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Books to get me through a shitty time?

(22 Posts)
PurpleNailVarnish Fri 11-May-18 06:47:23

A bolt out of the blue from yesterday, a young family member needs a major operation and I'm losing my job.

The job thing will be alright in the end but I feel panicked right now, even though it's a bullying environment and I'm better off out of it.

Please can you recommend books - self help/fiction/factual/anything that will steady me and get me through?
What has helped you?

Thank you.

OP’s posts: |
FuelledByButter Fri 11-May-18 06:52:55

I had a stressful time recently culminating in the death of a parent and read Miss Mole by EH Young shortly afterward. It's uplifting and inspiring and is about someone finding joy and beauty in the small things despite personal troubles.

PurpleNailVarnish Fri 11-May-18 12:08:22

Thank you, I'll give that a go.

All other ideas appreciated too.

OP’s posts: |
CramptonHodnet Fri 11-May-18 15:09:50

If you like non fiction, then perhaps some soothing nature writing? I like Robert Macfarlane's books, and also Roger Deakin's book about wild swimming - Waterlog.

KeithLeMonde Fri 11-May-18 16:41:34

Sorry to hear that you are having a tough time, Purple.

There's a thread on here for uplifting books which might help. In difficult times, I tend to turn to old-fashioned books like PG Wodehouse or Molesworth - they're not meaningful in any way but they distract and entertain without challenging.

I've read some really lovely books recently about the power of nature (The Outrun comes to mind immediately) but they also talk about the author's pain and I don't know whether that would be what you need right now.

PurpleNailVarnish Fri 11-May-18 20:12:00

Thank you again.

I'm not sure whether I can cope with pain at the moment, the operation needed by the child family member is a life threatening one. If she doesn't have the op she probably won't survive until adulthood.
We are all reeling, devastated.

On the one hand I need a distraction without misery.

At the same time and frankly, a much lesser consideration is that I'm losing my job so I have to send out applications, pull up my big girl pants and drag up some hard-headed resilience from somewhere. I had to go into work today and pretend everything was fine. This, even though I just want to curl up in a corner and sob my heart out.

So on the other hand I need something cheery and motivational.

Yesterday was a really shit day.

OP’s posts: |
KeithLeMonde Fri 11-May-18 21:20:14

Oh Purple, you poor love. If it was me I think I would go for comfort reading all the way. Maybe look at some websites for the inspirational side?

Hope all goes well with your young relative's op. It must be a horrible time for you all.

aaahhhBump Fri 11-May-18 21:26:10

Tom Holt's portable door series. A bit of comical everyday fantasy escape.

DancelikeEmmaGoldman Fri 11-May-18 21:29:01

That's a double dose of devastation. I hope things go well with your young relative. Having been through the process of losing a beloved job, I understand, but there truly is opportunity in the other side.

Oddly enough, in times of trouble, I have turned to Christpher Fry's, "The Lady's Not for Burning". It is a play, and depending on your taste, you might find it twee, but I have loved it for decades. It is a very sturdy defence of why you should choose life. It is funny, but at the heart, quite serious.

Dottierichardson Sat 12-May-18 13:31:49

I'm so sorry you're dealing with so much. I would second P G Wodehouse, I like the Mulliner books, when things are difficult it can be hard to concentrate but these are short comic stories so easy to deal with. I tend to escape into vintage fiction such as 'Diary of a Provincial Housewife'. Persephone publishes the Miss Buncle series uplifting, gentle comedy about a downtrodden woman who emerges victorious. Also you might try E.F. Benson's Mapp and Lucia books; 'Cold Comfort Farm' or 'I Capture the Castle'. If you're more into fantasy a lot of people seem to enjoy Terry Pratchett. Books like 'H is for Hawk' and 'Nature Cure' are sound non-fiction accounts of getting through difficult times and emerging whole.


PurpleNailVarnish Sat 12-May-18 13:58:43

Thank you everyone.
These are great ideas, I'll take a look at all of them.

I'd briefly seen the uplifting book thread Keith but if it's the same thread I've seen one of the books recommended is The Secret.
I'll admit I haven't read The Secret but I understand that one of it's points is that people who are ill or have other misfortunes have done something wrong to deserve them.
The child in my family has done nothing wrong she's so young! and I can imagine myself becoming furious at reading the implication is she needs dangerous life saving surgery because she has 'sinned'.

In truth, I didn't mean to have such an emotional outpouring here, I should have saved it for the relationships board or similar.

I loved Cold Comfort Farm and I Capture The Castle Dottie I've been meaning to read some Terry Pratchett so maybe now is the time to dive in.

Thank you for your good wishes everyone flowers

OP’s posts: |
lastqueenofscotland Sun 13-May-18 14:39:19

Middlemarch is one of my all time favourites I read it every year and it’s like a hug.

Welcome to Lagos is funny and readable

allthatmalarkey Sun 13-May-18 14:55:14

Middle March is one of my all time favourites too, but a bit long, frustrating and depressing so IMHO I wouldn't recommend it for now. Nancy Mitford's Love in a Cold Climate (which is not a love story) is just right when you need something lighthearted, a bit like Evelyn Waugh but without things going catastrophically wrong. I also loved The Rosie Project at a difficult time. Very funny. And any of Jane Austen, although Mansfield Park is probably strictly for fans. The Tales of the City series is completely page turning comfort and a lifelong love. I've only read one Marian Keyes (The Other Side of the Story) and I've promised myself I'll read one of hers next time I need a comfort read.

MummyCuddlesSolveEverything Sun 13-May-18 14:59:37

Sorry you're going through such a bad time I always find rereading old favourites Harry potter, his dark materials, tales from the otori.

Komorebi Sun 13-May-18 15:09:51

Not a book, but for distraction I can highly recommend searching "TED talks" and "TEDx talks" on YouTube. Some of them are very interesting, self-help or random factual. A broad choice of topics to help you take your mind off things for a while, it works well for me smile

Growingboys Sun 13-May-18 15:17:50

I second the diary of a provincial housewife - such a good book.

Good luck OP. I'm so sorry to hear what you're going through. Life can be so shit sometimes. xxx

forthelifeofpomme Sun 13-May-18 15:24:43

You probably have lots to get through by now, but please let me recommend: "The readers of Broken Wheel Recommend" by Katarina Bivald. I've just finished it and it had a lovely nod for those of us who read a lot and can see a formulaic story arc a mile off!

Noeuf Sun 13-May-18 15:55:35

I read A Brief History if the Dead and loved it. It gives both transience and permanence about life and death at the same time. Loved it.

PurpleNailVarnish Sun 13-May-18 20:47:08

Again, thank you everyone.

I've read Middlemarch, all of Austen and Love In A Cold Climate.
Additionally, I've read both Rosie Projects and The Best Of Adam Sharp, also by Graeme Simsion. I preferred the Rosie books and they would be ideal at the moment if I hadn't already read them so I know how they will end!

I'll take a look at Diary of a Provincial Housewife and The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend.

I liked Americanah so I might give Welcome To Lagos a go.

I've never tried Marian Keyes, maybe now is the time to give them a go.

OP’s posts: |
Backingvocals Mon 14-May-18 22:03:10

I love Diary of a Provincial Lady. It’s a comfort read - like Diary of a Nobody.

I also love a Marian Keyes - Brightest Star in the Sky is a good one.

Finally what about a saga? I really really enjoyed the Signature of all Things - story of Alma - a brave and unusual woman. I found it uplifting.

Polkadot1974 Mon 14-May-18 22:18:51

If you want an easy uplifting read that’s a bit quirky how about “cycling to the ashes “
I know nothing about cricket but loved this tale of a chap who cycled to Oz

Helloflamingogo Mon 14-May-18 22:20:15

Joan didion - the year of magical thinking.

It’s hard to read st times but she writes beautifully.

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