What Are You Reading and Watching Now?

A column by   Carol Mayhew, Ph.D, Psy.D.

Welcome to eForum's new column "What Are You Reading and Watching Now?"

This column is an opportunity for IAPSP members to share what they are currently or have recently read or watched. Both fiction and non-fiction are welcome. If you would like to participate, please email me at . In the meantime, enjoy reading the responses of your fellow members.

Anthony Rankin Wilson

Geographical Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada?

Academic and Psychoanalytic Affiliations: Guest Member of the Toronto Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis; member of IAPSP and IARPP

Relationship to IAPSP: member; presented papers at the 2012 and 2015 International Conferences on the theme of psychoanalysis and the environmental crisis.

What Are You Reading and Watching Now?: Given my interest in bringing together the worlds of psychoanalysis and the environmental crisis, my last three non-fiction reads have been Naomi Klein's, "This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. The Climate"; Paul Gilding's, "The Great Disruption"; and George Marshall's, "Don't Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change".

For those interested, I would recommend any of the 3, but I will dwell briefly on Marshall's book. In the environmental movement for 25 years, he researched and interviewed widely. Marshall begins the book with, "What explains our ability to separate what we know from what we believe, to put aside the things that seem too painful to accept? How is it possible, when presented with overwhelming evidence, even the evidence of our own eyes, that we can deliberately ignore something - while being entirely aware that this is what we are doing?" Ah, the stuff of our clinical work, but applied to the burgeoning threat of climate change, one symptom of our multi-symptomed environmental crisis. He refers to Freud's das Unheimliche, or "uncanny condition", "the destabilizing psychological impact of something that seems to be almost familiar, yet is not." Climate change is indeed uncanny. Reflecting upon, and navigating my own way through denial, disavowal, anxiety, hopelessness, despair, absent witnessing and the absence/presence of a moral third, is the stuff of my present passionate and unremitting clinical curiousity and concern. "Don't Even Think About It" stoked the fires. Entertaining page turner. Reader friendly. Shocking. Sobering. Informative. Hopeful in its directness, as were Donna Orange's closing comments at the recent International Conference in Los Angeles.

Judith Rustin

Geographical Location: New York City, NY

Academic and Psychoanalytic Affiliations: Institute for the Psychoanalytic Study of Subjectivity

Relationship to IAPSP: Council Member; Co-Chair, The Journal Club

What Are You Reading and Watching Now?: Although I read a fair amount of professional literature, I dip into one novel daily. At the moment I am at the beginning of book 4, "The Story of the Lost Child", of the Elena Ferranti Neopolitan Quartet. These 4 books narrated by the author traces her life beginning at age 10 through her mid 60's. She contexualizes her personal development first in the working class neighborhood of Naples in which she was born. As she grows up and moves out into the world in her 20's and 30's her development is embedded in the larger sociocultural environment of the times (late 1960's through the 1970's). At the center of the four novels is her relationship with a female friend that began when the two girls were 10 years old. Ferranti, a pseudonym, has an extraordinary ability to describe the subtleties of her inner subjective experience as well as the nuances of what she observes. She is particularly astute in detailing and describing women's issues on a whole range of subjects. The writing is lyrical and melodious. I found it a great, entertaining read that also has some depth. A great way to relax after a long day.

Richard Geist

Geographical Location: Newton, MA

Academic and Psychoanalytic Affiliations: Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis

Relationship to IAPSP: Treasurer

What Are You Reading and Watching Now?: During August when we are typically in Maine, I tend to read non psychology literature. This summer I read Ann Hood's The Obituary Writer, a poignant description of two eras that overlap through the love affairs of two protagonists. I also tend to read a lot of poetry during the month. This August Ted Kooser's Delights and Shadows, and Splitting an Order captured my attention. His capacity for bringing disparate images and objects together appeals to my notions of connectedness. And finally, as a furniture maker, I read a lot of design books and back issues of Fine Woodworking.

Kati Breckenridge

Geographical Location: Los Angeles, California

Academic and Psychoanalytic Affiliations: ICP

Relationship to IAPSP: former Council member and forever a member in general

What Are You Reading and Watching Now?: I am reading two absolutely fabulous books. Well, one is a single book, "Sapiens: a Brief History of Humankind," by Yuval Noah Harari. It is the kind of history book I love, overarching questions about man rendered in a very readable narrative. Harari has a Ph.D. in history from Oxford but the story telling ability of a pot-boiler author. The other book I am reading is Patrick O'Brian's "Master and Commander" series. There are 21 volumes and I am already on volume 11. The series is on the British Navy during the 1800s with wars, shipwrecks, battles, romances, and throughout the friendship of Aubrey, the captain, and Maturin, the ship's surgeon. The depth of the characters, particularly the two main ones, is wonderfully woven over and under the dramas that happen. At times it is heart racing stuff and at other times there is biology, sea animals, or arcane naval ways to marvel over.

Estelle Shane

Geographical Location: Los Angeles, California

Academic and Psychoanalytic Affiliations: UCLA Department of Psychiatry, Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, The New Center for Psychoanalysis

Relationship to IAPSP: Founding Member, Past President, Council Member

What Are You Reading and Watching Now?: I'm almost reluctant to say that my reading the entire summer was composed of novels. It is only now, that the new academic year has begun, that I am reading in our field, and this is mostly to prepare for teaching. I think I allowed myself to do so much fun reading during the summer because I am going to be teaching so much. At least that's my excuse.

But this summer's reading was glorious. I read all four volumes of Karl Ove Knausgaard's autobiographical novel, My Struggle, a 2700 page, minutely and intimately detailed picture of this Norwegian writer's family life, told exclusively from his perspective. The project has been an enormous success, with one out of every ten Norwegian, and people from all over the world, reading it. He's been the subject of much controversy over his frank exposure of not only his own life, but the lives of those connected to him. But I loved the experience of reading it, and felt really sad when it was over. I think its a dream book for psychoanalysts interested in the inner life of the ideal patient, one who is exquisitely sensitive to what surrounds him, what is said, what is done, and how he experiences it all. Nothing is kept back, nothing is too revealing, embarrassing, shameful. But above all, it is written so beautifully.

I also read Kate Atkinson's wonderful book Life After Life, and I'm about to start on her newest book, A God in Ruins (despite my vow to concentrate on my work). And I read over the summer a collection of short stories by Alice Munro. What else? The Buried Giant by Kasuo Ishiguro, and a really remarkable, completely original book called H is for Hawk.

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