May 21, 2013

Comforting Books to Read When You're Feeling Down

This bulldog demonstrates what a funk looks like.
Everyone gets lonely or depressed at some point in life.  Maybe you lost your job to the economy.  Maybe you are going through a break-up.  Maybe your health is in decline.  Maybe your kids are driving you crazy and you’re wondering why you have so many, lol.  There’s a whole range of reasons for us to be in a funk.

One thing I like to do when I am feeling lonely or sad is curl up with a comfort read.  Just like turning to comfort foods, such as mac & cheese or your grandma’s banana bread, a comforting or uplifting read can be just the ticket for kicking you out of a funk.

My suggestions: 

1.    CLASSICS:  Sometimes reading the classics are a comfort.  I’m not talking about diving into Moby-Dick or War and Peace when all you want to do is take it easy and relax into a book.  I am talking about the books you read that feel like coming home.  To me, that book is Pride & Prejudice.  Austen’s famous novel about the Bennets and Mr. Darcy never fail to bring me solace when I need it most.  Other satisfying comfort classics to reach for include Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, and Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne

2.    POETRY: Sometimes calm, rhythmic verse is a soothing way to relax from your stresses.  Its cadence can lull you into a meditative state if you allow it.  Some great collections to try include A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein, Notes on Love and Courage by Hugh Prather, and A Night Without Armor by Jewel.

3.    GRAPHIC NOVELS: Pictures with your book? Yes, please.  How comforting to read a good story but also have the children’s book quality of pictures! It’s a win-win.  Try out Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, or Blankets by Craig Thompson.

4.   HUMOR: You're sad and you need some cheering up.  What better way to do that than with humorous essays?  Laugh until your sides hurt.  Gain perspective on a situation.  I suggest The Funny Thing is… by Ellen DeGeneres, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? ByMindy Kaling, and I’ll Mature When I’m Dead by Dave Barry.  Oh and pretty much anything with David Sedaris. 

5.    LITERARY FICTION: Sometimes reading about others’ struggles can give us perspective on our own.  It can be a family struggling with a member who's an addict, it might be a young woman who is having to decide between keeping her baby or abortion, it might be about a young woman who is struggling to be independent in a strict culture.  When we put our own problems in their proper perspective, we realize it for what it is and that is when we can make plans to improve our situation.  Recommendations: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, and A Disobedient Girl by Ru Freeman.

6.    MEMOIRS/BIOS: Perhaps instead of reading about fictional characters overcoming hardships, you would benefit from reading true stories about people just like you dealing with despair to discover happiness and satisfaction.  A few I suggest are Unbroken: AWorld War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand, The Last Lecture byRandy Pausch, and A Child Called It: One Child’s Courage to Survive by Dave J. Pelzer.

Now, grab a cup of tea and curl up in bed or a comfy chair and let a comforting read soothe what stresses you.


  1. Great choices! I'm especially onboard with graphic novels. My Relish review goes up this weekend for Weekend Cooking. :D

  2. Honestly, when I'm in one of those "funks," I find that picking up any book helps me. It allows me to get my mind of that thing for a short period of time. I've also found that writing helps me. If I'm upset, I can write a scene where the characters are upset. I think it creates a more realistic and emotion scene.

  3. Graphic novels and humor are perfect when I'm feeling meh.

  4. Great post, Becca! When I'm feeling down I like to reread my favorite romance novels. But it also helps me to write. That takes my mind off things.

  5. I really like the idea of poetry to perk up you-depending of course on the kind of poetry. Nothing too depressing! I think rereads are also a good idea because you know what's coming and it's not going to take you by surprise.

  6. I love this post! There is nothing like a good book to cheer you up. Some great recommendations here. Also, that dog! How utterly gorgeous.

  7. I definitely turn to comfort reads during certain times. My favorite comfort is Harry Potter because I can get lost in it so easily and quickly! Depending on the books, graphic novels can definitely be good ones to get lost in too!

  8. I thoroughly enjoyed Blankets! And I have to admit to heading to Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins when I am in a funk, it always cheers me up!


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