Today’s letter comes from a reader who is looking for inspiration in a different genre:
Dear book dr.,
I recently went through a break up. I’m not looking for another self-help book. I’ve got plenty of those already and I can’t handle anymore [reading] about what I should be doing. What I would benefit from is a really engrossing and inspiring book. Fiction or non-fiction that will get me fired up about possibilities in life. Help me find a new sense of direction maybe? I know this is a ridiculously tall order. ‘Help me find more meaning in life.’ But that’s the perspective I’m looking for.
Do your work.
Fire Me Up
Dear Fire Me Up,
I like a tall order! I hope others will follow suit.
I understand the dilemma. When going through a break-up, which I have done many times, the last thing I want to read is another relationship book that will make me rake myself over the coals yet again so I keep evaluating what went wrong.
So- very much understood on getting away from the technical reading. I think this impulse is a very good sign! Wanting to read something engrossing that turns toward new growth and experience in life tells me that you are well on your way to recovery and new adventures.
Here are a few titles that have distracted and inspired me while in break-up recovery:
The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barbery
I’m not sure if you have read this one yet, but if you haven’t- it’s time. The narrative plays back and forth between the concierge in a Parisian apartment building and a young girl who lives there. People are not what they appear to be, everyone’s a book lover and magic ensues.
I had to include it even though you may have read it, because I think others in this situation would benefit. A must-read.
Vagabonding, Rolf Potts
I read this book in Spain about five years ago during the biggest heartbreak of my life. It’s a simple guide to traveling as much of the time as possible on very little money.
While I am not now living a global bedouin lifestyle, something about reading a very practical outline about how I could do nothing but travel from now on for the rest of my life helped me to have a sense of hope and opened up new ideas and things I wanted out of my life.
Read this, and then let’s hear about the trips you begin to dream about afterward.
Me Before You, Jojo Moyes
Ok, to be fair I haven’t read this one yet. But people have the hair-pulling “OMG that is the best book” reaction I think that you’re looking for in a book right now.
It’s this review, in particular, that made me feel this might be your book:
“When I finished this novel, I didn’t want to review it; I wanted to reread it. Which might seem perverse if you know that for most of the last hundred pages I was dissolved in tears. … “Me Before You” is a love story and a family story, but above all it’s a story of the bravery and sustained effort needed to redirect the path of a life once it’s been pushed off course.”
I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to run home and read this book right this minute. Good thing I already own it…
So. I think these 3 should get you off to a good start. I almost hope you haven’t yet read the Hedgehog so you get to read all 3 of these right now.
Guaranteed to get you moving back in the right direction toward sunshine and languid happy days of summer on the way.
The Book Dr.