Dr. Oppenheimer’s Favorite Reads in 2018

Our founder, and one of our psychologists, Dr. Rachel Oppenheimer, loves to read.  She wanted to share some of her favorite reads from the past year:

Braving The Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brene Brown: “It is very hard to identify a favorite Brene Brown book.  Her writing is smart, relatable, and the topics that she writes about, belonging, shame, vulnerability, and human connection are important.  This was my favorite of the 3 Brene Brown books I’ve read this year, but I’m excited to read ‘Dare To Lead’ in 2019!”

No One Cares About Crazy People: My Family And The Heartbreak of Mental Illness in America by Ron Powers: “This was a tough read, but an important one.  Ron Powers mixes in his own narrative history of his sons and his experiences with their growing up and his efforts to get them help, with a broader history of mental illness, and an overview of how far we need to go to care for mental health.”

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert: “Sometimes we hold ourselves back from creative endeavors because we aren’t sure of what the outcome might be.  Elizabeth Gilbert’s book encourages creativity just for the sake of creating, and letting go of some of the emotions and anxiety that surround creative expression.”

The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy: “This was a great read, a memoir of a woman who studies womanhood, and how her own life experiences shape her understanding of all that women can be.”

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi: “Apparently I’ve read a lot of sad books this year!  This was another sad one, but was so great.  Posthumously published, Paul Kalanithi writes about his experience dying of terminal cancer, while completing his medical residency and beginning a family.  A unique perspective from a person who has been on many sides of death.”

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson: “Author Jenny Lawson writes in stream of consciousness style about her experiences with mental and physical illness, and her decision to life a fulfilled life despite anxiety, depression, and physical pain.  Very relatable, and very funny.”

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg: “I missed ‘Lean In’ (another 2019 goal), but Sheryl Sandberg’s ability to take the tragedy of losing her husband suddenly, and share her personal and professional experiences overcoming that tragedy was inspiring.  A sad book, with an optimistic resolution.”

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of A Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance: “I think that I’ve probably talked about this book the most among my family and friends.  I devoured this book. J.D. Vance shared his family experiences and his perspective of our current political and cultural climate.”

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman: “This is the only fiction book on my Best of 2018 list!  This was originally published in Sweden, and translated to English.  While Ove was never identified as having autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the book, I appreciated the outline of his point of view and perspective, and how meaningful it is to have relationships and connections in our lives.”

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes: “I will admit that I never joined the T.G.I.T., Shondaland devotees – that might change now that I read this book, she is an amazing writer.  She shared her personal struggle with getting over her insecurities and anxieties by embracing the unknown, and saying ‘Yes.”