I even had kids of my own – I liked it then and now.  Dr. Hallowell’s writing style is honest and straightforward, but he doesn’t talk down to his readers as many parenting book authors do.

Parenting Your Out of Control Child by George Kapalka.  I recently read this book, and while the writing left a bit to be desired, the message was good.  In particular I loved the chapter describing how to set up a system of parenting based on rewards rather than punishments.  I like this strategy of parenting and Dr. Kapalka’s is the best description I’ve seen.

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua.  Ms. Chua has gotten a lot of flack for her parenting style, but I thought the book was superb.  Funny, down-to-earth, and completely unique – it is worth checking out.  Plus, after I reviewed her book on this blog, Ms. Chua wrote to me – how cool is that?!

Top Book for Kids:

Mind Over Basketball by Weierbach and Phillips-Hershey.  I use this book in my practice all the time. It is especially good for boys in elementary school.  Parents can work with their kids chapter by chapter, or it can be used by professionals.  The techniques for cooling down during periods of stress or anger are useful and understandable.

Top Book About Living with Mental Illness:

Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety by Daniel Smith.  This sort-of-funny-sort-of-disturbing book is certainly entertaining.  Author Smith also writes a blog about his life and anxiety at The Monkey Mind Chronicles if you don’t want to read the whole book.

Top Book You Won’t Be Embarrassed to Read (i.e., more literary):

The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger.  This was one of my favorite books this summer.  I love Ms. Freudenberger’s description of her characters (they’re all flawed, just like normal people) and the stories don’t necessarily end happily.  In fact you’re not even sure how (or if) they end at all, which is even better.  Her novel, The Dissident, from a few years ago is good, too.

Top Book You Might be Embarrassed to Read (i.e., more trashy):

Since I can’t recommend The Twilight Saga since Bella has fallen from grace, and since I am still 167th on the waiting list at the library for 50 Shades of Grey, I had to dig back in the archives for this one.  So here it is: The Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris.  Like Twilight for grown-ups this series is kind of silly, totally fantastical, sexy, and has lots of volumes (12 or 13?) – just like I like my trashy reads.  Better yet, TrueBlood is (sort of) based on these novels – but don’t even get me started on that guilty pleasure.

Happy Reading!