Now that the holidays are over and we are into “The dead of winter” I thought now might be a good time to list a few of my go-to books for these dark, dreary months, when my depression tends to be at its worst. I’ve broken these into segments, so that you can compile your own list of books (or movies, or tv shows, or whatever your preferred media is) for when you are feeling blue. This list also includes a lot of manga, because I find that when my mental health is really low, I just don’t have the energy for a full novel. Comic books/graphic novels/manga/manhwa are just easier for me to digest during those periods.
The Comfort Read
Comfort reads are books I have gone to over and over through the years. They balance scenes that make me cry (catharsis) with ones that make me feel comfortable, warm, and happy, with hope for the future. Honestly, A Little Princess got me through middle school. I don’t know how many times I’ve read it, or Prisoner of Azkaban.
On my shelf: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Fangirl, A Little Princess, Little Women.
The “Forget Your Worries” Read
This category is a combination of pure, unadulterated escapism and laugh-out-loud funny books that never seem to lose their charm. Out of all of them, Hyperbole and a Half has to be my top recommendation. It combines real talk about depression and mental health with laugh-until-you-wet-yourself humor. No joke, I laughed so hard the first time I read it that I nearly threw up.
On my shelf: Hyperbole and a Half, Princess Princess, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, Azumanga Daioh, Shadowmagic, Soulless.
I’ve mentioned before that sometimes depression can manifest through anger, frustration, or general irritability. And I have a list of books for those, as well. This is the literary equivalent of screaming metal music blaring out of the car stereo.
I’ll admit, books aren’t the first place I turn when I hit this kind of depression. I usually lean more on music or movies at this point because they’re shorter and I can expend some energy while watching/listening–that’s a harder thing to do when reading.
On my shelf: The Cal Leandros series, Urban Shaman, The Female of the Species, Batman/Robin/Nightwing comics.
Sometimes, you just need a good wallow before you can pick yourself up. The following books aren’t necessary sad, but they fit the bill when I’m feeling low. Model (a Korean manhwa) and Jane Eyre in particular have been read many, many times
On my shelf: Ghost Hunt, Model, The Diviners, Harriet the Spy, Jane Eyre.
Sometimes it’s hard for me to read when I’m feeling low, but I always feel better after I do. What are your favorite books that you return to again and again when you’re not at your best?
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