Comfort Books

Maybe you suffer from anxiety like me. And perhaps it gets worse at night, when it’s time to sleep, like me. Or maybe sometimes you wake up feeling panicked with your heart racing, and can not fall back asleep, as I often do.

Or maybe you are MaryKate Olsen and you can’t sleep at night because your bones are crying and missing their muscle.

Regardless, I have been trying to get over my sleepless nights by reading. And pills. But more importantly and educationally – READING!

The first time I did this I picked up some book my mom had lying around – “We Are The Dunleaveys” ( I think?) – which is written by some famous lady whose name any decent lit-head would know. I am not one of them. The book details a tight knit family that goes apeshit when their perfect daughter is raped after a school dance, and because they can’t handle their own insecurities with the situation, they send her away and she becomes some sort of anorexic cult member. This fucker made my heart race so much that all hopes of obtaining some sort of calming effect from the written page was shot. I chucked the thing on my floor never to look back again, but still I spent night after night dreaming about being sent away by my family to some bizarro college cult. I do not know what happens in the end, but my guess the daughter ends up looking like our friend MKO, above, just in shittier shoes.

I am now much more sensible about my comfort books. They are grilled cheese sandwiches and french fries for my brain. I know these books – they sooth me, they make me feel warm and fuzzy and most importantly, tired. In Massachusetts, at my parents house, I use “Miss America” and “Private Parts” by Howard Stern. “Quivers A Life”, by his cohort Robin, is on deck. “Me Talk Pretty One Day” is by my bed in New York City, and I keep an additional copy in Boston just in case. It is also my audio-book of choice for the bus/train/gym. I am a baby in the arms of these books – they help me relax and eventually fall asleep – all the while increasing my literary pedigree.

I’m sure that lady that wrote the smart book about the crazy family with a raped daughter would be proud.

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7 Responses to “Comfort Books”


  1. 1 Katie December 28, 2006 at 9:52 am

    We Are the Mulvaneys! Joyce Carol Oates wrote it. I loved it, but I totally agree–read it on a beach vacation and was so anxious, I couldn’t lie still and get a proper tan. What a disaster. Love your blog, though, Kate! And I also love Steve Martin’s Shopgirl as an audiobook. Surprisingly calming (and sometimes sleep inducing).

  2. 2 SPO December 28, 2006 at 3:06 pm

    We were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oats
    She is a favorite of mine.

  3. 3 E December 28, 2006 at 4:19 pm

    I think you are a talking about We were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates. And no I am not a lit head, just happened to see the lifetime movie about it late one night when I couldn’t sleep. Isn’t that ironic?

  4. 5 katespencer December 29, 2006 at 12:44 am

    Woah you guys are smart. I only read VC Andrews!

  5. 6 natasha December 29, 2006 at 2:14 pm

    We Were the Mulvaneys*

    *I didn’t actually know that, but since everyone kept saying it I wanted to seem smart.**

    **I shouldn’t have written that last part.

  6. 7 Jordan December 30, 2006 at 6:55 pm

    hey, judging by all the other comments, i think what you mean is “We Were the Mulvaneys” by Joyce Carol Oats… in case you didn’t know.


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