Wednesday, March 9, 2011

For Comfort While Facing a Storm

Focus for this List: A dear friend of mine asked for a list of books that would be light, fun reads, with minimal romance.  My friend is going through a really challenging time, and so, I also recommended some books that I've found helpful when the world comes crashing down.  E, this list is for you. 

Nonfiction that has Saved My Sanity (more than once):
1.  Laurence Gonzales: Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why
This is far more than a book on how not to die while camping -- it's a survival guide for life. No, really. In fact, it's a bit of a genre-spawning book, and one that is quite readable. Skip the overly science-filled parts if you wish, but focus on the lessons. They're essential.

2.  Viktor Frankl: Man's Search for Meaning
A small book, it is, in fact, the most truth-filled and helpful guide to living I've ever encountered.  Written by a psychologist who survived the Holocaust, this is a guide to living with meaning, even when it all seems meaningless.
And here's an official recommendation by someone other than me, "According to a survey conducted by the Book-of-the-Month Club and the Library of Congress, Man's Search For Meaning belongs to a list of "the ten most influential books in [the United States]." (New York Times, November 20, 1991)."  Thanks, Wikipedia!

It's a good book, and I think it will help.  Please read it?

Nonfiction that's just fun to read:
3.  C. S. Lewis: On Stories: and Other Essasy on Literature
Yes, I read C.S. Lewis for comfort - don't you?  :)

4.  Jane Yolen: Touch Magic: Fantasy, Faerie & Folklore in the Literature of Childhood
I'm not sure why faery-tales came so strongly to mind, E, when I was making this list for you, but they did.  Thus, my favorite collection of essays by one of my favorite authors.  In particular, I think the essay titled, "The Mask on the Lapel" will speak to you.  Page 53 in my book. 

Fiction for You:
5.  Jane Yolen: Twelve Impossible Things Before Breakfast 
Well, I could hardly let you escape without reading some of her fiction too, eh?  They are short stories for when that's all the time you've got!

6.  Louis Sachar: Holes
Some would say this is a book for teens and pre-teens.  I say that it's a modern fairytale with points to touch us all.  That, and it's set in West Texas.  You'll like it.

7.  William Saroyan: My Name is Aram
Another collection of short stories -- I find Saroyan's writing style to be uniquely calming -- almost a literary balm, at least for me!  You'll enjoy Aram; I think you'll recognize your boys in some of his stories!

8.  William Saroyan: The Human Comedy
This is on my personal top-ten of all-time list. I first read it when wildly homesick as an exchange student in Germany. I allowed myself to read only one chapter a night, and yes, that's how I survived that January. 

9.  Robert Heinlein: The Green Hills of Earth
Short stories to take you away, make you think, change your perspective, and leave you laughing, these are some of the best.

10.  Spider Robinson: Callahan's Crosstime Saloon
If all else fails, read this book (and its friends) until you're helpless with laughter and the light seems brighter.  I've linked it to the Kindle edition for faster access!  Why this book?  Because shared pain is lessened, and shared joy is increased.  Yes, that's a quote.  Go on now, you'll love it!

((((HUGS)))) + A Cup of Tea + A Good Book (or 10) = Better Times Ahead!

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