too elliptical for our charts
Andrew Solomon, The Noonday Demon. This sits with Infinite Jest as the best reading about depression I've done in recent memory, though much of it is hard going. I have not figured out why it is that we find it affirming and strengthening to read of fictional characters' sorrows, but find it so painful to read the same of actual people. There's plenty of awful detail about Solomon's own depression, which makes your average weblogger look like Pollyanna (as in this New Yorker excerpt), but also discussions of history and politics, the pharmaceutical industry, depression in Greenland, depression in Senegal, depression among the American poorand these last have life stories to make Napoleon weep. It's fascinating. It's awful. The concept of depression as an independent entity that rises without warning, a vine snaking up to choke a tree, is terrifying. I am also persuaded (as if I weren't anyway) never again to ingest anything stronger than marijuana, and probably not even that. At least he did title the last chapter "Hope."