Once (twice, thrice, it happens all the time) there was a day when nothing went right. Iced coffee all over the car, screaming toddlers throwing tantrums, lunch left at home, bank account on E, a general feeling of misery throughout the world.
It happens. Sometimes for no apparent reason. Sometimes everything is going a-ok and you still feel pretty lousy about life. You want to hide under the covers, beneath your desk, behind closed doors. And while books can’t exactly cure this feeling, they can definitely help. Quite frankly, when I have days like this, it is sometimes the only thing that does help, these familiar books, bastions of calm and order in an increasingly chaotic, unfriendly world. Especially if I can pair them with a
bottle glass of wine.
Who let me Adult? I can’t Adult anymore today
Feeling like growing up has let you down? Life isn’t living up to your expectations? We’ve all been there. When I’m feeling particularly nostalgic, I go alllll the way back to a stack of Berenstain Bear books, especially “The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room.” I reread these books constantly as a kid, but this one is more worn than the rest. Something about the order that’s established after Mama throws away all their toys. She puts her foot down and things get done. And then Papa Bear helps make all those beautiful storage things, and all the boxes are labeled neatly, and Mama can open the closet and nothing knocks her over? A place for everything and everything in its place. (Side note: it is a relief to have just googled this phrase w/ Berenstain Bears and discovered that someone else was affected by this as a kid, too!)
Now, there’s no way I can actually do this. I try, believe me. And sometimes I almost succeed. A few times a year you might stop by my home and be lulled into a sense of “wow, this girl really has her life together and knows how to keep a clean home”. Don’t be fooled. It’ll all go out the window as soon as I can’t find the book/board game/scarf/sweater/candle I need and decide the best way to locate it is to go through the house like a hurricane.
So, perhaps it’s my inability to stick to my organizational goals that makes this book particularly soothing. Whatever it is, this book still gets read any time my life feels too out of whack.
Nothing Will Ever be Funny Again
The news is depressing as all get out. I like to think I’m an intelligent person, and it’s not that I’m not aware of what’s happening in the world, or that I don’t think it affects me or the people around me. It’s that whenever I attempt to care, it’s just too much. There’s just too much terrible out there.
And yes, sometimes? I just feel like saying this:
So sometimes the “world is horrible” mood really is because the world is horrible. And it’s those times when I really need something to make me laugh. Or at least make me smile. And there are the obvious choices (Amy Poehler’s book, Tina Fey’s book, Mindy Kaling’s book) but I’d like to direct your attention to a little book called “Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging.” I think, aside from Harry Potter, that this was the first series I was truly obsessed with. I’d wait impatiently for the next book, I worked Georgia’s vocabulary into my own–if you read my journals (you can’t) you’d see that I write in the exact same style whenever I had recently read one of her books. But seriously. This book holds up. I can be having the lousiest of lousy days and the terrorists are winning, and I can open to the first few pages of the book and read about Georgia shaving off her eyebrows and I just…let things go. It’s an immediate tension release. And maybe I don’t laugh out loud at it anymore, but reading the familiar words, picturing the now familiar scene in my own imagination–it’s enough.
We Found Love in a Hopeless Place
Sometimes you just feel angsty. Supposedly you “grow out of” that kind of feeling, but I think that’s bullshit. I think that’s why I (and a billion other people) love YA books so much. There’s something about raw emotion that is so relatable, and just because you grow out of acting on all of your angsty feels doesn’t mean you don’t have them anymore. So when I’m feeling emotional or lovesick or just sad and wallowy, I’ve found my latest comfort book is “Isla and the Happily Ever After” by Stephanie Perkins. All three of her books are great (“Anna and the French Kiss” and “Lola and the Boy Next Door”…don’t let the cheesy titles fool you, they’re beautiful) but “Isla” really has this perfect balance of love and loss and sadness and hope, that I can open to any page and fall right in.
Angry reading is hard. Sometimes you can’t even see the page through frustrated tears. And there aren’t a lot of books that fit this category, and this one especially is probably different for everyone. For me, it’s Tana French–specifically “The Likeness” or “In the Woods”. These detective novels feature fabulous main characters dealing with some real psychopaths, and there is some sense of righteousness in watching the characters you admire get the bad guy eventually. Like the Perkins books, I can open up “The Likeness” to any page and fall in, ready to battle with Cassie as she solves her mystery and hunts down a killer. And then I get to feel badass and just a little bit better.
What about you, dear reader? What books do you turn to when the world has got you down?