This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Sometimes life throws you a curve ball. A ball that strikes you right in the stomach, winding you, making you double up in pain. The pain isn't constant, but comes in layers. Wave after wave battering you with grief, some small, some tidal.
At times like this you need a distraction. Something to take you away from the pain in real life and to wrap you up in a literary hug. Calming you, soothing you. Giving your mind and soul a break, repairing you, making you stronger, so that you can emerge and look life straight in the eye once more.
At times like this I distract myself with films, TV box sets and books. Sex and the City, anything with Diane Keaton or Goldie Hawn – a Nancy Meyers movie is always a good choice. Or maybe a film with food like Julie and Julia. Anything gentle. Books wise, it has to be in a similar vein. As the films are classics from the last decade or more, then the books are the same. Freya North, Marian Keyes, Maeve Binchy. A book that has given me a sense of calm on its first read, so I revisit when things are stormy.
1. Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy – Maeve Binchy would always, always be my first author I choose when feeling blue. Circle of Friends is probably the book I've re-read the most. It's a story about Benny and her best friend, Eve as they begin their life at university. Benny's parents have a shop in the sleepy town of Knockglen and she has to travel home every night, as the dutiful daughter. At university though, they meet Nan and Jack Malone and their lives begin to change.
2. You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning – Different to Maeve Binchy but even so this is a book you'll want to read again and again as a pick-me-up and as a comfort. Neve is sweet and bookish and head over heals in love with William. Only he's in LA – so while he's gone she's been losing weight and getting fit so on his return he'll fall head over heals in love with her. There is one sticking point. She needs some experience with men. And that's where Max comes in.
3. (Auto)Biographies – I've read a number of biographies when feeling low and some I've even re-read. The theme is easy read, where someone rich and famous has a good tale of struggle. Because, despite their lavish lifestyles, they have difficult times too. Ones I've found useful are Wife in the North, Gary Barlow, Geri Halliwell and even the Katie Price biographies. I know, don't snigger, but I turned to her earlier ones when I was having a hard time after my children were born. They remind you that other people are hurting and it isn't just you feeling all alone in the world and the unhappiest person alive.
4. Home Truths by Freya North – I love this book. It's where we find out what happens next for Fen, Pip and Cat. But not only that we find out something about their past and the mother that left them for a cowboy from Denver.
5. Harry Potter (any of them) by JK Rowling – A tale of love, loss, life, death, good over evil, along with the theme of boarding schools, friendships, feasts and magic. Perfect for when life is beating you with a stick.
What do you read when feeling blue?