Friday, March 23, 2012

Comfort Books

For book club next month we're reading KING LEOPOLD'S GHOST. We've been meeting for almost two years and this is our first non-fiction selection. I was initally excited about it because it's about the Belgian occupation of the Congo and I am generally totally on board with reading horribly depressing books about awful things that happened in Africa (see: WE WISH TO INFORM YOU THAT TOMORROW WE WILL BE KILLED WITH OUR FAMILIES). I was getting along just fine for about the first hundred pages, but this week I seem to have hit a wall.

For various reasons, the last three months have been a disaster of pretty insane proportions. More and more I find that the only things I want to read are comfort books, books that are mostly very sad but that in their sadness also reaffirm my recently shaken faith in people's ability to connect to one another in times of profound awfulness.

Here is my personal reading list for when everything sucks:

Reasons to Live by Amy Hempel
The Father by Sharon Olds
A River Runs Through It by Norman McLean
Self-Help and Anagrams by Lorrie Moore
All This Heavenly Glory by Elizabeth Crane
New and Selected Poems 1974-1994 by Stephen Dunn
W.H. Auden: Selected Poems
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Monkeys by Susan Minot

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