Okay . . . picture this (really) worst-case scenario: It’s cold and raining, your boyfriend/girlfriend has just dumped you, you’ve just been fired, the pile of unpaid bills is sky-high, your beloved pet has recently died, and you think you’re coming down with a cold. All you want to do (other than hiding under the covers) is to curl up with a good book, something warm and comforting that will make you feel better.
What do you read?
Well, it really depends on the catastrophe. If something really bad has happened: death in the family, etc., I find that I can't read anything longer than a magazine article; I just don't have the focus or concentration for it. For lesser catastrophes: a bad cold, bad weather, disappointment, etc., I turn to old favorites of the "Well, at least it isn't as bad as all that!" variety: disaster novels. I often re-read "The Stand" by Stephen King when I have a cold, because it makes my own illness seem slight. I also like "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood, and "WarDay" by Whitley Streiber and James Kunetka, because there's nothing like the end of civilization as we know it to put things in perspective. I also like "Into Thin Air" by Jon Krakauer for when things get tough: at least I'm not trying to climb Mt. Everest.