Summer Fun for Adults Week 3: Health, Fitness & Wellness

We're in the third week of the library’s Summer Fun for Adults program, and for this week's theme we offer a list of resources to support mental and emotional health. A guest post from Sadie McClendon, Outreach Librarian and coordinator of the Social Sciences collection at the Main Library.

The Summer Fun for Adults program continues with this week’s theme: Health, Fitness, & Wellness. You can earn raffle tickets for reading and reviewing books and movies, and by participating in other fun activities.  Possible prizes include a Chromebook, a free Annual BayWheels membership, boating on Lake Merritt and gift cards for groceries, gardening supplies, sporting goods, books, coffee and more.

To find out more visit this page, and to sign up go here.

The world can be a challenging place for many of us at the best of times. The last few months and weeks, with COVID-19, recent racial injustices, and civil unrest, have likely heightened those challenges and presented new ones for many people. Especially in times of collective turmoil, it’s important we take care of each other, and that oftentimes starts with taking care of ourselves. 

During a time of sheltering in place and decreased accessibility to the services and people that many of us turn to in times of hardship, it can be hard to know where to look for help. If you are in need of resources related to mental and emotional health, OPL has many to offer. 

There are so many factors that affect us in so many ways, but one certain thing is that we are never alone. Others have struggled with the same things we struggle with and have shared their stories, experiences, and expertise in books, handbooks, films, podcasts, and more, so that the rest of us may learn, benefit, and heal. Below is a selection of books and films that can be requested through our online catalog (check our website for more information about sidewalk pickup), or accessed online through OverDrive, Hoopla, Kanopy, etc. 

Are u ok? walks readers through the most common questions about mental health and the process of getting help—from finding the best therapist to navigating harmful and toxic relationships and everything in between.

How to form and maintain genuine friendships in an age of social disconnect. (publisher) Available with no wait on Hoopla

A collection of essays by the American Buddhist nun in which she offers advice on how to find happiness by moving toward painful situations and learning to remain peaceful in the midst of chaos. 

Against a global backdrop of war, social upheaval, and personal despair, there is a growing sense of urgency to challenge the systems of oppression that dehumanize bodies and strip us of our shared humanity. Rather than feel helpless in the face of oppression, world-renowned activist, performance poet, and author Sonya Renee Taylor teaches us how to turn to the power of radical self-love in her new book, The Body Is Not an Apology. Radical self-love is the guiding framework that transforms the learned self-hatred of our bodies and the prejudices we have about other people's bodies into a vision of compassion, equity, and justice. (publisher) Available with no wait on Hoopla

We can’t deny it any longer: there is a Black mental health crisis in our world today. Black people die at disproportionately high rates due to chronic illness, suffer from poverty, under-education, and the effects of racism. This book is an exploration of Black mental health in today’s world, the forces that have undermined mental health progress for African Americans, and what needs to happen for African Americans to heal psychological distress, find community, and undo years of stigma and marginalization in order to access effective mental health care. (publisher) Available with no wait on Hoopla

In this breakthrough guide to understanding, treating, and healing Attention Deficit Disorder, Dr. Gabor Maté, an adult with ADD and the father of three ADD children, shared the latest information on the external factors that trigger ADD, how to create an environment that promotes health and healing, Ritalin and other drugs, ADD adults, and much more. (publisher)


A classic about trauma, its impact, and ways to treat it. Available as a book, eBook, or eAudiobook. 

Finding peace in times of worldwide trauma is difficult, and finding peace in times of personal trauma such as a family death or tragedy can be overwhelming. Therapist Christy Monson professionally and compassionately describes how tragedy physically changes the brain and the body, and she provides powerful techniques to help heal those invisible wounds and cope with the turmoil of our day. Available with no wait Hoopla

A guide for survivors of PTSD and their loved ones, written by a therapist and trauma survivor, outlines strategic steps for recovery based on five phases that acknowledge the progressive and cyclical nature of the journey.

People of color have endured traumatic histories and almost daily assaults on their dignity. Professional counselor Sheila Wise Rowe exposes the symptoms of racial trauma to lead readers to a place of freedom from the past and new life for the future. With Rowe as a reliable guide who has both been on the journey and shown others the way forward, you will find a safe pathway to resilience. (publisher) Available with no wait on Hoopla

A powerful and practical guide to help you navigate racism, challenge privilege, manage stress and trauma, and begin to heal. Available with no wait on Hoopla


Classic handbooks for those struggling with addiction. Read AA: The Big Book with no wait on Hoopla

Refuge Recovery is a systematic method based on Buddhist principles, which integrates scientific, non-theistic, and psychological insight. Viewing addiction as cravings in the mind and body, Levine shows how a path of meditative awareness can alleviate those desires and ease suffering. Refuge Recovery includes daily meditation practices, written investigations that explore the causes and conditions of our addictions, and advice and inspiration for finding or creating a community to help you heal and awaken. (publisher)

The authors show how the 12-Step program can be interpreted and worked by those who simply do not believe in an interventionist deity. At the same time the authors conscientiously maintain the intention and integrity of the program - its values, scope and depth.

Real-life solutions to help you now. Watching a loved one immersed in an intense battle with alcohol and drug abuse may be the most difficult, complex and harrowing experience you'll ever have. This book offers a message of hope to families and friends, giving practical solutions so they can help anyone struggling with addiction to begin the road to recovery. (publisher)

Other people’s stories:

Matt Haig's accessible and life-affirming memoir of his struggle with depression, and how his triumph over the illness taught him to live. (publisher) eAudiobook available with no wait on Hoopla

A personal story of depression, as well as a journalistic account of its role and ramifications in society today. (publisher) Available with no wait on Hoopla

A deeply personal memoir by the legendary rap star and co-founder of Run D.M.C. shares the story of his battle with depression, revealing how overwhelming fame culminated in dangerous suicidal thoughts. (publisher) Available with no wait on Hoopla

In "Monkey Mind," Daniel Smith brilliantly articulates what it is like to live with anxiety, defanging the disease with humor, traveling through its demonic layers, evocatively expressing both its painful internal coherence and its absurdities. (publisher) Available with no wait on Hoopla

The Recovering presents an exploration of addiction that blends memoir, cultural history, literary criticism, and journalistic reportage to analyze the role of stories in conveying the addiction experience, sharing insights based on the lives of artists whose achievements were shaped by addiction. (publisher)

Lit follows Mary Karr's descent into the inferno of alcoholism and madness—and her astonishing resurrection. (publisher) Available as an audiobook with no wait on Hoopla

A searching, richly researched narrative of the social history of mental illness in America paired with the deeply personal story of his two sons' battles with schizophrenia. A blend of history, biography, memoir, and current affairs ending with a consideration of where we might go from here, this is a thought-provoking look at a dreaded illness that has long been misunderstood. (publisher)

For young adults: 

An anthology of essays and illustrations that illuminate mental health topics in a straightforward way. (publisher) Available with no wait on Hoopla

A judgment-free guide for living well with your mind. Your Brain Needs a Hug is filled with friendly advice, coping strategies and laugh-out-loud moments to get you through the difficult days. Witty, honest, and enlightening, this is the perfect read for feeling happier and healthier and learning to navigate life without feeling overwhelmed or isolated. (publisher)

Films available on Kanopy:

Mad Dance is a collection of provocative and beautiful short films that re-envision the way we think, speak and feel about mental distress and wellness in today's chaotic world. These transformative films offer new maps for navigating madness with insight, healing and hope. (Kanopy)

The Mask You Live In follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America's narrow definition of masculinity. Pressured by the media, their peer group, and even the adults in their lives, our protagonists confront messages encouraging them to disconnect from their emotions, devalue authentic friendships, objectify and degrade women, and resolve conflicts through violence. These gender stereotypes interconnect with race, class, and circumstance, creating a maze of identity issues boys and young men must navigate to become "real" men.

Crazy...or wise? Indigenous cultures address "mental illnesses" quite differently from western societies. Are symptoms a 'calling' to grow or just a 'broken brain'? The documentary explores what can be learned from people around the world who have turned their psychological crisis into a positive transformative experience.

Feeling stressed? You're not alone. Stress is a fact of life. And the key to changing how stress affects you is a thorough knowledge of how it works--which you'll find in the 24 fascinating lessons of Stress and Your Body, taught by one of the world's foremost researchers on stress and neurobiology. 

A feature documentary film about the 23.5 million Americans living in long-term recovery from alcohol and other drug addiction. Deeply entrenched social stigma and mass participation in widely successful anonymous 12-step groups have kept recovery voices silent and faces hidden for decades. The Anonymous People will be told through the faces and voices of the leaders, volunteers, corporate executives, and celebrities who are laying it all on the line to save the lives of others just like them. This passionate new public recovery movement is fueling a changing conversation that aims to transform public opinion, and finally shift problematic policy toward lasting recovery solutions.

Need Help?

You can find out more about Oakland Public Library's online books, movies and more here.

If you need help using eBooks or other online resources, you can make an appointment to speak with a librarian. Fill out the online form here, or call 510-238-3134 to make an appointment.

If you need help with your library account or have other questions, please email or leave a voice mail with your full name and details at 510-238-3134.

If you don’t have a library account, we're still issuing new library cards while our buildings are closed to the public. Just complete an online application and email to set one up.

Looking for more reading recommendations? Try our service for readers, Book Me! Fill out an online form and a librarian will send you a personalized list of reading suggestions.