Consolations of Reading, Part II

A friend read the earlier post about therapeutic reading and wrote to me that The Divine Comedy had helped him through a very difficult time (he thinks it was either Mark Musa's translation or John Ciardi's).*  He has also found comfort in Gerard Manley Hopkins' "Terrible Sonnets" (an example here) and the poetry of George Herbert. He added that in a crisis he often turns to books he knows will make him laugh, such as the works of David Sedaris (he specifically mentioned Me Talk Pretty One Day) and Nick Hornby (and like yours truly, he's partial to A Long Way Down). Another friend told me that when he's depressed he reads books about other people with problems, but problems very different from his. His suggestions for bibliotherapy include Endless Love, Sophie's Choice, and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. He added that when he's down he also enjoys nonfiction books about journeys: Peter Matthiessen's The Snow Leopard, John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley, and Tom Wolfe's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. He said,  "A book about a journey is especially soothing to a depressed person.  It takes you to a different place geographically, it taps into our human need for and enjoyment of one of the oldest archetypal narratives--the quest/journey--and its story of movement and progress toward a desired destination is, I think, quite medicinal for a depressed person."
I agree.
    *When searching for The Divine Comedy in our catalog, you will have more options if you search for the individual volumes (e.g., Inferno, Paradiso.)  

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