My DVD player / VCR conked out while I was cooking. It gagged on and then tried to spit out a video of the Apartment. One thread of film got stuck in its teeth while the rest lolled out like a great black tongue. I guess I should snip the thread and try to extricate the carcass, but what’s the point? For now the movie continues to hang there, suspended from the broken mouth of the VCR, and serve as a fabulous metaphor for life these days.

Over and over again, I pick up a book only to discover it’s about death and have to put it down. Finally, in frustration, I decided to reread the first Harry Potter. HEY, GUESS WHAT THAT’S ABOUT?

I can’t win. Authors, weren’t either of your parents ever seriously ill? Didn’t you ever need solace, comfort, humor, diversion? There are only so many Jane Austen books to reread.

Can anyone recommend something cheerful but still intelligent, please? I was hitting myself in my sleep last night; I woke up sore and sad. And this is just the beginning of what looks like a very difficult fall. My friends have been wonderful, as has Mr. Ben. Now I just need some support from art.

12 thoughts on “Cheer!”

  1. Depends on what you mean by consequential (or your tolerance for re-reading chick lit), but I always find Bridget Jones' Diary to be a twinkie for the soul. I'm sure you've read it before, but you should read it again. When I'm really depressed, I also find well-written children's novels (that don't include death) can help. Things that come to mind are books by E. Nesbit, The Four Story Mistake series (forgot the author), All of a Kind Family, Pippi Longstocking, etc. Don't know how well they all hold up though.
    Whatever you do though, avoid Chinese and Eastern European lit like the plague. That will have you slitting your wrists even if you were happy to begin with.

    I hope you feel better soon, and I'm sorry about your father and what you're going through. Remember, no matter what happens in life you will be able to deal with it, even if some times it feels like you will break apart.

  2. Wicked?
    Jane Eyre / Wuthering Heights?
    Any science fiction book (I'd be happy to hand over much of my library when you get down here)? They're my general escapist reading…
    On the childhood reading theme – Ann Rinaldi writes a lot of good teen historical fiction.
    My roommate recommends Lamb.

  3. Oh, such good ideas. History! I hadn't even been thinking about non-fiction. And Britta, "twinkie for the soul" is an incredible turn of phrase. 🙂 I'll have to revisit some non-deathy YA classics.

    Sorelle, thank you so much for polling roommates & posting names I've never heard of. Speaking of which, when you say "Lamb" do you mean Wally Lamb, the author, or something else?

  4. don't we have an old co/mo reading list somewhere? think teen girl heroine. preferably with magic if possible.

    the new dan brown? it's set in dc…i'm not even kidding, those books sell for a reason.

  5. Felicia lent me a book called Lamb… I'm not sure if it's the same one that Sorelle's roommate is talking about. It's by Christopher Moore and it's full title is "Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal." It's a bit silly but also very funny… I think Felicia and Steve have read and enjoyed all the books he's written.

    I looked through my bookcase and they really all are ridiculously depressing. (Add Irish and Native American lit to the avoid at all costs list.) Children's Books (not even quite young adult… I've read some of these to my third graders): Eva Ibbotson's fantasy books for kids are fun. (Secret of Platform 13 is predictable but charming.) E.L. Konigsburg. Or the Phantom Tollbooth is always fun to reread.

    I have copies of tons of kids' books if you want some…

  6. Just so we're clear – 'cause I don't know what the non-fiction comment was referring to – but Kurt Andersen's HEYDAY is a novel, set in 1848. Something to do with an Englishman, traveling across the continent, lots of stuff to do with locomotives and Mormons and gold rushes and all manner of mid-19th century rowdy Americana. It got lots of praise for its verisimilitude… and also its light-on-its-feetness, I believe.

  7. my book club just read this:

    it's nonfiction, so not super-cheery, but based on your penchant for discussions of religion and the political right, i think you will find it interesting. if i see you next weekend i will bring it.

    miss you. how long have you been blogging now? 9 years? and yet i still eagerly anticipate each post.
    love becca

  8. This new autobiography spurred many a chuckle for me: I'm Down by Mishna Wolff. White girl grows up in a black neighborhood of Seattle.

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