Literary Cures for Whatever Ails You



Always books. Never boring.

This is a guest post by Becky Cole. Becky enjoys expertly-wielded punctuation, words with oddly precise meanings, and fine dark chocolate. A native Washingtonian; Becky lives in DC intentionally and loves it there. She pays rent by writing regulations and suchlike for Uncle Sam. Becky will give almost any book a try but can’t promise to get along with all of them. You can find more of Becky at her blog, Diamonds in the Library, where she writes about both jewelry and books. Follow her on Twitter @DiamondsintheLi.

Are you suffering from a bee in your bonnet? A break in your heart?  A twist in your knickers or too much precipitation on your parade? Step right up, step right up! Dr. Becky* has what you need to put the silver linings back on your clouds.

You look a little stressed out, my friend. May I offer you Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist? Mystical, mysterious, and beautiful, this novel never fails to soothe the harried heart.

Some people are plagued by the opposite affliction. Are you feeling overly calm? Need encouragement to fasten your seatbelt, take your vitamins, and avoid crowds? Read Daniel Smith’s Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety. This book about the author’s lifelong discovery of his own sometime- crippling anxiety and quest to live with it will bring all your deep-seated neuroses into focus as you identify with Smith’s vivid descriptions of thought swarms and panic attacks.

Need to gird your loins against illicit lust for close blood relatives? Yes, it’s an embarrassing problem, folks, but let’s be open minded. There’s no need to despair! You just need to spend some time with Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex. Trust me, this is as good a lesson in “actions have consequences” as you could need.

Here’s another common problem: social anxiety. Do you have plans with a group of folks much edgier than you are, and you need some shocking anecdotes to tell to prove you’re not as innocent as you look? Here’s Chuck Palahniuk’s Snuff. You’ll shock their socks off, guaranteed. (This one’s not for children, folks.)

Are you stressed out about healthcare reform? Feast your eyes upon The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Things could always get worse, am I right?

Speaking of bad situations, do I have anyone here perishing of love for a spouse’s best friend? For someone who knows how you feel and a little hint of how things might play out, try Queen of Camelot by Nancy McKenzie.

Afflictions of the heart can be the hardest to cure, but there are treatments to try! Ella Enchanted, if you have to do something difficult to save your true love and you need inspiration. Tipping the Velvet, if your lover betrayed you and you need to know which life choices to avoid.  A Reliable Wife, if you think your mail-order spouse is poisoning you and you’re not sure how to proceed.

Myself, I tend towards a touch of insomnia. Do you experience the same affliction? I have a surefire cure. You need the first three Harry Potter books. Not just any version; the audio books narrated by Jim Dale. Better than counting sheep! But beware if you go on to book four; the side effect of nightmares becomes increasingly likely from then on.

Happy reading! Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you feel better soon.