Thursday 29 June 2023

#ThrowbackThursday. Claire's Head


Bush, Catherine "Claire's Head" - 2004

June is Migraine Awareness Month. And what should come up next on my list of ThrowbackThursday books? Exactly, a book about migraine.

If you have never experienced one, this book will tell you all about it, even though it is a novel. And if you suffer from them, you will find that somebody finally was able to describe the kind of pain you get and that you are never able to describe yourself to someone who doesn't know what you are going through.

If you have any interest or know someone with migraines, you should read this book.

See also my list of "Migraine Books".

Read my original review here.

Wednesday 28 June 2023

Brooks, Geraldine "People of the Book"

Brooks, Geraldine "People of the Book" - 2008

This is going to be one of my favourite books this year. Such a wonderful story about a book and its history. I have once read a similar story, well, not a similar story, just a book that tries to follow a piece of art, a painting from today into past until it was created. That was by Susan Vreeland and it was called "Girl in Hyacinth Blue". I loved that one and this was just as interesting.

The main "character" is the Sarajevo Haggada, a Jewish religious book that really exists (see here on Wikipedia or here on The National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina website) The word "haggada" is Hebrew for telling, story or account, the book "Haggadah" is a text that describes the order of the Passover Seder.

There are books, even ancient ones, where you know exactly where they come from and who made them. This is not one. The author has put down some ideas and made a wonderful story about it that travels around the whole world. From the Australian conservationist who tries to find some clues that sound just like a crime story we travel back from Bosnia-Herzegovina to Italy, Austria, Spain and to the shores of Ifriqiya (modern day Tunisia, parts of Algeria and Libya). In between, we visit the Untied States and the United Kingdom where the protagonist does not only find out more about the book but also about her family.

I absolutely loved the whole story, how we get to know the different kinds of people who contributed first to the creation of the book and then to the saving of it. Some of the ideas might even be true. Well, we can always dream.

Remarks from the book club:
I partly felt the book was really interesting and wanted to know more about the old stories from history.
The parts about WWII always feel a little too close for comfort anyway.
The author's experience as a journalist shone through the story. But the present day frame-story felt slightly "puff-piece" kind of full with story gaps.
Overall still give it 4/5 or maybe even 4,5/5.

We read this in our international online book club in October 2023.

From the back cover:

"During World War II a Bosnian Muslim risks his life to save the book from the Nazis; it gets caught up in the intrigues of hedonistic 19th-century Vienna; a Catholic priest saves it from burning in the fires of Inquisition. These stories and more make up the secret history of the priceless Sarajevo Haggadah - a medieval Jewish prayer book recovered from the smouldering ruins of the war-torn city.
Now it is in the skilled hands of rare-book restorer Hanna Heath. And while the content of the book interests her, it is the hidden history which captures her imagination. Because to her the tiny clues - salt crystals, a hair, wine stains - that she discovers in the pages and bindings are keys to unlock its mysteries.

Tuesday 27 June 2023

Six in Six

From The Book Jotter

I found this through one of my blogger friends, Emma @ Words and Peace who was made aware of it though Jo @ The Book Jotter. Jo started this in 2012, so congratulations on doing it that long and providing us with a great way to reminisce about our books of the year so far.
She has given us 52 categories from which we can choose six and mention six books that belong into those categories. (But one book can be in several lists, see her rules here).

I have tried to stick to books that I liked but didn't succeed in every category.

Six new authors to me
Arenz, Ewald "The Big Summer" (GE: Der grosse Sommer) - 2019
Dangarembga, Tsitisi "Nervous Conditions" - 1988
Güngör, Dilek "My Turkish Grandmother's Secret" (GE: Das Geheimnis meiner türkischen Großmutter) - 2007
Kurkow, Andrej "Grey Bees" (RUS: Серые пчелы/Seryye Pchely) - 2019
Taha, Karosh "In the Belly of the Queen" (GE: Im Bauch der Königin) - 2020
Wood, Levison "Eastern Horizons. Hitchhiking the Silk Road" - 2017

Six authors I have read before
Ansay, A. Manette "Blue Water" - 2006'
Brooks, Geraldine "People of the Book" - 2008

Six authors I read last year - but not so far this year
I have only included authors where I would like to read more.
Böll, Heinrich "The Silent Angel" (GE: Der Engel schwieg) - 1949/50
Orth, Stephan "Absolutely Locked Out" (GE: Absolutely Ausgesperrt) - 2022

Six books that took me on extraordinary journeys

Abulhawa, Susan "Against the Loveless World" - 2020
Dangarembga, Tsitisi "Nervous Conditions" - 1988
Ibrahimi, Anilda "Red Like a Bride" (IT: Rosso come una sposa/Rot wie eine Braut) - 2008
Kurkow, Andrej "Grey Bees" (RUS: Серые пчелы/Seryye Pchely) - 2019

Six Non-US/Non-British Authors
All of the above with the extraordinary journeys but there are quite a few others that I would like to include.

Hajaj, Claire "Ishmael's Oranges" - 2014
Mahfouz, Naguib "Midaq Alley" (arab: زقاق المدق/Zuqaq El Midaq) - 1947
Ruiz Zafón, Carlos "The City of Mist" (E: La Ciudad de Vapor - El cementerio de los libros olvidados #5) - 2020
Suttner, Bertha von "Lay Down Your Arms!" (GE: Die Waffen nieder!) - 1889
Ulitzkaya, Lyudmila "Medea and Her Children" (Медея и её дети/ Medeja i eë deti) - 1996

Six classics I have read
Some of them, I have already mentioned, but I have not read more than that, so I'm sorry for the repeat:
Kazantzakis, Nikos "The Last Temptation of Christ" (GR: Ο τελευταίος πειρασμός, O telefteos pirasmos) - 1951
Lagerkvist, Pär "Barabbas" (S: Barabbas) - 1950
Mahfouz, Naguib "Midaq Alley" (arab: زقاق المدق/Zuqaq El Midaq) - 1947
Mann, Heinrich "Man of Straw", "The Patrioteer", or "The Loyal Subject" (GE: Der Untertan) - 1914
Stein, Gertrude "Paris France" - 1940
Suttner, Bertha von "Lay Down Your Arms!" (GE: Die Waffen nieder!) - 1889

If you like the idea as much as I do, go ahead, choose your own "Six in Six" and let Jo know.

Six in Six 2022.

Monday 26 June 2023

Hemingway, Ernest "To Have and Have Not"

Hemingway, Ernest "To Have and Have Not" - 1937

Some people have it, others don't. Money. That is the main subject of this story. Harry Morgan belongs to the latter category and needs to find ideas to support his family.

Hemingway's love for Cuba is probably the reason for the main setting though this might have taken place in many parts of the world.

I don't think this is the author's greatest book and am glad it wasn't the first one I read. While the story itself is interesting, it goes all a little higgledy-piggledy, especially towards the end. You can't help but wonder whether Mr. Hemingway just wanted to finish this one. Apparently, he considered it his worst one.

He was still a great author.

Comments from the discussion:
  • Most people agreed the characters were not likeable, but we had a lot of thoughts on the settings and time and place in history, as well as about Hemingway's writing style and how it was formed and how it influenced writing of the future.

  • His writing was not really to my taste, nor his characters, I can see how he is well regarded as an author while he just isn't a great fit for me personally. Still I am now able to say I have read something by him, and it will be a good reference point while reading similar genres in the future someday.
We read this in our international online book club in June 2023.

From the back cover:

"Hemingway's Classic Novel About Smuggling, Intrigue, and Love

To Have and Have Not is the dramatic story of Harry Morgan, an honest man who is forced into running contraband between Cuba and Key West as a means of keeping his crumbling family financially afloat. His adventures lead him into the world of the wealthy and dissipated yachtsmen who throng the region, and involve him in a strange and unlikely love affair.

Harshly realistic, yet with one of the most subtle and moving relationships in the Hemingway oeuvre,
To Have and Have Not is literary high adventure at its finest."

Ernest Hemingway received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954 "for his mastery of the art of narrative, most recently demonstrated in 'The Old Man and the Sea' and for the influence that he has exerted on contemporary style".

I contribute to this page: Read the Nobels and you can find all my blogs about Nobel Prize winning authors and their books here.

Friday 23 June 2023

Book Quotes


"Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going." Rita Mae Brown

That's so true. Learn a language and you understand the people better who speak it.

"A drop of ink may make a million think." Lord Byron

In other words: The pen is mightier than the sword.

"Fiction gives us empathy: it puts us inside the minds of other people, gives us the gifts of seeing the world through their eyes. Fiction is a lie that tells us true things, over and over." Neil Gaiman

And such a great way to think about reality and learn how things can be done or should not be done.

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday 22 June 2023

#ThrowbackThursday. Left to Tell


Ilibagiza, Immaculée with Erwin, Steve "Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust" - 2006

An earth-shattering tale as the author doesn't just tell how she survived (cramped with seven other women into a tiny bathroom for 91 days with hardly any food and having to be absolutely quiet the whole time, how they learned to communicate without speaking), she also tells about losing all her family and friends, hardly anyone she knew survived, most of them were killed most brutally.

Immaculée Ilibagiza has her own homepage, "Left to Tell". And she wrote another, more religious book: "Our Lady of Kibeho". The story happened before this one but was written later.

Ilibagiza, Immaculée with Erwin, Steve "Our Lady of Kibeho: Mary speaks to the World from the Heart of Africa" - 2008

During the first book I was always amazed about her faith, her indistructible faith in God that he would spare her. She was born like that, her family was very religious and then she saw the visionaries.

Read my original reviews here and here.

Wednesday 21 June 2023

Handke, Peter "Storm Still"

Handke, Peter "Storm Still" (German: Immer noch Sturm) - 2010

A book about the Slovenian minority in Carinthia. We all know that there are areas everywhere with immigrants from all kinds of other countries, but my knowledge of Austria and its foreigners is quite limited. This novel is described as a play, which I can not quite understand. Admittedly, the story is told by different family members, but there is hardly any exchange.

Either way, this is not an easy book to just follow and then get the hang of.
You have to strain your gray brain cells to be able to follow the author at all. Handke is a very controversial author, and not everyone welcomed his award of the Nobel Prize for Literature. But he has a certain something. You just want to keep reading. And in the decade that has passed since the book was published, not much has changed, in Austria or elsewhere, it rather got rather worse.

From the back cover:

"Peter Handke, a giant of Austrian literature, has produced decades of fiction, poetry, and drama informed by some of the most tumultuous events in modern history. But even as these events shaped his work, the presence of his mother - a woman whose life spanned the Weimar Republic, both world wars, and the postwar consumer economy - loomed even larger.

In Storm Still, Handke’s most recent work, he returns to the land of his birth, the Austrian province of Carinthia. There on the Jaunfeld, the plain at the center of Austria’s Slovenian settlement, the dead and the living of a family meet and talk. Composed as a series of monologues, Storm Still chronicles both the battle of the Slovene minority against Nazism and their love of the land. Presenting a panorama that extends back to the author’s bitter roots in the region, Storm Still blends penetrating prose and poetic drama to explore Handke’s personal history, taking up themes from his earlier books and revisiting some of their characters. In this book, the times of conflict and peace, war and prewar, and even the seasons themselves shift and overlap. And the fate of an orchard comes to stand for the fate of a people."

Peter Handke received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2019 "for an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience".

I contribute to this page: Read the Nobels and you can find all my blogs about Nobel Prize winning authors and their books here.

Tuesday 20 June 2023

Africa’s 100 Best Books of the 20th Century

James Wiseman @ Unsplash

I just read a book that was awarded a prize by the BBC as one of the best 100 African books of the last century. And since I have read a few of those who received the prize and think that we should all be reading more about Africa, I thought I'd share the list with you and add links to the books I read.

Children's Books

Asare, Meshack "Sosu's Call" - 1997 - Ghana
Al-Homi, Hayam Abbas "Adventures of a Breath" - Egypt
Mungoshi, Charles Zimbabwe Stories from a Shona Childhood" - 1989 - Zimbabwe
Tadjo, Véronique "Mamy Wata et le monstre" (Mamy Wata and the Monster) - 1993 - Côte d'Ivoire

Creative Writing
Abnudi, Abd ar-Rahman "Death on the Asphalt" - Egypt
Achebe, Chinua  "Arrow of God" - 1964 - Nigeria 
Achebe, Chinua "Things Fall Apart" - 1958 - Nigeria
Aidoo, Christina Ama Ata "Anowa" - 1969 - Ghana
Almeida, Germano "O testamento do Sr. Napumoceno da Silva Araújo" (The Last Will and Testament of Senhor da Silva Araújo) - 1989 Cape Verde
Armah, Ayi Kwei "The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born" - 1968 - Ghana
Amadou Hampâté Bâ "L'étrange destin de Wangrin" (The Strange Destiny of Wangrin) - 1973 -  Mali
Bâ, Mariama "Une si longue lettre" (So Long a Letter) - 1979 - Senegal
Ben Jelloun, Tahar "La nuit sacrée" (The Sacred Night) - 1987 - Marokko
Beti, Mongo "Le pauvre Christ de Bomba" (The Poor Christ of Bomba) - 1956  - Cameroon
Brink, André "A Dry White Season" - 1979 - South Africa
Bugul, Ken "Riwan, ou le chemin de sable" (Riwan; or, the Sandy Track) - 1999 Senegal
Cheney-Coker, Syl "The Last Harmattan of Alusine Dunbar" - 1990 - Sierra Leone
Chraibi, Driss "Le passé simple" (The Simple Past) - 1954 - Marocco
Coetzee, J.M. "Life and Times of Michael K." - 1983 - South Africa - Nobel Prize for Literature 2003
Couto, Mia "Terra sonâmbula" (Sleepwalking Land) - 1992 - Mozambique
Craveirinha, José "Karingana ua Karingana" - 1974 - Mozambique
Credo Mutwa, Vusamazulu "Indaba, My Children" - 1964 - South Africa
Dadié, Bernard "Climbié" - 1956 - Côte d'Ivoire
Dangarembga, Tsitisi "Nervous Conditions" - 1988 - Zimbabwe
Dib, Mohammed "Algérie, La grande maison, L'incendie, Le métier à tisser" - 1952/54/57 - Algeria
Diop, Birago "Les contes d'Amadou Koumba" (Tales of Amadou Koumba) - 1947 - Senegal 
Diop, Boubacar "Murambi ou le livre des ossements" (Murambi, the Book of Bones) - 2000 - Senegal
Djebar, Assia "L'amour, la fantasia"(Fantasia: An Algerian Cavalcade)  - 1985 - Algeria
Emecheta, Florence Onyebuchi "Buchi" "The Joys of Motherhood" - 1979 - Nigeria
Fagunwa, Daniel O. "Ògbójú Ọdẹ nínú Igbó Irúnmọlẹ̀" (Forest of a Thousand Daemons: A Hunter's Saga) - 1938 - Niger
Farah, Nuruddin "Maps" - 1986 - Somalia
Fugard, Athol "The Blood Knot" - 1961 - South Africa
al-Ghitani, Jamal "Al-Zaynī Barakāt/الزيني بركات"  (Zayni Barakat) - 1974 - Egypt
Gordimer, Nadine "Burger's Daughter" - 1979 - South Africa - Nobel Prize for Literature 1991
Head, Bessie "A Question of Power" - 1973 - South Africa
Honwana, Bernardo "Nos matamos o cão tinhoso" (We Killed Mangy Dog and Other Stories) - 1964 - Mozambique
Hove, Chenjerai "Bones" - 1989 - Zimbabwe
Isegawa, Moses Abessijnse Kronieken" (Abyssinian Chronicles) - 1998 - Uganda
Jordan, Archibald Campbell Mzolisa "Ingqumbo yeminyanya" (The Wrath of the Ancestors) - 1940 - South Africa
Joubert, Elsa "Die Swerfjare van Poppie" (The Long Journey of Poppie Nongena) - 1978 - South Africa
Kane, Cheikh Hamidou "L'aventure ambiguë" (Ambiguous Adventure) - 1961 - Senegal
Ka Khosa, Ungulani Ba "Ualalapi" (Ualalapi) - 1987 - Mozambique
Kourouma, Ahmadou " Les soleils des indépendances" (The Suns of Independence) - 1968 - Côte d'Ivoire
Laye, Camara "L'enfant noir" (The African Child) - 1953 - Guinea
Magona, Sindiwe "Living, Loving and Lying Awake at Night" - 1991 - South Africa
Mahfouz, Naguib "Bayn al-qasrayn/بين القصرين" (Palace Walk) (Cairo Trilogy #1) - 1956 - Nobel Prize for Literature 1988
- "Qasr el-Shōq/قصر الشوق" (Palace of Desire) (Cairo Trilogy #2) - 1957 
- "Al-Sukkariyya/السكرية" (Sugar Street) (Cairo Trilogy #3) - 1957 -  Egypt
Marechera, Dambudzo "House of Hunger" - 1978 - Zimbabwe
Mofolo, Thomas "Chaka" (Chaka) - 1925 - Lesotho
Monénembo, Tierno "Un attieké pour Elgass" - 1993 - Guinea
Ngugi wa Thiong'o "Caitaani mũtharaba-Inĩ" (Devil on the Cross) - 1980 - Kenya
Ngugi wa Thiong'o "A Grain of Wheat" - 1967 - Kenya
Niane, Djibril Tamsir "Soundjata ou l'épopée mandingue" (Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali) - 1960 - Guinea/Senegal
Nyembezi, Sibusiso "Inkinsela yase Mgungundlovu" - 1961 - South Africa
Okigbo, Christopher "Labyrinths" - 1971 - Nigeria
Okri, Ben "The Famished Road" 1991 - Nigeria
Oyono, Ferdinand "Le vieux nègre et la médaille" (The Old Man and the Medal) - 1956 - Cameroon
P'Bitek, Okot "Song of Lawino" - 1966 - Uganda
Pepetela "A Geração da Utopia" - 1992 - Angola
Saadawi, Nawal El "Woman at Point Zero" - 1975 - Egypt
Salih at-Tayyib "Season of Migration to the North" - 1966 - Sudan
Sassine, Williams "Le jeune homme de sable" 1979 - Guinea
Sembene, Ousmane "Les bouts de bois de Dieu" (God's Bits of Wood) - 1960 - Senegal
Sédar, Léopold Senghor "Œuvre poétique" - 1990 - Senegal
Serote, Mongane " Third World Express David" - 1993 - South Africa
Shabaan, Robert Bin "Utenzi wa vita vya uhuru, 1939 hata 1945" - 1967 - Tanzania
Sow, Aminata Fall "La grève des battus" - 1979 - Senegal
Soyinka, Wole "Death and the King's Horsemen" - 1975 - Nigeria - Nobel Prize for Literature 1986
Tchicaya, U Tam’si "Le mauvais sang - feu de brousse - à trisse-coeur" - 1955 - Congo
Tansi, Sony Labou "La vie et demie" (Life and a Half) - 1979 - Congo
Tutuola, Amos "The Palm-Wine Drinkard"- 1955  - Nigeria
Vera, Yvonne "Butterfly Burning" - 1998 - Zimbabwe
Vieira, José Luandino "Nós os do Makulusu" (Our Gang from Makulusu) - 1967 - Angola
Vilakazi, B. W. "Amal'eZulu" - 1956 - South Africa
Yacine, Kateb "Nedjma" - 1956 - Algeria


Amin, Samir "L'accumulation à l'échelle mondiale" (Accumulation on a world scale) - 1970 - Egypt
Amadiume, Ifi "Male Daughters, Female Husbands" - 1987 - Nigeria
Andrade, Mário de "Os nacionalismos africanos" - 1998 - Angola
Appiah, Anthony "In My Father's House" - 1992 - Ghana
Cabral, Amilcar "Unity and Struggle" - 1979 - Guinea-Bissau
Chimera, Rocha "Kiswahili, Past, Present and Future Horizons" - 1997 - Kenya
Diop, Cheikh Anta "Antériorité des civilisations nègres" - 1967 - Senegal
Doorkenoo, Efua "Cutting the Rose: Female Genital Mutilation" - 1994 - Ghana
Hayford, J. E. Casely "Ethiopia Unbound" - 1911 - Ghana
Hountondji, Paulin "Sur la philosophie africaine" (African Philosophy: Myth and Reality) - 1976 - Benin
Johnson, Samuel "The History of the Yorubas" - 1921 - Nigeria
Kenyatta, Jomo "Facing Mount Kenya" - 1938 - Kenya
Ki-Zerbo, Joseph "Histoire de l'Afrique noire" (History of Black Africa) - 1972 - Burkina Faso
Krog, Antjie "Country of My Skull" - 1998 - South Africa
Mama, Amina "Beyond the Mask, Race, Gender and Identity" - 1995 - Nigeria
Mamdani, Mahmood "Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Colonialism" - 1996 - Uganda
Mandela, Nelson "Long Walk to Freedom" - 1994 - South Africa - Nobel Peace Prize 1993
Marais, Eugène "Die Siel van die Mier" (Soul of the White Ant) - 1925 - South Africa
Memmi, Albert "Portrait du colonisé suivi de portrait du colonisateur" (The Colonizer and the Colonized) - 1957 - Tunisia
Mondlane, Eduardo "The Struggle for Mozambique" - 1969 - Mozambique
Mphahlele, Ezekiel "Down Second Avenue" - 1959 - South Africa
Mudimbe, V. Y. "The Invention of Africa" - 1988 - Democratic Republic of the Congo
Nkrumah, Kwame "Ghana: The Autobiography of Kwame" - 1957 - Ghana
Plaatje, Sol "Native Life in South Africa" - 1924 - South Africa
Soyinka, Wole "Ake: The Years of Childhood" - 1981 - Nigeria - Nobel Prize for Literature 1986
van Onselen, Charles "The Seed is Mine: The Life of Kas Maine, a South African Sharecropper 1894-1985" - 1996 - South Africa

(If a book has been translated into English, I have put the translated title in brackets.)

Monday 19 June 2023

Dumbach, Annette E. "Sophie Scholl and the White Rose"

Dumbach, Annette E.; Newborn, Jud; Gierlichs, Annerose "Sophie Scholl and the White Rose" (German: Die Geschichte der weißen Rose) - 2002

As I already wrote in my description of "The White Rose" by Inge Aicher-Scholl: If there are any books that everyone should read, the story of the White Rose is definitely one of them.

This is another book on the subject.
While Inge Aicher-Scholl was the sister of siblings Hans and Sophie, the authors of this book were journalists who researched the life of the group.
Another point of view that brings us even more information about the life and work of these young people. You just have to admire them and ask yourself: What would I have done in their place?

A few quotes from Sophie Scholl that we should all take to heart:

Stand up for what you believe in even if it means you stand alone.

Offer passive resistance – resistance – wherever you may be, forestall the spread of this atheistic war machine before it is too late ... (from the first leaflet; 1942)

I still believe I did the best I could for my people right now.
Therefore, I do not regret my actions and I want to accept the consequences that arise from my actions.

I am, now as before, of the opinion that I did the best that I could do for my nation. I therefore do not regret my conduct and will bear the consequences that result from my conduct.

And from Hans:
Long live freedom!

From the back cover:

"In the spring and summer of 1942, five young German students and one professor at the University of Munich crossed the threshold of toleration to enter the realms of resistance, danger and death. Protesting in the name of principles Hitler thought he had killed forever, Sophie Scholl and other members of the White Rose realized that the 'Germanization' Hitler sought to enforce was cruel and inhuman, and that they could not be content to remain silent in its midst."

In addition to the Scholl siblings, we should not forget the other members who were also executed:
Alexander Schmorell, Christoph Probst, Willi Graf and the university professor Kurt Huber.

Thursday 15 June 2023

#ThrowbackThursday. Roméo Dallaire


Dallaire, Roméo "Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda" - 2003

Tough read. But worthwile. General Dallaire was the UN commander in Rwanda during the genocide in 1994. It is incredible what happened. Roméo Dallaire describes everything in detail.

Highly recommendable if you are interested in the problems going on in this world. The book made a big impression to everyone, it felt very important.

We discussed this in our international book club in August 2009.

Dallaire, Roméo "They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children: The Global Quest to Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers" - 2010

As in his first book, Roméo Dallaire has a powerful message and shows so much compassion with the victims of these terrible wars that rage through the whole world. Because victims they are, even if they look like fighters.

The author started a fight against the abuse of children in any way, against pulling children into a war abusing their innocence and thereby destroying their lives. As a former member of the army who has seen them in combat, he contributes a lot of his knowledge, both civilian and military to the trials to abolish child soldiers.

Read my original reviews here and here.

Tuesday 13 June 2023

The Classics Club: The Classics Spin #34


"Words and Peace" is a blog I've been following for a couple of years and I have always found some interesting new (or olde) books there, especially French ones.

On her page, I found the posts by "The Classics Club" asking us to create a post, this time before next Sunday 18th June 2023, and list our choice of any twenty books that remain "to be read" on our Classics Club list. They'll then post a number from 1 through 20 and we have time until Sunday 6th of August 2023 to read it.

In the meantime, I read four books from my old list (Classics Spin #33), and finally finished my original list. But there are always some new books that I can add to my challenge. The books are all in chronological order.

1.    Aristophanes "Lysistrata and Other Plays" (Lysistrata) - 411BC
2.    Voltaire "Candide, ou l'Optimisme" (Candid, or Optimism) - 1759
3.    Dickens, Charles "Nicholas Nickleby. The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby" - 1838/39
4.    Brontë, Charlotte "The Professor" - 1857
5.    Turgenjew, Iwan Sergejewitsch "Fathers and Sons" (Отцы и дети/Otzy i deti) - 1862
6.    Conrad, Joseph "Victory: An Island Tale" - 1915
7.    Hamilton, Cicely "William - an Englishman" - 1920
8.    Hesse, Hermann "Wir nehmen die Welt nur zu ernst" [We just take the world too seriously] - 1928
9.    Faulkner, William "The Sound and the Fury" - 1929
10.    Hemingway, Ernest "A Farewell to Arms" - 1929
11.    Meigs, Cornelia "Invincible Louisa" - 1933
12.    Orwell, George "Down and Out in Paris and London" - 1933
13.    Canetti, Elias "Die Blendung" (Auto-da-Fé) - 1935
14.    Orwell, George "The Road to Wigan Pier" - 1937
15.    Némirovsky, Irène "Les biens de ce monde" (All Our Wordly Goods) - 1941
16.    Cela, Camilo José "The Family of Pascal Duarte" (La Familia Duarte) - 1942
17.    Zweig, Stefan "Schachnovelle" (The Royal Game/Chess) - 1942
18.    Wilde, Oscar "Only Dull People Are Brilliant at Breakfast" - 1946
19.    Huxley, Aldous "Ape and Essence" - 1948
20.    Yates, Richard "Revolutionary Road" - 1961

This time, it's #13, so my novel is:
Canetti, Elias "Die Blendung" (Auto-da-Fé) - 1935

If you want to take up the challenge, here is the post: The Classics Spin #34 

Here are all the books on my original Classics Club list.
And here is a list of all the books I read with the Classics Spin.

Monday 12 June 2023

Ansay, A. Manette "Blue Water"

Ansay, A. Manette "Blue Water" - 2006

I read a book by Manette Ansay (Vinegar Hill) a couple of years ago and really liked it. Talking about it a while ago, I felt I really needed to read another one of her books. And I didn't regret it.

The story was captivating and suspenseful. You couldn't wait to turn the page. The author has a great writing style. The protagonists are well described, the plot good to follow and you can feel with the characters.

As in her other book, we ask ourselves how much a person can endure but also, how can we forgive someone. You find all kinds of emotions in the novel, love and hate, anger and hope, grief and forgiveness. There are solutions but also problems that cannot be solved. An interesting story.

Certainly not my last book by Manette Ansay.

From the back cover:

"Aboard their sailboat, Chelone, Megan and Rex Van Dorn look like a couple living their dream. But when people ask, 'Do you have children?' Meg doesn't know how to answer. For their only child, Evan, was killed in a car accident, and behind the wheel was Cindy Ann Kreisler, Meg's one-time best friend.

The couple's only plan, as they set sail, is to put as much distance between themselves and Cindy Ann as possible. But when Meg returns to shore for her brother's wedding, she is forced to face the ties that bind her to the woman who has wounded her so badly. As Meg well knows, Cindy Ann has secrets and sorrows of her own - which date back to the summer of their brief friendship.

Friday 9 June 2023

Migraine Books and Links 2023

Word cloud made with WordItOut

June is Migraine Awareness month.

Chronic migraines are more than 15 migraines a month.

This is a long post and certainly not for everyone. But if it only helps one person to find a help for their migraine and or opens the eyes of one of those who didn't know much about it, the work put into this list was well worth it.

I know people mean well but if it helped your neighbour's aunt's dentist's daughter's teacher's cousin, I probably have heard about it already and also tried it with no success.

However, as a migraine sufferer, I am always interested in finding a solution or at least talk about what might and might not help. Therefore, I created a list in 2011 with links to anything that could be helpful for a sufferer like me. Even though I updated it constantly, there were so many new websites and article that I added another one in 2014. And here we are again, so many new articles that I'd like to share with my friends, and so many old ones that disappeared. Therefore, here is a new list that I will update from time to time. You can still go back to the old ones (2011 here, 2014 here and 2016 here) but I have not included any of the links here that don't work anymore.

Migraine and related Quotes:
"And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you." Friedrich Nietzsche
"Chronic pain is just that ... CHRONIC. It never goes away, never cuts you a break and it changes EVERYTHING." N.N.
"Diagnosing a migraine involves analyzing the symptoms, conducting medical tests, and eliminating other possible causes of the headache." Chronic Pain Info
"I see myself as a migraine who sometimes gets to be a person." @thedailymigraine
"Having an invisible illness is like being a duck on a pond: On the surface everything looks normal, but what you can't see is how hard we are working just to stay above the water." Migraineur Misfits
"If you know someone who's depressed please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation, depression just is, like the weather. Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the otherside. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest and best things you will ever do." Stephen Fry
"Just because a person smiles all the time, doesn't mean their life is perfect, that smile is a symbol of hope & strength." Lauryn Hill
"Migraine is atrocious torment, one of the worst in the world, weakening the nerves, driving one mad, scattering one's thoughts to the winds and impairing the memory. So terrible are these headaches that I can do nothing but lie on a couch and try to dull the pain by sniffing ether." Guy de Maupassant
"Migraine is difficult to treat because symptoms are hard to evaluate and can change from one attack to the next." Migraine Research Foundation
"Pain comes in all forms: the small twinge, a bit of soreness, the random pain, the normal pains we live with every day. Then there’s the kind of pain we can’t ignore: a level of pain so great that it blocks out everything else, makes the rest of the world fade away until all we can think about is how much we hurt. How we manage our pain is up to us. Pain. We anesthetize, ride it out, embrace it, ignore it… And for some of us, the best way to manage pain is to just push through it." Grey’s Anatomy * (Suggestions like this are okay but once people tell me I should see the hundredth doctor who specializes in something I've tried already but this one is supposed to be the only one who can help and I only need to go there three times a week for a year and he only is three hours drive away and their mother's neighbour's cousin's daughter's teacher's aunt's hairdresser has tried it ... uhm, I see red!!!!)
"People who experience migraines feel, see, touch and hear the world differently all the time, not just during an attack." New Scientist
"The loneliest people are the kindest. The saddest people smile the brightest. The most damaged people are the wisest. All because they do not wish to see anyone else suffer the way they do." N.N.
"We grieve what we were and mourn what could have been." Nikki at Brainless Blogger (see below)
"With chronic illness, we mourn who we used to be. We mourn who we might have been. We grieve lives lost and lives never fulfilled." Nikki at Brainless Blogger

Quotes by my Pain Pals *:
"A migraine is not a headache, it's more like a HEADQUAKE."

"Are you a vampire or migraineur?
1. Do you have an aversion to sunlight? *hisss, sun be gone*
2. Does raw garlic make you sick? *i do feel a migraine coming on*
3. Do the site of crosses make you flee? *not that I noticed*
4. Does Holy water burn your skin? *are you saying I need a bath*
5. Does the taste of blood excite you? *I do like my steaks very rare*
If you answer mostly YES, you may have a bigger problem than migraines
." A funny note but it shows what we have to deal with

"I couldn't sleep, couldn't move or it would get worse, plus making the vomiting start up again, it was agony! ... I wish I could do things that normal healthy people take for granted and not have to pay for it later by getting sick! I wish there was a cure for all invisible illnesses!! I wish there was more empathy! This isn't what my life is suppose to be like! I am scared my daughter will grow up not knowing how to be empathic towards me or people like me! I hate what this disease takes from me! I am tired of fighting this battle only to get treated poorly when I finally do feel better! It feels like my body can't take much more! And if I push too hard after I 'think' I am better it just comes right back. But what choice do I have? I don't ask for this pain, I don't want this pain, and I sure as hell don't want pity because I get sick. I want understanding, caring and knowledge about migraines! And yes I want help, I NEED help! I can't do this alone anymore!"
"Please say a special prayer tonight for the man who still goes to work every morning with a smile on his face and comes with a laugh to share. For the man who picks up the pieces when I can't and doesn't complain about all the dirty laundry, dishes etc. that aren't getting done. This man runs errands to pharmacies, to fetch children and dinner and does it with his well known good attitude. He still believes in me, even when I forget to. He never tells anyone his problems, so none of you probably know that he has been single parenting A LOT. If you see him, shake his hand and tell him he is doing a good job. Thanks."

"Just because you see me posting online doesn't mean I am feeling better. I am in a ton of pain, but my choices are to sit and cry or try to distract myself. Posting encouragement for others or being encouraged myself is how I face one minute at a time when everything hurts."

"Migraine: All the side effects of getting drunk but with none of the fun."

"Migraines don't kill you.They just torture you enough to wish they did."

"PAIN is a four letter word!"

"Real happiness is painfree time."

About unsolicited health advice:

"So, why don't you go to that doctor that I recommended. It's only about twice a week for a year, my mother's neighbour's cousin's friend's daughter's teacher's wife did it and it helped her tremendously. And you only have to drive four hours every time. One way, that is ..." We've all heard this way too often.

"This experience w/ pain has made me waaaay more empathetic. i feel like i understand a world not many ever see or experience. like knowing an alien language."

"Oh, you have some unsolicited health advice? How about this? I challenge you to 24 hours with my Chronic Illness, while I sit back and observe, I could use the break ... and you could CERTAINLY use the lesson!!!"

If you know someone who has chronic migraines and never experienced one yourself, read this:
"I have a migraine attack 28 days a month. I tell you this not for pity or shock value, but to beg for a smidgen of your comprehension. I want you to understand that migraine is not a bad headache, but a neurological disorder that affects every system of the body. You see, the unbearable head pain that migraine is known for is only one symptom of the illness.
When I say "I have a migraine," I mean that I am horribly nauseated, dizzy, weak, and have flu-like lethargy and fatigue. My legs tremble so much my knees buckle. I cannot think clearly enough to write a coherent sentence, common words elude me, decision-making is nearly impossible. I am overwhelmed by mood swings, including suicidal depression. Light, sounds, smells and touch are magnified beyond annoyance. And the head pain is so severe that even moving my legs while lying in bed causes me to moan in agony. These aren’t all my symptoms, just the most notable. Nor does the list represent all possible migraine symptoms someone can experience  -  I am fortunate in that I don’t have endless vomiting or diarrhea,numbness and tingling in my limbs, temporary paralysis, or loss of vision.
The misunderstanding that migraine is just a headache that can be treated with over-the-counter painkillers and a nap or avoided entirely by not eating chocolate or not getting stressed is not only wrong, but disregards the enormous suffering of the more than 37 million migraineurs in the US. Sure, some people could have a radical reduction in the frequency and severity of their migraine attacks with awareness, preventive medication, and lifestyle and behavioral changes. Many others, like me, strive tirelessly to improve their health to no avail. Chronic migraine, defined as 15 or more headache days a month, at least eight of which are migraine, has its grip on 2 percent of the world’s population. And that’s the bare minimum, some migraineurs have an attack every single day. In addition to the excruciatingly painful migraine days, every migraine also have a recovery day that can put alcohol hangovers to shame.
Again, I do not want your pity or even your sympathy. I want you to have even the tiniest grasp that migraine is not a headache. That your sister isn’t just trying to get out of Sunday dinner. That your coworker isn’t taking the day off to go shopping. That your wife isn’t a whiner who doesn’t want to do housework. Migraine is a real, systemic and debilitating neurological disease that no amount of positive thinking can cure. In fact, there is no cure at all; modern medicine doesn’t even know the full extent of the causes of migraine.
June is National Migraine Awareness Month and today is Chronic Migraine Awareness Day. I’ve been doing a lot this month to raise awareness, but I realized I’ve been preaching to the choir on migraine-focused blogs, websites and Facebook pages. So I’m writing this letter to all of those without migraine. Though you may not personally suffer from the illness, there’s no doubt you know someone who does. If this letter had touched you at all, please let them know that you understand migraine is not just a headache. They may brush you off  -  that’s what you learn to do when you have an illness that’s so often viewed as an excuse  -  but I guarantee they will take your words to heart. And I hope you will, too

Migraine related conditions:
1. Prodrome Phase (hours or days before the headache). Irritability. Depression. Euphoria. Fatigue and/or sleepiness. Yawning. Cravings. Stiffness and/or pain in neck. Dizziness. Changes in elimination
2. Aura Phase (minutes to an hour before the headache). Blurred vision. Clouded vision. Tunnel vision. Flashing lights. Dazzling zigzag lights. Eye pain. Numbness and/or tingling (esp. in arms and face). Ringing or roaring in ears. Decreased hearing. Vertigo (imbalance or spinning sensation). Olfactory (smelling) hallucinations. Difficulty finding the right word or words to say. Oversensitivity to being touched
3. Headache Phase. Pulsing, throbbing, or pounding headache. Often on one side only or worse on one side. Can start as a dull ache and get worse. Lasts from a few hours to a few days. Nausea with or without vomiting. Sensitivity to light or sound or both. Pale skin. Prominent blood vessels in temple. Neck stiffness. Vertigo. Tinnitus. Chills and/or Sweating. Difficulty thinking or concentrating
4. Postdrome (lasting up to several days) Impaired thinking. Difficulty concentrating. Less severe head pain. Muscle weakness. Neck stiffness. Fatigue and/or sleepiness. Euphoria. Depression or malaise.
(Headache and Migraine News)

Baxter, Blodin, Betsy "Migraine Expressions: A Creative Journey Through Life With Migraine"
Bernhard, Toni "How to be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers"
Bernstein, Carolyn & McArdle, Elaine "The Migraine Brain: Your Breakthrough Guide to Fewer Headaches, Better Health" (highly recommended)
Brink, Martin "The Migraine Revolution" Scientifi Guide to Effective Treatment and Permanent Headache Relife. What the current regime does not want your brain to know.
Bush, Catherine "Claire's Head"
Buchholz, David "Heal Your Headache: The 1-2-3 Program for Taking Charge of Your Pain"
Chino, Allan F., M.D.; Dille Davis, Corinne, Ph.D. "Validate Your Pain!: Exposing the Chronic Pain Cover-Up"
Cowan, Robert "Keeler Migraine Method: A Groundbreaking, Individualized Treatment Program from the Renowned Headache Clinic"
Davis, Stefanie M. "Through the Eye of Migraine"
Fontebasso, Dr. Manuela "Migraine and Other Headaches. Answers at Your Fingertips"
Frances, Marian "Migraine: Pain of the Body, Cry of the Spirit"
Frith, Alison "Coping with Headaches and Migraine" 
Greenberg, Lynne "The Body Broken: A Memoir"
Griffin, Shelly L. "The Migraine Deliverance Planner"
Grossinger, Richard "Migraine Auras: When the Visual World Fails"
Hatak "Guided Tour of Hell In the Words of Migraine Sufferers" 
Hutchinson, Susan "The Woman's Guide to Managing Migraine: Understanding the Hormone Connection to find Hope and Wellness"
Kabat-Zinn, Jon "Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness" 
- "Mindfulness Meditation" **   
Kamen, Paula "All in My Head: An Epic Quest to Cure an Unrelenting, Totally Unreasonable, and Only Slightly Enlightening Headache"
Lane, Russell; Davies, Paul "Migraine"
Levy, Andrew "A Brain Wider Than the Sky: A Migraine Diary"
Lynne, Jean "My Life With Migraines"
MacGregor, Ann; Frith, Alison "ABC of Headache"
Marcus, Dawn A. Bain, Philip "The Woman's Migraine Toolkit: Managing Your Headaches from Puberty to Menopause"
McCleary, Larry "The Brain Trust Program: A Scientifically Based Three-Part Plan to Improve Memory, Elevate Mood, Enhance Attention, Alleviate Migraine and Menopausal Symptoms, and Boost Mental Energy"
O'Shea, Kathleen "So Much More Than a Headache: Understanding Migraine through Literature"
O'Sullivan, Susan "It's All In Your Head: True Stories of Imaginary Illness"
Nicholas, Michael; Molloy, Allan; Beeston, Lee; Tonkin, Lois "Manage Your Pain:
Practical and Positive Ways of Adapting to Chronic Pain"
Peterson, Christina "The Women's Migraine Survival Guide: The most complete, up-to-date resource on the causes of your migraine pain--and treatments for real relief"
Podoll, Klaus "Migraine Art: The Migraine Experience from Within"
Sacks, Oliver "Migraine"
Sepp, Maia "The Migraine Mafia"
Servan-Schreiber, Dr. David "Healing without Freud or Prosac"
Thomas, Pat "Under the Weather - How Weather and Climate Affect Our Health"
Turk, Dennis C. & Winter, Frist "The Pain Survival Guide: How to Reclaim Your Life"

I have not read any of these, yet, but hope to get my hands on one or more of them soon.

Suggestions for more books about this topic are always welcome.

There are so many websites and blogs about migraines, I try to list a few and will add more over time:
"The Spoon Theory" - someone with a chronic disease explains how it feels to someone who is always healthy.
How to understand someone with Chronic Pain.

ACHE - American Council for Headache Education
Advanced Migraine Relief 
American Headache & Migraine Foundation
American Headache Society
Chronic Daily Headaches (Mayo Clinic)
Chronic Migraine Awareness on Facebook
Chronic Migraine Awareness on Tumblr
Headache and Migraine News

Headache Network Canada
Health with Cannabis
International Headache Society "Real voices. Expert opinions". A very professional blog.
Migraine Action. A UK based charity.
Migraine Again
Migraines & Headaches Health Center 
Migraine Recovery Phase
Migraine Support on Facebook
Migraine Survival
Migrainetalk. A forum for those who suffer from migraine. Their Useful links to other Migraine Sites.
My Chronic Migraine
National Headache Foundation. The world's largest voluntary organization for the support of individuals with headaches.
New Life Outlook Migraine 
Relieve - It's time to fight back
Surviving Chronic Pain
The Daily Headache  
The Migraine Revolution  
Virtual Medical Centre  
World Health Organization on Headache Disorders.
You Know You Have a Chronic Illness When ...  

Unfortunately, there were some great blogs by some migraine sufferers but they have been shut down in the meantime. It would have been nice if they had just left the information so people could still get back to it but, unfortunately, that is not always the case. But these links are still working.

Abi's Migrainous Wanderings 
Chronic Migraine Warrior. The personal journey of a chronic migraineur.
CMA Awareness - Spreading Awareness about Chronic Migraines. Blog by a fellow sufferer.
Elizabeth Swenson's Migraine Support Blog
Mind Splitters and other Migraine Fun. A great blog by a lady who knows a lot about this subject.
Still Searching to Get My Life Back ...   
The Migraine Girl 
The Migraineur's Companion. Thoughts on living with chronic migraine.
This is My Brain on Migraines 

There used to be a great blog called "Brainless Blogger". Unfortunately, it disappeared. However, there are a few articles on other sites about Nikki who ran the blog. And they are interesting sites.

A Passion for Hobbies 
Bittersweet Coaching 
Blogger of the Week 
Counting My Spoons 
How to Write a Character With Chronic Migraines
The Disabled Diva 

1% Thursday: Warning Signs   
1% Thursday: Hire Someone (when you can't afford it)
1% Thursday: Moderate 
3 essentials to cure hangry medic syndrome
3 Things the Chronically Ill Wish Their Loved Ones Knew 
5 People You Meet When You Have A Chronic Illness 
5 Realities of Living with Chronic Pain
5 Reasons a Migraine is not "Just a Headache" 
5 Reasons People Abandon a Sick Friend  
5 Tough Choices You Face When Chronically Ill or in Pain 
8 Things Only People with Anxiety will Understand  
8 Things You Can Do to Live Well With a Chronic Illness 
8 Yoga Poses to Help Cervical Spine & Neck Issues 
10 Common Chronic Pain Myths
10 Life Lessons Learned From a Chronic Illness
10 Migraine Resolutions to Make for 2016
10 Things I Wish People Knew About My Migraines
10 Things NOT to Say to a Person with Migraines
10 Things to Tell Your Doctor
10 Tips for Effective Migraine Management Goals 
10 Ways for Migraineurs to Sneak in Some Exercise 
10 Ways to Help Someone with Migraine 
10 Yoga Poses to Heal Migraines 
11 Tips for Living With Chronic Pain
12 Tips for Living Well with Migraines   
13 Things Not To Say To Someone With A Migraine
13 Tips From 13 Years Sick 
14 Migraine Prodrome Symptoms 
15 Diseases, Disorders and Syndromes That Go Along with Migraine 
15+ Gift Ideas for People With Migraine, Curated by People With Migraine
16 Texts From Your Migraine That Will Make You Laugh Then Cry
18 Signs You're Having a Migraine - Sometimes you get them all at the same time.
21 Thoughtful Things to Do for Someone With Migraine
22 Things About Migraines You May Not Know
23 Tips For Men on Supporting a Partner with Chronic Pain
29 Things Only Someone with Severe Migraines Would Understand
34 Truths People Who Get Migraines Wish Others Understood
After a Migraine: Vision Problems and Stroke Risk?
All About Headaches 
A Love Letter to Anyone Who Struggled to Shower Today
A Migraine Is Not a Headache, Not Even Close; 17 Struggles Only Migraine-Sufferers Understand
A Not-To-Do List for the Chronically Ill 
A Patient Education Day: "Take Control of your Pain" 
Are Migraine Researchers Preoccupied with Pain?  
Art Taught Scientists About Migraine's Pathophysiology 
A Sleep Gene Has  Surprising Role in Migraines
Block Migraine Pain With a Back-of-the-Head Injection 
Botox for Migraine 
Brain Changes May Explain Stroke Risk in Migraine Sufferers 
Caution on Mixing Herbal, Migraine Meds
Chocolate for Migraine? 
Chronic Migraines: A Tidal Wave of Activity in the Brain 
Chronic Pain Can Damage Brain 
Chronic Pain Not Only Hurts, It Also Causes Isolation and Depression. But There’s Hope.
Coffee Painkiller to Target Headaches? 
Colic in Infants May be Early Sign of Migraine Headache 
Don't Believe the Headlines (and the News)  
Does BPA Trigger Migraine? 
Does my Child Have Migraine? 
Electronic Headband Prevents Migraines With Tiny Jolts 
Epilepsy and migraine 'could have shared genentic link'
Everything You Need To Know About Migraines (In Under 4 Minutes!)
Evidence Depression Isn't Just 'All In Your Head' - The Toll Depression has on the Body and Mind
Excedrin Tension Headache 
Exercise as Potent Medicine  
Exercise for Chronic Pain 
Exploding Head Disorder 
FDA Approves Device to Treat Migraine Headaches 
Fight Migraine with our HeadWay Community 
First Drugs To Prevent Migraines In Final Stages Of Testing 
Five Lessons I Learned From Dealing with Depression  
From Migraine to Mygraine  
Full Ibuprofen Dosage Information for All Ages  
Getting Help
Getting to Sleep with Migraine 
Gluten-free, Casein-free Diet f- for Migraine?  
Headache from WiFi? Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity
Headache Migraine Depression Connection  
Headaches and Migraines: What's the good news? 
Headache Types
Heat and Headaches  
Hope for Migraine Sufferers as 'Ground-Breaking' Injection to Prevent Attacks is Shown to be Successful
How a Wandering Brain Can Help People Cope With Pain
How Can I Help a Friend Who Seems Depressed? 
How Chronic Pain Changes Your Brain and Personality 
How Dangerous are Migraine Drugs during Pregnancy? 
How Disabled is Your Child With Migraine? 
How I Manage Living With Migraines
How the Spoon Theory helps those suffering Chronic Pain and Fatigue 
How to Cope When Chronic Pain Affects Friends, Family & Social Life     
How to Cope When Your Spouse Has Migraines 
How to Cope with Pain  
How to Destroy Your Headaches   
How to Support a Friend Who Has a Chronic Illness 
How to Survive Chronic Pain, One Moment at a Time 
How to Understand Someone With Chronic Pain
How to Understand Someone With Chronic Pain - Chronic Body Pain
Hypoglycemia and Headaches
Identifying and Avoiding Your Migraine Trigger 
I Had Alice in Wonderland Syndrome
I'm Chronically Ill and Afraid of Being Lazy 
Insensitive Things That People Say When You Have an Invisible Condition 
I Smell a Migraine
Is Stress a Migraine Trigger?  
It’s not a migraine unless it is a migraine
Learn How To Recognize Dangerous Headaches
Let's Talk About Migraine

Letter to People Without Chronic Pain
Life With an Invisible Illness
Limb Pain May Be Unrecognized Manifestation of Migraine
Living in a Big Black Hole: My Experience with Depression and Anxiety
Living with Migraine
Massage for Migraine
Medication-Overuse Headache and the Brain  
Migraine: A Worldwide Crisis?  
Migraine and Depression: Shared Genetics
Migraine and Epilepsy - Shared Mechanisms within the Family of Episodic Disorders
Migraine and REM Sleep 
Migraine and Stroke in Young Adults and more
Migraine: Are Blood Vessels to Blame After All? 
Migraine Associated Vertigo Symptoms 
Migraine Can Be Life-Threatening 
Migraine Disorder Comes With Its Own Set of Clues to Preventing Pain
Migraine Guided Visualization
Migraine Headache  
Migraine Headaches Pictures Slideshow: 14 Non-Drug Treatments for Migraines
Migraine Headache Surgery 
Migraine is Associated with Variations in Structure of Brain Arteries
Migraine Nausea 
Migraine Pal
Migraine Patients Find Pain Relief in Electrical Brain Stimulation 
Migraine Prevention 
Migraine Research: Why You Should Care and What You Can Do
Migraines Can Cause Permanent Brain Damage, Study Finds
Migraines ... Headaches You Were Born to Have - and the best cure may be a cup of coffee or two
Migraines Linked To Genetic Regions 
Migraines Linked to Structural Changes in Brain 
Migraines May Be Mini-Strokes That Cause Brain Damage
Migraines, not really "headaches" 
Migraines: Simple Steps to Head Off the Pain 
Migraine study 'opens door' to research into a cure
Migraine sufferers many times deal with social stigma as well as pain
Migraines With Neck Pain
Migraine Symptoms: Sneaky Signs Before Your Head Hurts
Migraine Symptoms: Transient Aphasia
Migraine Triggers: Track them Down  
Migraine With Aura May Be Linked to All Stroke Types - Migraines & Headaches Health Center
Migraine with Aura
Migrainous Infarction - A Stroke from Migraine? 
More Than Just a Headache: Battling Migraine Stigma 
Mysterious Changes Identified in The Brains of People Who Get Migraines
Natural Migraine Relief: the Best Strategies  
New Drug to Fight Migraine Shows Promise   
New Migraine Drugs Bring Relief to Sufferers With Pain Prevention, Not Just Treatment
New Migraine Drugs Promise Relief - But at a Steep Price
New Migraine Treatments Show Promise   
New Theory on Cause of Migraine 
Niagrara Falls Illumination   
Niagara Falls on Chronic Migraine Awareness Day  
No One Talks About the Fear
Not a Stroke Just a Migraine
Not Just a Headache: How Migraine Changes Your Brain   
Nutrition for Migraine Prevention  
On Wishing and Hoping for a Migraine Free Future   
Opthalmic Migraine  
Optic Nerve Plays a Major Role in Migraine Pain
Potential Migraine Phases and Symptoms
Professors Delve into Mysteries Behind Chronic Pain, Migraines 
"Proof" That Headaches are Caused by Stress?
Re-Framing Migraine
Relaxation Techniques for Migraines and Headaches 
Robbins Headache Clinic Treating Anxiety
Secret Illness
Sex Matters in Migraines  
Share Your Migraine-Fighting Recipe!  
She Changed How I See My Disability With a Pair of Socks
Sick Building Syndrome May Be Linked To Migraines
Silent Migraine
Silk Ring Theory - How Not to Say the Wrong Thing   
Six Common Misconceptions about the Chronically Ill
Sleeping Sound with Chronic Pain 
Status Migrainosus - When the Attack Doesn't Stop 
Still Searching To Get My Life Back
Suicide and Chronic Migraines 
Suicide Headaches: 5 Realities Of The Worst Thing Ever
Suffer From Migraines? Device Worn on the Head may Prevent Them   
Suffer From Migraines? Try and Sit Up Straight: Hunching Over Computers and Not Getting Enough Sleep Could Be to Blame
Suicide Headaches: 5 Realities Of The Worst Thing Ever
The 19th Century Doctor Who Mapped His Hallucinations
The 7 Psychological Stages of Chronic Pain
The Extra Burdens Faced by Young People with Chronic Illness  
The Hidden Ingredient in Your Painkillers  
The Link Between Depression and Migraine 
The Mighty - Kerry Hussey
The Migraine Dirty Dozen - Things Not to Say to a Chronic Migraineur
The Migraine Warrior Toolbox: IceKap Review
The Phases of Migraines and Getting Through Migraine Postdrome 
The Pressure to Say You're OK 
The Reality Of Chronic Pain Is Different From the Movies
Theramine for Migraine   
Theraspecs - Glasses that block unwanted light to provide immediate and lasting relief
There's nothing funny about getting a migraine
The Silencing Effect of Chronic Illness - The Daily Headache
The Top Migraine Triggers
The Traveling Migraine Diary
They Don't Give You a Headache - but 'silents migraines' can be even more shattering 
This Migraine Preventing Space Tiara Was Just Approved by the FDA  
Those with migraine still stigmatized  
Top 7 ways to stop Weekend Headache   
Top 10 Brain-Damagine Habits
Top 10 Migraine Triggers
Top Ten Things You Should Know if Your Spouse Has Chronic Migraine  
To the Husband of the Wife Living With Chronic Illness 
To the Person With a Chronic Illness Who Feels Like a Burden 
Trapped by my Prescription Drug Coverage  
Unusual Botox Treatment for Cluster Headache
Visual Aura  
Vitamin D: An Important Migraine Treatment?  
Weight Loss Benefits: Study Says Losing Weight Can Prevent Migraines  
What are Silent Migraines? 
What Are The Best Places To Live For Migraine Sufferers
What Causes Migraines? The Common Triggers Plus Best Treatments
What Do You Tell Your Doctor?  
What is Migraine 
What Migraines Really Feel Like, From People Who Get Them  
What's Tylenol Doing to Our Minds  
What the Chronically Ill DON'T Want to Hear  
What the Healthy Can Learn from the Sick   
What You Need to Know about Migraine in Emergency
When a "Toothache" is Really a Migraine  
When Dizziness is Serious 
When People Ask How I Do My Job With My Chronic Pain   
When People See My Pills and Say, 'You Know That Stuff Is Poison, Right?'
When Using Triptans, Do You Make This Mistake?
Where Is the Cure for the Migraine?  
Why I Do Things That May Make My Chronic Pain Worse   
Why Migraines Deserve More Attention
Why Spitting It Out Could Stop Headache Pain
Word of Mouth - Can dentists cure migraines?
Yoga May Help Feet, Ease Migraine 

German Articles:
Animationsfilm: "Migräne? Hab ich im Griff!"
Deutsche Migräne- und Kopfschmerzgesellschaft e.V.
Migräne, eine Erbkrankheit?  
Ratgeber Migräne. Informationen für Betroffene und Interessierte

A Migraine in (Animated) Action
Chronic Migraine We are Not Alone   
Migraine Again  
Migraine Pain is 'Indescribable' by Cindy McCain 
Migraines: Not Just Another Headache 
Migraine with Aura   
Stress Release! I'm About to Whip Somebody's A**! Song of a Duck  
Slideshow: Celebrities with Migraines  
The Faces of Migraine 2013 
The Frightening Impact of Chronic Migraines (Huffpost)
The Mystery of Chronic Pain 
The Postdrone: Migraine's Silent Sister 
Yoga for Complete Beginners - Yoga Class 20 Minutes 

Other Pain Articles:
4 Foods That Can Fight Depression 
5 Things I learned From Helping My Dad Die  
7 Big, stupid, destructive lies depression tells you  
10 Simple things you can do today that will make you happier, backed by science 
Aneurysm and Headache 
Book raises alarms about alternative medicine 
Cities with the most digitally-connected seniors
The Dangers Of High-Functioning Depression And Anxiety
Depression can be migraine's tipping point
Depression is a common occurrence in a chronic pain condition, and insomnia is quite common in depression. Do you take an antidepressant to help you sleep?
Good Posture Helps Reduce Back Pain
Five Lessons I Learned From Dealing with Depression  
Higher Rates of Migraine Headaches in People With Celiac Disease and Inflammatory Bowel Disease
How depression feels for some people.
How to find out which foods are making you sick 
How to stop an anxious thought in its tracks   
If You Know Someone Who's Depressed - What Depression Is Not
'Just Snap Out of It' - Four Hidden Truths About Depression  
Positivity is Bullshit When You Have Cancer 
Six Common Misconceptions about the Chronically Ill 
Stroke has a new indicator 
Symptoms of Depression 
The Connection Between Migraines and Skin Temperature 
The Myth of Eight Hour Sleep 
The Science of Sleep: Dreaming, Depression, and How REM Sleep Regulates Negative Emotions  
Three Fascinating Depression Articles in Recent News 
Yoga for Complete Beginners - Yoga Class 20 Minutes 

Cefaly - FDA Approves New Device to Prevent Migraines
Migraine Relief Wrap
MigraLens - Helps effectively manage & soothe light sensitive migraine
These products have been recommended by some sufferers, I have not tried them.

Migraine and Art:
Migraine Art - National Headache Foundation
"Migraine Art: The Migraine Experience from Within" by Klaus Podoll, Derek Robinson, Oliver Sacks
The Migraine Art Competition Collection
Migraine, Creativity and Me 

Headache and Migraine News
The Most Popular Headache and Migraine Posts of 2022 

Unfortunately, Nikki from Brainless Blogger has not only stopped posting on her website but deleted it completely. She always had fantastic advice. Luckily, I had copied a very important one. Should anyone here know whether Nikki is on another site now (I have not found one), please, let me know.

So, here is the post:
Chronic pain: changes to the brain

I feel this study that came out of Australia (see here:
How Chronic Pain Changes Your Brain and Personality) has some important lessons for us to think about for our coping with chronic pain and that is why I felt the need to mention it. As well as some previous research I remember coming across.

Chronic pain can change the way your brain processes emotion, scientists find
It was a small study, as scan studies tend to be, where they looked at the brain scans of 19 individuals with nerve pain and jaw disorders compared to the scans of 19 healthy individual control subjects.

The main finding is that those with chronic pain had lower levels of glutamate which is an important chemical messenger between brain cells that helps regulate our emotions.

What this means for us is pretty important:

"[It] means their brain cells can no longer communicate properly and therefore their ability to process positive emotion is jeopardised," Associate Professor Gustin said.

As a result, people in chronic pain can have personality changes where they are "prone to feeling tired, unmotivated and constantly worrying on a daily basis", she said.

You can see how these results are pretty important to our coping with pain when we already have to deal with being tired, unmotivated and worried. Unmotivated is the one in particular that concerns me. We need motivation for many of the daily things we need to do to cope and it is extremely hard to muster that up. And one does wonder why that is.

The researchers found that the greater the decrease in glutamate the more chronic pain people showed pessimism, fatigue, fear, and sensitivity to criticism.

And I know fatigue can be something that is immensely difficult to deal with. As is fear when it comes to fear of activity or fear of the future. And we do tend to constantly fight a pessimistic attitude and we are very aware of that.

Clearly, they want to see these results replicated in a larger trial.

"We know that almost half of people with chronic pain have mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety and these findings may well be an explanation," she said.
"The research could help change the way we understand and respond to chronic pain."

There has been previous research on motivation

That motivation thing and what to do about it and it references a study done on mice that showed a disruption on the reward system of the brain. The mice with chronic pain, even treated, had no motivation to seek the reward they knew was there. And maybe there is a connection. The chronic pain was causing more than just lack of motivation but also fatigue, fear, and pessimism… they just gave up on that reward.
When you think of chronic pain and motivation with these issues:

It makes sense and it explains a lot. Chronic pain makes living life and doing things a Momentous effort. And it does seem that our own brains are constantly sabotaging us. And one way is the motivation problems we can have… like we have to Force ourselves to Do things and hope that will eventually give us our motivation back… but it never does. Instead, we are constantly exhausted… just all the time and everything seems like so much damn effort.

And that compromises our capacity to cope and manage chronic pain. We may have a routine of things that help us cope… but it never becomes a routine because motivation lacks so much or fatigue is just so intense. It is a struggle to do the things we know make us feel a little bit better, even though we Know those things help. And that makes our mood suffer. Why can’t we just Do the things we need to Do that help us feel better and cope better? Well, don’t knock yourself… our brains, apparently, are just not helping us in this.
So I do believe the research is onto something. We know already that chronic pain isn’t just pain. It comes with symptoms as well.
Symptoms of Chronic Pain
Insomnia (Painsomnia)
Withdrawal from Activity
Increased Need to Rest
Weakened Immune System
Changes in Mood
: Hopelessness, Depression, Anxiety, Stress, and Irritibility

So consider all that when you are trying to cope and set up routines and habits to help you cope. It is a challenge. We will falter from time to time. It is going to happen and we shouldn’t feel guilty about that, just try again the next day. It takes a lot to fight our brains on this and deal with the chronic pain at the same time.

What it essentially boils down to is that chronic pain is complex and difficult to manage. Difficult to treat as well. And one of the reasons why is that these other symptoms do not help us with struggling to engage in our own treatment but rather compromise it. And it can be a real struggle for us to stay on the track we want. Or feel like we are getting any results at all. That pessimism we can have can make us halt any treatment believing nothing works or will ever work. I have been there. However, that was because I had that pessimism, the fatigue and depression rolled into one. And yeah it felt futile. And at those times it does seem like a break from ALL that is the best I can even do. But eventually, I get some motivation back to find the energy to work at different coping strategies and develop new habits and routines to help me cope. Hoping I will not compromise my own coping again, knowing it is very possible I will. Sometimes the best we can do is just cope the best we can when we can.


I have checked and rechecked all these links but there are always some that disappear from one day to the next. Please, let me know when you find that a link does not work anymore.

And, if you know of a good link that I did not include, definitely let me know, as well. Thank you very much.

"There are over 100 drugs, surgical interventions, and devices used to prevent or treat migraine symptoms! Finding one or a combination that might work requires patience and expert help." Migraine Research Foundation

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* If any of my Pain Pals would like to be credited, I will happily do that.