Related to: 'A Beginner's Guide to Losing Your Mind'

Julie Sarkissian blogs about the problems facing the protagnist of her debut novel, DEAR LUCY

Something's Wrong With Lucy - But What?

Lucy is different – that much is clear. She speaks like a child, doesn’t recognize social boundaries, flies into rages, and treasures rotten food. Her cognition is impaired, her vocabulary is very limited and she cannot read or write. But what – precisely – is wrong with her is left up to the reader. Lucy is the protagonist of my novel, DEAR LUCY, and from the first sentence of the book I ever wrote it was obvious that Lucy was cognitively different. The way Lucy describes herself is as “missing too many words.” Her mother calls her “difficult.” Readers of early drafts of the book had a few theories as to Lucy’s condition; autism, Williams Syndrome, Down Syndrome. But Lucy’s mother has kept her from going to school and Lucy has never seen a doctor. So in the fictional reality of the book there is no official diagnosis. But as the novel progressed I wondered – should I have one? I was torn. If Lucy was presenting enough symptoms to point to a real condition, was I ignoring the obvious not to fold that condition into my development of her character? Was it insensitive of me to allude to aspects of certain real, life-altering conditions but not assign a specific condition to Lucy? I worried about appropriating aspects of serious conditions without treating those conditions with proper respect and acknowledgement. And though any clinical diagnosis would probably not be explicit in the novel, I wondered if I would be ignoring an opportunity to bring attention to a real disorder when people asked me about Lucy’s condition, the way The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time did for autism. On the other hand, I had concerns that if I chose a diagnosis for Lucy, I would be ascribing to her qualities that she wouldn’t have otherwise presented. Lucy had her own will over my writing and over the novel. I didn’t want to yoke Lucy’s expression by keeping her behavior and abilities consistent with a clinical condition. Accuracy would also become a critical issue if Lucy’s condition was named. Ultimately I chose not to diagnose Lucy, though I worry the artistic freedom provided by that decision comes at the price of being judged for being too liberal with my treatment of cognitive disorders. Now that publication is a few months away, I am apprehensive of how my treatment of Lucy’s cognitive limitations will be judged. I have yet to talk to a reader who has a learning different child, or works with learning different people, and that conversation is one I will be honored, and not a bit anxious, to have.

Teach Yourself

The Beating Shyness Workbook: Teach Yourself

Dena Michelli
Authors:
Dena Michelli
Hodder & Stoughton

Walking Home From Mongolia

Rob Lilwall
Authors:
Rob Lilwall

Starting in the Gobi desert in winter, adventurer Rob Lilwall sets out on an extraordinary six-month journey, walking almost 5000 kilometres across China. Along the way he and his cameraman Leon brave the toxic insides of China's longest road tunnel, explore desolate stretches of the Great Wall and endure interrogation by the Chinese police. As they walk on through the heart of China, the exuberant hospitality of cave dwellers, coal miners and desert nomads keeps them going, despite sub-zero blizzards and the treacherous terrain.Rob writes with humour and honesty about the hardships of the walk, reflecting on the nature of pilgrimage and the uncertainties of an adventuring career. He also gives a unique insight into life on the road amid the epic landscapes and rapidly industrialising cities of backwater China.

Hodder & Stoughton

Your Money or Your Life

Alvin Hall
Authors:
Alvin Hall

The most popular question Alvin Hall is asked is 'Where does my money go?'. In this updated edition of his bestselling financial guide, Alvin helps everyone get their finances in order.Helping you to understand your money psychology, Alvin beats a clear pathway through the financial maze of mortgages, insurance and pensions, provides a practical understanding of credit card debt and interest rates, and advises how to set up balance sheets for budgeting personal finances.Here is the easy-to-follow advice for a brighter, sounder financial future.

Hodder Paperbacks

My Madder Fatter Diary

Rae Earl
Authors:
Rae Earl

RAE'S BACK! But now it's 1990. The Berlin wall is down and the Happy Mondays are up, really up, but the new decade's brought new mortifications for Rae Earl and she's MADDER and FATTER than ever. About to enter the most important year of her life - her actual bloody A Level year - everyone expects her to concentrate on schoolwork but how can she when Haddock's backside is still a national treasure and revision at home is just NOT HAPPENING! It's hell outside the house too, if hell was in Stamford, Lincolnshire, and punishment for sins was a fiery eternity of awkwardness. In My Madder Fatter Diary, Rae reveals her real-life teenage diary once again, transporting us to a Britain instantly recognisable to those who remember Bryan Adams at the top of the charts and anybody who's been eighteen and agonisingly embarrassed by EVERYTHING. It's wet-your-knickers hilarious. It's blub-your-eyes-out sad. It's the touching, romantic, MAD, FAT story of what happened next.

Two Roads

Bad Mother

Ayelet Waldman
Authors:
Ayelet Waldman

'I want to be in the company of her frank intelligence forever' Nigella LawsonIn our mothers' day there were good mothers, indifferent mothers, and occasionally, great mothers. Today we have only Bad Mothers: If you work, you're neglectful; if you stay home, you're smothering. If you discipline, you're buying them a spot on the shrink's couch; if you let them run wild, they will be into drugs by seventh grade. Is it any wonder so many women refer to themselves at one time or another as a "bad mother"?Writing with remarkable candor, and dispensing much hilarious and helpful advice along the way--Is breast best? What should you do when your daughter dresses up as a "ho" for Halloween?--Ayelet Waldman says it's time for women to get over it and get on with it in this wry, unflinchingly honest, and always insightful memoir on modern motherhood.

Hodder & Stoughton

A Year's Journey With God

Jennifer Rees Larcombe
Authors:
Jennifer Rees Larcombe

Jennifer Rees Larcombe is well known for the calm grace she brings to even the hardest things, and her books celebrate God's goodness and care in the midst of tough times, as well as when all goes well. In this book she helps us to see how God is with us in good times and bad, drawing on many of the insights her own experiences have given her. Taking inspiration from key events and Christian festivals throughout the year, she has put together daily devotions to inspire grace and faith.This is a beautiful book, helping us to explore our faith with new eyes and a strengthened sense of God's love and care.

Hodder & Stoughton

What God Said

Neale Donald Walsch
Authors:
Neale Donald Walsch

Inspired by his nine-book Conversations with God series, many people have asked Neale Donald Walsch to find a way to deliver the most essential pieces of God's message in a more succinct way. The result is a concise text detailing and expanding just what we need to know about life and how to live it. Bringing his many conversations over the years into sharper focus than ever before, Walsch encourages readers to cast aside religious and cultural trappings, and to build on, broaden, and enrich our Ancient Story. But to move forward on this ever-expanding and encompassing spiritual voyage means not only understanding what Walsch considers the most important insights of his Conversations with God, but also applying them in the most practical of ways. And so Walsch has included solid suggestions on how to apply each of the 25 Core Messages in daily life. Should humanity begin carrying these messages forward, starting today, we can change the world.

Hodder & Stoughton

Psychology In A Week: Teach Yourself

Nicky Hayes
Authors:
Nicky Hayes

Learn in a week, remember for a lifetime!In just one week, this accessible book will give you knowledge to last forever. End of chapter summaries and multiple choice questions are all designed to help you test your knowledge and gain confidence. So whether you are a student or you simply want to widen your knowledge, you will find this seven-day course a very memorable introduction.Sunday: Learn how humans grow up in and adapt to a social environmentMonday: Discover what emotions are and what affects our state of mindTuesday: Consider why we are motivated to do what we doWednesday: Discover the Buddhist scriptures and learn how they are interpreted today.Thursday: Engage with evolutionary psychology and the role of genes. Think about what intelligence is and how it comes about.Friday: Discover the factors influencing the psychological development of children, adolescents and adults.Saturday: Explore what psychologists do and how

Teach Yourself

The Mindfulness Workbook: Teach Yourself

Martha Langley
Authors:
Martha Langley
Hodder Paperbacks

Walking with Sausage Dogs

Matt Whyman
Authors:
Matt Whyman

Keeping pets is a lovely idea. When building a family, they complement the kids. But what happens when things get out of hand?For writer and house husband, Matt Whyman, it's a case of catastrophe management in coping with four children and all the ill-advised animals amassed by his career wife, Emma. Just as Matt gets to grips with managing her two maxed out minipigs, she falls for a miniature Dachshund - the kind of dog he wouldn't be seen dead with.Hercules isn't big or clever, but Emma is determined. She'll do everything, she promises...From the author of Pig in the Middle

Teach Yourself

Heal Yourself with Emotional Freedom Technique

John Freedom
Authors:
John Freedom

Emotional Freedom Technique is a new and innovative alternative therapy that is rapidly becoming the next big trend in personal growth and alternative health. It is a safe and non-invasive healing method for treating mind/body issues, based on tapping acupuncture points while you focus on a particular problems. Featured on Oprah and Dr. Oz and on numerous other programmes on TV and online, noted EFT expert and educator John Freedom teaches the basics of EFT to make change easy. Includes chapters on tapping to achieve goals and outcomes, tapping for career success, tapping for intimacy and relationships, tapping for peak performance, and tapping into better health.EFT has been shown to be effective in treating fears and phobias, performance anxiety, guilt, shame, self-sabotage, and other emotional conditions. It is also being used to enhance and improve academic and athletic performance, psychic and intuitive abilities, confidence and self-esteem, and overall health and well-being.

Coronet

The Art of the Loophole

Nick Freeman
Authors:
Nick Freeman

Celebrity lawyer Mr Loophole. Nick Freeman is Britain`s highest profile lawyer. He has won cases for David Beckham and many other celebrities, and attracts more media attention than any other lawyer in the country. Not just for the rich and famous, you can use his lessons to make sure that the law works for you. Learn every trick in the book from the man who's defended the greats. Mr Loophole is famous for forming winning, quirky and innovative defences - even when a case appears indefensible. In the process, he has revolutionised the way in which law - particularly motoring law - is practised. In this book, Nick explains his unique approach to the law and in the process identifies his killer loophole principles

Teach Yourself

Use Philosophy to be Happier

Mark Vernon
Authors:
Mark Vernon

Happiness. We all want it - but how can we get it? Author Mark Vernon has solved the problem by collecting the wisdom of the greatest minds in history and making their thinking on the things that matter most in life accessible and, above all, practical. Full of everyday examples to make sometimes high-blown philosophy entertaining and relevant, this book shows you how you can crack the secret to living The Good Life.

Teach Yourself

How to Tame Technology and Get Your Life Back: Teach Yourself

Kevin Duncan
Authors:
Kevin Duncan
Teach Yourself

Overcome Depression: Teach Yourself

Alice Muir
Authors:
Alice Muir

At any time, one in twenty people suffers from severe, clinical depression. If you or someone close to you may be one of them, this is book will be your perfect companion through your depression.No book can claim to 'cure' depression, which is a serious illness for which people should seek medical help. What this book does is demystify the illness, help remind you that you're not alone, provide moving case studies of people who have been in similar situations, and talk you through some practical things you can do to alleviate the effects of depression. It also explains the key treatments, including medication, cognitive behavioural therapy, and alternative therapies.

Two Roads

Until I Say Good-Bye

Bret Witter, Susan Spencer-Wendel
Authors:
Bret Witter, Susan Spencer-Wendel
Teach Yourself

Assertiveness Workbook

Dena Michelli
Authors:
Dena Michelli
Hodder & Stoughton

Clarissa's England

Clarissa Dickson Wright
Authors:
Clarissa Dickson Wright

The quintessential Englishwoman Clarissa Dickson Wright, one of the Two Fat Ladies and author of Spilling the Beans, takes us on a personal journey through the country of her birth.From Cornwall to Cumbria, Norfolk to Northumbria she brings her extraordinary knowledge, huge passion, forthright opinions and inimitable wit to the distinctive history and regional character of every corner of England.In her cornucopia of local knowledge she reveals, for example, how Boudicca was the original Essex girl, that Lincolnshire has a coriander crop second only in size to India's, and just why a Cornish pasty should never contain carrots.As much an entertaining narrative as it is a travel companion, Clarissa's England will amuse, enlighten, surprise and delight all those who read it.

Hodder & Stoughton

Cuckoo in the Nest

Nat Luurtsema
Authors:
Nat Luurtsema

Keep your enemies close, your family less so...Last year Nat found herself with nowhere to live. She considered sleeping on the bus and washing in the rain but inevitably ended up on her parents' doorstep. It was only for a month, she assured them, if that.. She repeated this phrase a lot over the next six months, while the housing market stagnated like a spoilt kid's fish tank, and her life followed suit. While her friends pursued normal adult lives, Nat was taking packed lunches to gigs and being treated to lectures on "Why It's Nice When All The Tins Face Forwards In The Cupboard." ("So we can see what they all are at a glance!")Nat wouldn't say she and those like her were the real victims of the recession, but it would be nice if you did. Then she would do a tiny, brave smile.A book for anyone who's been forced back to the family nest, parents who can't shake off their adult kids, or anyone who's ever excused themselves from a family gathering for a quick scream into a pile of towels.

Hodder & Stoughton

Spontaneous Happiness

Andrew Weil
Authors:
Andrew Weil

Dr Andrew Weil charts a new path to finding lasting happinessEveryone wants to be happy. But what does that really mean? Increasingly, scientific evidence shows us that true satisfaction and well-being come only from within.Dr Andrew Weil has proven that the best way to maintain optimum physical health is to draw on both conventional and alternative medicine. Now, in Spontaneous Happiness, he gives us the foundation for attaining and sustaining optimum emotional health. Rooted in Dr Weil's pioneering work in integrative medicine, the book suggests a reinterpretation of the notion of happiness, discussing the limitations of modern medicine in treating depression, and elaborating on the inseparability of body and mind.Dr Weil offers an array of scientifically proven strategies from Eastern and Western psychology and draws from psychotherapy, mindfulness training, Buddhist psychology, nutritional science, and more, to support emotional wellness, and offer advice on developing a spiritual dimension in our lives. Dr Weil presents an eight-week programme that can be customised according to specific needs, with short- and long-term advice on nutrition, exercise, supplements, environment, lifestyle, and much more.Whether you are struggling with depression or simply want to feel happier, Dr Weil's revolutionary approach will shift the paradigm of emotional health and help you achieve greater contentment in your life.