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9 hopeful books about schizophrenia

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The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee

This is a deeply considered and gorgeously rendered work, part memoir and part clear-eyed assessment of the past, present and future of genetic study. Mukherjee, both a physician and gifted writer, begins by describing the several members of his family whose lives have been devastated by schizophrenia. In order to better understand schizophrenia, he explains all of genetics generally, unraveling the fascinating story of how researchers have come to know what they do about genes. Arriving in the present day about halfway through the book, he then shifts into exploring the ramifications of genetic knowledge today. He discusses such matters as race and gender and identity and intergenerational trauma and psychiatric diagnoses like schizophrenia. I think the world would be a better place if everybody read The Gene.

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Joanne Greenberg

This 1964 novel fictionalizes the author’s self-described descent into and recovery from schizophrenia right before the dawn of psychopharmaceuticals in the late forties and early fifties. The book rivetingly animates the protagonist’s elaborate inner world, and the devoted efforts of her psychiatrist — who is based on a real-life doctor, Dr. Frieda Fromm-Reichmann. Rose Garden was initially published under a penname at the behest of Greenberg’s mother. It resonated with a surprising number of readers, becoming an unexpected bestseller and inspiring many adaptations. Today Rose Gardenremains something all too rare: a widely read story about schizophrenia written by someone who had herself been diagnosed. It’s a very powerful and formally daring work, one that remains as necessary as ever.

Agnes’s Jacket by Dr. Gail Hornstein

In this memoir, an academic psychologist traces her own journey toward a more scientific and historically grounded understanding of madness. I recommend this book particularly for mental health care professionals seeking to better understand schizophrenia and other severe mental illnesses, and to those partaking in the debates about how to best treat people diagnosed. For those interested in psychiatry, I also recommend Dr. Hornstein’s thorough biography of Dr. Frieda Fromm-Reichmann (of Rose Garden fame), To Redeem One Person is to Redeem the World.

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Two Indian authors on Wellcome Book Prize 2017 shortlist

Two Indian-American authors have been shortlisted for the 30,000 pound Wellcome Book Prize, which celebrates fiction and non-fiction works engaged with the topics of health and medicine.

Siddhartha Mukherjee is on the list of the annual prize for his study of genetics and mental health in his book ‘The Gene’.

He is joined by fellow Indian-American author Paul Kalanithi, who could become the first posthumous winner of the prize for his life-affirming reflection on facing mortality ‘When Breath Becomes Air’. Read more

Source: Business Standard


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Two Indian American Authors makes it to the Wellcome Book Prize 2017 Longlist

Two Indian Americans – Dr Siddhartha Mukherjee and late Stanford neurosurgeon Dr. Paul Kalanithi were among those longlisted for 2017 Wellcome Book Prize.

Siddhartha Mukherjee is a cancer physician and researcher, a stem cell biologist, and a cancer geneticist. He is the author of ‘The Laws of Medicine’ and ‘The Emperor of All Maladies: A biography of cancer’, which won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction and the Guardian First Book Award. Read more

Source: The Indian Panorama 


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Indian-American writer Siddhartha Mukherjee on 2017 Wellcome Book Prize longlist

Indian-American physician and author Siddhartha Mukherjee has been longlisted for this year’s Wellcome Book Prize for his non-fictional work The Gene: An Intimate History, which was published in May 2016.

The author took to Twitter to share the announcement.

In his book, Mukherjee blends science, social history and personal narrative, and attempts to tackle the knotty dilemma of whether human beings should remain bound to heredity or alter the course of future generations.

It is among the 12 books on the list that features seven non-fiction and five fiction titles, including memoir, contemporary fiction, historical fiction and popular science. Read more

Source: Hindustan Times


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Is fiction on the decline? Non-fiction found more takers in 2016

The tastes of the reading public in India seem to growing beyond fiction. In what is being seen as a major evolution in the Indian publishing space, 2016 witnessed a fast and booming shift to memoirs and non-fiction while fiction titles were subdued not only in terms of their numbers but also popularity among readers. Industry insiders say this is a cumulative result of the nation’s changing reading patterns.

Opening the year with a surprise was Anything But Khamosh, the authorised biography of Bollywood icon and politician Shatrughan Sinha, by Bharati Pradhan.

The book, which was launched at the Jaipur Lit Fest towards the end of January, went on to attract readers from all age groups and even the “Bihari Babu” left no stone unturned in its promotions, retracing the many “hurrahs and heartaches” of his life at promotional events. Read more

Source: Hindustan Times


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Siddhartha Mukherjee nominated for an Emmy Award

Indian American writer Siddhartha Mukherjee has been nominated for an Emmy Award for his PBS documentary, Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies.

The six hour programme based on Mukherjee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same name was executive produced by Ken Burns and directed by Emmy Award–winning filmmaker and writer Barak Goodman.  It is among five nominees for the award for documentary or nonfiction series.

Siddhartha Mukherjee is a cancer physician and researcher. He is the author of The Laws of Medicine and The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction. Mukherjee is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and a staff cancer physician at Columbia University Medical Center. A Rhodes scholar, he graduated from Stanford University, University of Oxford, Harvard Medical School. He has published articles in Nature, The New England Journal of Medicine, The New York Times, and The New Republic. He lives in New York with his wife and daughters.


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Siddhartha Mukherjee on India: ‘Illiberalism will destroy our ecology of ideas’

On the sad break with the tradition of embracing polyphonic, unorthodox ideas: The Outlook

Censorship increasingly seems to be an issue across disciplines—the arts, literature, films, science, free speech. Why do you think this is so?

Siddhartha-MukherjeeI became interested in finding out about a series of events that had caused me some concern, starting with what unfolded at the Jaipur Literature Festival where I was a participant two years ago when Salman Rushdie was debarred from attending for security reasons. Events before and since then led me to believe that there is a patterned response in which a certain history unfolds with someone saying some work of scholarship or some work of literature is so deeply offensive to their sentiments. Then either the publisher capitulates or the government capitulates or both, and after that, it seems as if everyone goes on merrily, happily ever after. The point I want to make is that there is a relationship between the cultures that produce works of imagination and literature and the cultures that produce science and technology. On the one hand, India publicly proclaims its scientific and technological aspirations, on the other there seems to be a quiet tabling of intellectual freedom and I firmly believe these are mutually incompatible. The very preconditions that produce literary works and important new ideas of historical scholarship, whether you like them or not, are the same preconditions that produce scientific work. Eventually our wellsprings of science will run dry because you destroyed the ecology of ideas. Continue reading