“Go To” Books

“When I am attacked by gloomy thought, nothing helps me so much as running to my books. They banish the clouds from my mind.” Michel de Montaigne

So true.

I cycle a few favourite “go to” books that will always lift my spirit and take my mind off the muckage life throws. Here are the ones I’ve been migrating towards lately:

1. Jane Eyre. No matter how horrible life gets, Jane’s is always worse. I mean how many of us have the psychotic ex-wife of the man we love hold up in the attic? And Jane never considers herself a victim. An intelligent, well spoken “plain” protagonist who gets swept away by a brooding, tortured gentleman who, let’s face it, seduces her shamelessly.

2. Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. Far better than the movie (and that’s saying lots because I get all puddley for Jude Law). Some of the most intriguing characters I’ve ever met. I especially like the blind goat lady. AND the last fifty pages are the most romantic ever written without the gag factor.

3. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery I read it the first time and was mildly entertained. The second time I cried like a baby. Renee and Paloma are two characters whose voices are so distinct they stick with me long after I’ve read the book.

4. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. How I only found out about this book five years ago I’ll never know. I must have been living under a rock, or at least waaaaaaaaay up in the snowy Canadian north to not even realize this book existed until a lady in my book club recommended it. Charming. Heartbreaking without being hopeless.

5. Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier. I found this book in my mother’s collection years ago when I was about eleven. Mystery, Romance, and a strong female protagonist. Easy to sink into when the thoughts of the day won’t settle. And Jem rivals Mr. Rochester when it comes to handsome scoundrels.

What are your “go to” books? The ones who attack those gloomy thoughts, as posed by Montaigne, with the vigorousness of a Rottweiler with a new toy? Please share!

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