Books for tough times

There are times when even the stiffest of upper lips wobble, and the most ardent reader’s literary work ethic turns to mush. This poor unfortunate soul cannot conceive of picking up the grim psychological thriller, the worthy biography,the best-selling history,  or even the latest gore-soaked serial killer novel.  Dark days call for cheerful measures, and I have a few suggestions for the beleaguered among us. First of all, do not suppose that you can take your mind off your troubles by consuming greasy book trash. It will not work, and will only leave you with the queasy shame usually associated with eating too much candy corn. Take it from old Auntie Booklush, the following books are just the thing for reality-based malaise:

  • Lonesome Dove or Sin Killer by Larry McMurtry-McMurtry has a way with a western, I’ll say. Gritty and realistic, with scummy eccentrics galore, but also a lightly absurdist touch.
  • What I like to call “sassy Southern lady fiction,” written by experts like Mary Kay Andrews and Elin Hilderbrand-Not for everyone, I suppose, but these are comfortable, well-written stories of spunky, usually ill-used, Southern ladies who triumph over cheating husbands, ungrateful children, and bitchy sisters.
  • The Flavia de Luce mysteries by Alan Bradley- An eleven-year-old poison expert living in a crumbling English mansion with her malicious sisters and out-of-touch father plots revenge on her sisters and solves murders, too. Sounds silly but is very amusing and fun.
  • David Sedaris is pretty funny fella.  Me Talk Pretty One Day is a good one to start with.

What do you read when life is not a bowl of cherries?

Posted in General, Reviews and Recommendations.


  1. When “life is not a bowl of cherries” I like to read books that are short, simple, and very stimulating to the eyes as well as the brain. I’m talking about comic books/graphic novels. Of course, not all graphic novels are light reading but plenty of them offer up an easy, highly pleasurable escape from a harsh reality.

  2. When I need a pick-me-up and a recalibration I read one of the many books by Deepak Chopra. I’m reminded of what it all means and what is really important.

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