Books for Healing
In these sections, my choices are personal. Taste is an arbitrary thing, but I think I’ve got decent judgement. So I’m going to list a bunch of good reads that can help you escape, laugh, learn, or feel.
The categories outlined are a bit blended. Some works are marvelous for escaping, but they make you feel and think as well.
The Saving Graces by Patricia Gaffney. Lives and trials of a group of women friends, who call themselves the Saving Graces. Gaffney’s depiction of the main characters, complete with their human failings is among the more honest that I’ve read. Well done.
Mostly anything by Dean Koontz. But I’m a big fan of the Odd Thomas series, the stories are so intriguing, and the main character, Odd Thomas (yeah, really his name) is so offbeat and cool, you can’t help but want to know more at the end of each book. Heck, at the end of each chapter! But there’s something special about this horror writer. While he brilliantly writes about the evil, macabre, deranged, or straight-out scary stuff, Koontz has a wonderful sort of eloquence and spiritual nature that whirls though some of his manuscripts. This comes up in the OT series, but I specifically remember some neat stuff like that in The Corner of His Eye.
Well, heck, now I feel like I should add in Stephen King here – but not because he’s famous at writing scary shit – because he’s so very good at it. Do we want to immerse ourselves willingly into the horror genre when we might be living some real horror? Hey, it is all a personal thing. But for real – he is good. When you’re ready.
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. Now my pal Koontz I mentioned above often has a dog or two that are either a main part of a plot, or a great sidekick to the protagonist. In Racing, the protagonist IS a dog. My God, the book is fantastic. It has humor, and it also “gets you in the feels.” This tale of a race car driver, his family, and their dog is about perseverance and understanding.
Jeneration X by Jen Lancaster. A humorous look at a Jen Lancaster’s slow acceptance of what it means to be an adult. Lancaster is endlessly funny, but she also provides some insightful nuggets about maturation, no matter whether you’re turning 18 or 68.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling. You might recognize this author’s name. Emmy nominated writer (and actor) for The Office, Kaling also created and stars in The Mindy Project. Her book is a mix of memoir and her take on different things, like how to exit a party the right way. What I especially loved was Kaling’s telling of how she made it from weekend comedy geek to writer and actor in a famous network TV show.
On Writing. By Stephen King. Another great memoir and advice on improving the craft of writing. King doesn’t flinch discussing either his distaste for certain writing contrivances, or his addiction demons. Good stuff. I mean it!
The Buddha Walks into a Bar…: A Guide to Life for a New Generation by Lodro Rinzler. A great introduction to the philosophy behind Buddhism, with a 21st century sensibility. From the publisher, it’s for those “who are striving to deepen their social interactions beyond the digital realms of Twitter and Facebook.”
I am rather peeved that I currently cannot find my copy, but deep breaths. I will find it when I’m meant to find it. Alright, I know that last sentence sounded very new-agey, and darn it, sometimes we’re just going to get pissy about things, and can’t always take a deep breath. But the more you try to chill and change your perception on things, the easier life becomes.
The Books of the Holy Bible by various authors. At the very least, these works provide an interesting and unique historical perspective to ancient civilizations. At the most, you will gain a deeper understanding on how to move through life with God’s grace, especially the four Gospels.
An Empty Journal. By YOU! Yes, you can be the best writer you need to read right now. Journaling is simply recording life’s events and how they make you feel. Doing this helps you release tension, helps you process your emotions, and provides a record of emotional, spiritual, (and maybe grammatical) growth.