the myth of normal by gabor maté

gabor maté is an established name in the psychology trauma field. combined with a recommendation from a professional psychologist, and several glowing reviews from professional critics, i was curious about “the myth of normal”.

the book makes a robust case explaining what is wrong with the most of modern societies, how we got here, and in the final part tries to give you tools on how to fix things at least on the personal level. but the most important achievement of this work, from my point of view, is the clear albeit lenghty explanation that psychological trauma is ubiquitous.

the final part is where it falls a little bit short, because so many root causes are systemic, therefore require systemic solutions. i am still tempted to say – read this book if you can’t get into therapy.

the left hand of darkness by ursula le guin

it’s been a while since i read a book so slow-paced and yet this immersive. first half is almost exclusively exposition, done in a masterful way – reader is almost as uninformed as the narrator, who is a visiting human from our future earth to a new world. ambassador of space travel on a planet that doesn’t have flying transport.

i don’t think it will be a spoiler if i mention that the key difference between terran humans and gethenian ones is biological. ursula le guin thought out how a world would look like if humans were not split into duality of men and women. she paints a convincing picture that had me longing for gethen, despite its horrible climate.

heaven by mieko kawakami

my second book from this author, and definitely not the last. i want to read everything kawakami has written and would write. thankfully her books are proving to be popular and therefore more likely to be translated into english.

“heaven” describes the life of one middle-schooler who is cruelly bullied at school and his tentative friendship with another classmate who suffers from the same treatment. as you can imagine, it’s not a book you read as a pick-me-up. but don’t let that put you off. “heaven” puts into words both ugliness and beauty of human condition.