Notes on a Nervous Planet: A Short Book Review

Notes on a Nervous Planet, as its name suggests, is a notebook where Matt Haig has scribbled his thoughts on depression and anxiety. It is a running commentary – a monologue – on the usual suspects that have made us more nervous than we ever were: smartphones, social media, news, marketing that panders to our insecurities, lack of sleep, work. It contains the germ of his bestseller, The Midnight Library, and you can almost see the birth of Nora Seed. Sample this:

“To enjoy life, we might have to stop thinking about what we will never be able to read and watch and say and do, and start to think of how to enjoy the world within our boundaries. To focus on the fewer things we can do, rather than the millions of things we can’t. To not crave parallel lives.”

It is informal, imperfect, and inward-facing; a lot of what Matt Haig writes is derived from his own experiences of fighting depression. His content isn’t ground-breaking or revolutionary in its scope but has the potential to act as a cushion to those who need it the most. Persistent, prescriptive, and at times practical, he manages to produce what could possibly be the world’s first ready-reckoner on anxiety and depression. My favorite part though is the chapter on the virtues of a good fiction book. Those who’ve read my last post, know why I don’t read fiction as often as I do non-fiction. 

“Reading isn’t important because it helps you get a job. It’s important because it gives you room to exist beyond the reality you’re given.”

I guess it’s time 🙂

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