Every once and a while, when I’m really aggravated, I want to jump into a book and lose myself for one reason or another.
Like, fine world! If you’re going to suck, I’m just going to find another place I like better. So there!
Actually, in all reality, I have a terrible temper. I’ve traditionally been pretty good at controlling it as I’ve gotten older, but sometimes I feel like Clariel fighting against her Berserk and it’s all I can do to remove myself from a situation and calm myself. It’s not something I’m proud of, but it’s something I acknowledge and am constantly working on to make myself better.
If you’re like me, perhaps sometimes you need a good book to climb into as well. May I make a few suggestions?
by J.D. Salinger
For when you want to say “Screw the world and everyone in it.”
If you’re that type of miserable angry that really wants some company, you can hardly do better than the bitter Holden Caulfield. For those of you who avoided reading this one in school, Holden is a 16 year old in NYC who decides he’s done with all the bullshit in the world for a bit and goes underground to clear his head and reflect upon life.
Mostly, this is a teen angst novel, but somehow Holden’s pain always appealed to me when I was angry. It’s a classic, though in modernity not particularly well-loved. Still, if you’re angry – Holden is angry too. The two of you can definitely be angry together.
by Allie Brosh
For when you need to break out of the angry and laugh against your will.
When I was a kid, my parents used to watch me throw my temper tantrums with calculated patience, then promptly deal with them as appropriate. If I was particularly badly behaved, there were harsh words and punishments. But sometimes I was being foolish, and they knew I was being foolish, and the whole thing just needed to be sorted.
That was where The Three Stooges came in. I was raised watching these knuckleheads (Curly is my favorite) and it’s really hard to sit on a couch and watch their hijinks and not laugh. Even when you don’t want to. If you want a book that will make you laugh to tears in the worst of times… Allie Brosh has your back.
by Lemony Snickett
For when you need to put on big girl panties and realize your life isn’t that bad.
Sometimes, we know we need to be brought down to earth and smacked across the face with the reality of things. We don’t like it, but it’s essential. There are loads of books I could point out where the protagonist’s life is invariably worst than yours, mine, and ours… but I chose The Bad Beginning and this series in general for a reason: The Baudelaires have fallen into terrible circumstances, but unlike many other protagonists, they try to fix it.
Many hard luck protagonists are stuck in their situations, others are destroyed by it. These three kids make friends wherever they go, are never as hoighty-toighty as their previous fortunes would have allowed them to be, and they need ever give up. These may be children books, but these are also great reminders for us adults.