Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

Books To Read When You’re Blue

Elizabeth Bastos

Staff Writer

Elizabeth Bastos has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe, and writes at her blog 19th-Century Lady Naturalist. Follow her on Twitter: @elizabethbastos

When you’re blue, what do you read? My mother said she reads John Donne poems. That is so cerebral, I told her. Several people on Twitter said: P.G. Wodehouse and I agree, Jeeves.

I have a basket of Fun Books, since I am by nature a melancholic ruminant. So here they are, for when the seasons change, and I get weltschmertzy at the falling of the leaves and the light levels:

Connie Willis’ To Say Nothing Of The Dog – British humor time travel. The words “bishop’s bird stump” will be stuck in your head, and I mean that as a positive.

Charlotte’s Web – It’s Just. So. Sweet. And. So. Sad. But in a cathartic good way that makes you appreciate your friends, good hearted barn animals though they may be.

Haiku. It’s gets you out of your head – where there’s now a bishop’s bird stump, anyway – and into your solar plexus. There’s a simplicity in present. For instance, this, from Basho, which strikes me at times as quite epic:

“A cool fall night–
getting dinner, we peeled
eggplants, cucumbers.”

The poems of John Donne. Turns out, my mother was right. “No man is an island.” Etc. So get your sad-sack self off the couch and join a quilting bee, or take salsa lessons, or something. C’mon, become part of the main.

The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy – So funny. So absurd.

Best read with a blanket over your knees, and a cup of tea: strong > Middlemarch. George Eliot is such a good caretaker of her characters, and by extension, you.

Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest. ” Yes, Lady Bracknell, I was in a hand bag. A somewhat large… black… leather handbag…” Doesn’t that just sum up the blues?