Reading in the Age of Anxiety
Anyone who has been around here for a bit knows that my anxiety has been pretty high since November of 2016. I have tackled this problem in various ways from eating lots of cookies to watching every single episode of Criminal Minds (in every show they present a problem and solve it in 43 minutes- how great is that?!) to turning off all sources of news. Of course, books are my favorite anxiety beater but I have found that only certain types of titles calm my nerves.
My most surprising fails were the slew of political memoirs written by staffers who worked for President Obama or journalists who covered the election. I tried so many of these books only to find they did nothing to relieve my stress. That said, I know tons of people, including Rob and Caroline, who found that these books were just what they needed. A few of my family’s favorites include Thanks Obama by David Lit, Unbelievable by Katy Tur and Who Thought This Was a Good Idea by Alyssa Mastromonaco.
I’ve tried Caroline’s best anxiety beating book strategy- re-reading- to no avail. Ever since Caroline was teeny tiny, she goes back to old favorites for comfort. She has read every book in the Babysitters Club series over and over again. There were years where I pretty sure she read nothing but these titles. Other common re-reads for Caroline include The Running Dream, The Mother Daughter Book Club series, Forward by Abby Wambach and most recently Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton.
Typically when I need a book to break a reading rut or just when I am looking for straight fun, I go to thrillers along the lines of the Alex Cross or Patricia Cornwell series. Lately though, as I worry over the state of our country or how to raise girls in today’s climate, these books aren’t really doing the trick.
You know what is? Phillipa Gregory. Gregory’s books are historical fiction set mostly during the Tudor period. It took me a little bit to realize why these books were soothing. I read a lot of them years ago and just thought of them as fun reads. They still are but you know what else they are? They are a good reminder of an important fact. The world has always been nuts. Power has always corrupted. Crazy things have always happened behind the scenes and when there are big shifts in leadership. And the world has continued to spin.
I do still think we are in an unprecedented time. I do still think we all need to pay attention. I believe we all must vote on November 6th. But at least when I am reading, I can believe for a minute that civilization has been this topsy turvy before and we have come out on the other side.
So… what do you read when you need a reminder that everything is going to be ok?
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