December 02, 2004

Comfort

Today has been the kind of day that makes me wish that I had stayed at home, in bed, with a good book. No, that's not a good description because I would almost always rather be at home with a book. A better descriptor would be to say that it was the kind of day that made me wish that I had been hit by a Mack truck or tortured at the hands of leperous pygmies. Needless to say, by 6:30 pm, as I sit at my office desk and wish that I could rewind the afternoon, I am *not* in a good mood. Why, you might ask, am I choosing to burden you, my occasional reader, with something as irrelevant as the mood of a complete stranger who happens to have created a sporadically readable literary blog? (You might also wonder why I'm using such melodramatic run-on sentences but that's a completely different concern.) My response is simple: I need your help. That's right, this is your civic call to duty, your opportunity to make a difference in someone's life, the chance to practice a random act of kindness. In short, I'm soliciting your input. After all, doesn't everyone love being asked for his or her opinion?

I have two questions for you:

1) What is your favorite book to read when you're having a rough day?
2) What book holds the most personal meaning for you?

This is your chance to get on your soapbox. Why is your favorite pick-me-up book the best pick-me-up book in the world? Why should my readers (all half-dozen of you) read it? What about it whisks you away from the madding crowds and soothes your savage breast? Write a sentence or compose a sonnet about it; just share your thoughts. Please? Don't make me start whining about my awful day again...

19 Comments:

Blogger Amy shared an opinion...

If you need a pick-me-up, I can recommend two books that I think are funny, poignant, and well-written. The first is The Frog King by Adam Davies. I would describe it as a love story about a guy who hasn't quite grown up yet. Also, I love Syrup by Max Simon. It's quite different from his second book, Jennifer Government. Syrup is funnier, does not bounce across various POV's, and is a scathing look at American corporate culture and consumerism. Great stuff. These books are great because they are at heart just really funny, fabulous stories.

A book that holds the most personal meaning for me--that's tough. There are a few. To pick one that comes up instantly, I would have to say A Prayer for Owen Meany. Every time I read it, I ask the smae question: are there events or causes or forces in our lives that are predetermined? Can we truly do anything we want with our lives, no matter what? Are we bound by more than our physical and mental limitations, i.e. are there spiritual or energetic boundaries (fate, destiny) that also control our directions and futures?

I have gone back and forth on the question, and I still don't know the answer. Probably never will. So I guess I'll keep reading the book.

Really like your site--intersting and well-written. I'm going to add a link to you on my blog.

12:49 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous shared an opinion...

Thanks for dropping by my site. GO DAWGS!

I've stopped by your blog before and enjoyed reading. I'll definitely be back. As far as books to pick me up...hmmm...a good (accurate) historical, or pure trash. Something I can lose myself in.

TW

1:07 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous shared an opinion...

1) The Night Room by EM Goldman. I read it for the first time in sixth grade, and while I'm way too old for it now, I can plow through it in a couple hours and just feel good about things. It has a science-fiction premisis, but focuses more on the relationships and personal struggles of the characters.

2) An Invisible Sign of my Own by Aimee Bender. I feel like this book was written about me in mind. Every time I read it, a different part speaks to me. When my dad was sick, I found myself reading it and crying because I knew exactly what the main character was going through with her dad being sick. But there's so much more to it than that. It's so unique and special, a wonderful book.

I'm enjoying reading your blog. I've recently decided to change the direction of my blog from being primarily focused on personal issues to more of a language/literature focus. I'll be back.

-Alli
http://entranced.org

11:53 am  
Blogger Dylan shared an opinion...

This is exorbitantly stupid. Ready? The Revelation. No, I didn't just mis-spell a book of the Bible, I'm talking about Animorphs #45. Why? Because it brings back some really good memories. Not something I can easily explain.

10:59 pm  
Blogger sfp shared an opinion...

I think my comfort books, the ones I dip into to the point that much within their covers has been internalized, are Anne Tyler's Searching for Caleb, Margaret Drabble's The Realms of Gold, and childhood favorites by Louise Fitzhugh (Harriet the Spy and The Long Secret) and E.C. Spykman (Terrible, Horrible Edie and Edie on the Warpath, woefully out of print).

6:55 am  
Blogger Misha Tch. shared an opinion...

The only thing that can make me feel like I'm having a rough day is romantic problems. And when I am in a bad mood I tend to gravitate to sad heart-rending books and music. These change of course. Currently, the two therapeutical authors for me are Akhmatova and Pasternak.

The book with the most personal meaning for me is "Mary" by Vladimir Nabokov. It is his first novel, and it is already a work of genius. I've discovered Nabokov quite a long time ago and fell in love with his writing at once, but I only picked up Mary a couple of months ago when I started dating a girl with the same name. I can't hold tears when reading his fascinating memories of the first love...

8:27 am  
Blogger Shelly shared an opinion...

I am so not going to be helpful here, but when I'm having a bad day, I usually read comic books. New ones waiting to be read. Old favorites like Teen Titans/Titans.

Or I put on the TV.

I don't reread books and don't have favs -- well, I have something like 200 fav books. Many books have had meaning for me depending on the books themselves and where/when I read them.

12:06 pm  
Blogger Toni shared an opinion...

I'm so busy these days with reading school textbooks that I find little time to read regular books. However, I recently bought "The Da Vinci Code" since it seems I'm the last person on earth who hasn't read it yet. Usually though, I read either fashion, entertainment, or computer magazines.

BTW, thanks for coming and commenting on my site. The paper I mentioned in my post (http://kaonashigasuki.blogspot.com/2004/08/no-where-are-you-really-from.html)
hasn't been published yet, to my knowledge. I had a copy of it because they presented their research at a conference early this year. However, you can either contact them yourselves and ask for a copy (I can give you the students' names but that's all the information I have about them). Or I can make a hard copy for you and mail it to you.

2:53 pm  
Blogger William Teach shared an opinion...

My favorite book for that is "One of Us," by Michael Marshall Smith. Just transfers me somewhere else.

3:32 pm  
Blogger Special Sauce shared an opinion...

Mmm. Books.

Nothing, save Joe Queenan at his misanthropic best, makes me feel better on a crapalicious day like Laurie Notaro. "The Idiot Girl's Action Adventure Club" is pretty much me. "Autobiography of a Fat Bride" yeah, that'll probably be my wedding, assuming I can make convincing cutlets. "I Love Everybody..." yeah. I had those bosses. High literature it's not, but it does make me laugh so hard that cheesecake will come out of my nostrils, mostly because it's so damned familiar.

The book that means the most to me? Depends on the day, although I have a special spot for Rick Bragg's book- "Ava's Man". Doesn't matter how many times I read it, I know Charlie's going to die and I still weep like a little girl every time. The story itself (as with All Over But the Shoutin') wrap themselves around me, and even though my redneck family is from the north, it still resonates. Good stuff.

Sorry to hear work has been so crappy. I can import some leperous pygmies, if you like.

5:53 pm  
Blogger k. shared an opinion...

I like "Life's Little Instruction Booklet." I can't think of the author. It's one of those small coffee table books that is a list of a few hundred pieces of mostly sound advice, like "stay out of night clubs" and "give people a second chance but not a third."

8:36 pm  
Blogger Pia Talks shared an opinion...

Beautiful blog. Thanks for visiting me.
Because I grew up reading them I love mysteries--anything but cozies--more edgy. One of my favorite all time books is Truman Capote's In Cold Blood; also love Ruth Rendall's Inspector Wexford for sick days.

I once spent a weekend reading Robert Caro's The Power Broker--had a cold and was so happy that I couldn't go out.

7:20 am  
Blogger Aldon Hynes shared an opinion...

Comfort books. Interesting question. It kind of depends for me. Probably something from Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse or Mrs. Dalloway. Or some poetry by Denise Levertov.

Most meaningful book? Hmm, again, it depends. Zen and the Art of Motorcylce Maintenance or maybe The Last Unicorn.

4:59 pm  
Blogger Rich Rosenthal II shared an opinion...

1) My Favorite book to read is Neuromancer by William Gibson. It was one of the first books I encountered that had an anti - hero. The action of the novel takes place despite the main character's self destructive tendencies. Also one of the first novels I've read where the strong physical character was a woman.

2) Last Words by William Burroughs would be the book that currently holds the most meaning for me. While I didn't always agree with Burroughs views of the world, the journals of his final years are very moving and he was a cat person which is always good.

1:03 am  
Blogger I Am The Walrus shared an opinion...

Hey, thanks for the comment, through it I found your website and now will return often. Thebbook I mentioned in my post is Book Lust: Recommended Readinf for Every Mood, Moment and Reason. The author is Nancy Pearle and David Belisle provides the photographs. Since it appears that you love books as much as I, I hope you enjoy it. I love your site and will come back often.

7:47 am  
Blogger Harrison shared an opinion...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:54 pm  
Blogger Harrison shared an opinion...

When I'm having a rough day? The Baron in the TreesIt made filled me with such a sense of joy, and made me laugh out lound, and I was reading it in a crowded bar in Manhatten...

The most personal meaning? Proust: In Search of Lost Time . It just has, you know, all the analytic tools you need to get through life. It gives you the key to almost any seemingly mysterious conversation.

And allows a small margin in which to hope for some small thing...

Harrison(Ignore the link to me at the beginning of the post; I just created it to post on blogger.)

7:56 pm  
Blogger Sherry C shared an opinion...

Thanks for stopping by my site and leaving comments. How odd that you should run across my blog coincedentally! Were you hitting "Next Blog," or perhaps Googling yourself?

Incidentally, I cannot make mention of "Googling one's self" without giggling a little. Doesn't it just sound a tad PG-13?As far as influential books, the first few that come to mind are Les Miserables (I was quite proud of myself for trudging through the entire unabridged English translation, and was profoundly moved by the story), Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, Orwell's 1984 (I thought his invention of another language was brilliant), the books of Esther and Proverbs in the Bible, Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers; oh, the list could go on, but my brain is tired.

For comfort I read whatever is in my immediate vicinity at the moment. This may be the back of a cereal box, my handy-dandy thesaurus, well-phrased descriptions of items in a mail-order catalog (familiar with Levinger?, or even the phone book (good for story character names and clever business monikers).

I generally can't bring myself to read the same book twice, leaving my to-read list to sit dormant.

Come by my blog again any time. It's nice to meet you--kind of.

Not "kind of" nice, but "kind of" meeting you, of course.

11:01 pm  
Blogger Dr. Craig Hildreth shared an opinion...

As one afflicted with incurable bibliophilism, I am attracted to your blog as a lycanthrope to the waxing moon!

When I've had a rough day I read the Jeeves and Bertie novels by the great "Plum" Wodehouse - no better hour was ever spent by man or woman in the pursuit of the crazy life of an English gentleman.

As far as the latter question: The Sun Also Rises, or Steppenwolf. Obviously both were read when I was a younger man...

8:20 pm  

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