It is a tad ironic that we are writing about self-care this week, because in the waning days before I become a published author—LESS THAN ONE WEEK AWAY, Y’ALL—I have morphed into a hygiene-free insomniac. I am rocking the French look when it comes to leg shaving, I’ve worn the same ancient pair of cashmere sweatpants for three days, and I wake up every morning at 3:00 am and spend the next three hours flailing around trying to find a comfortable position until my sheets look like they’ve been invaded by a herd of ferrets.
But even in the calmest of times, I’m not much of a beauty devotee. I get my hair done from time to time and I do like a little makeup—I’m Southern—but I hate having my nails done and I regard facials as a form of torture. So forget about beauty stuff. My idea of self-care is curling up with a book, preferably in a hot bathtub. And the best books to curl up with in times of stress are those that make you laugh, or feel warm and fuzzy, or distract you by their sheer entertainment value. No heavy thinking, please. On that note, here are some of my recommendations for highly engaging, fun reads.
A Walk In The Woods: Rediscovering America On The Appalachian Trail (Bill Bryson, 1998, Travel)
Hands down, my favorite author of all time. The man simply cannot write a boring sentence. I’m crazy about all his books, but I’ll pick this one for the list because his tale of hiking the AT with a slovenly friend in tow always reduces me to feeble, helpless snorting. Love!
Reamde (Neal Stephenson, 2011, Thriller)
It has a weird title and is 1000 pages long, but don’t be deterred. The plot hinges around a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (aka MMORPG, in case you are not a computer geek), weaving together an international cast of characters, including “a super-rich CEO, a Chinese hacker, a rogue Russian mafioso, an assimilated East African beauty, an itinerant Hungarian software programmer, two insanely prolific fantasy writers, and guns, guns, guns,” according to Amazon’s review. Once you’re hooked, you cannot stop. Trust me.
Bridget Jones’s Diary (Helen Fielding, 1998, Women’s Fiction)
Gah! Loooove Bridget Jones. She’s so irrepressible, so adorable, so perpetually clueless…although obviously also v. smart. She just makes me happy every time I read her … how many books can do that?
Eloise (Kay Thompson, 1955, Children’s Fiction)
Okay, so Eloise is not a role model. She’s the personification of trouble, employing her vivid imagination to wreak havoc at New York City’s Plaza hotel, where she lives in merry autonomy with her nanny, her dog and her turtle. I absolutely wanted to be Eloise when I was a child. I still kind of do.
Thank You For Smoking (Christopher Buckley, 1994, Satire)
Think you have career obstacles? Nick Naylor is the PR guy for the tobacco industry. It’s a fluffy read, but for some reason, I’m endlessly attracted to Buckley’s caustic skewering of America’s spin doctors. Plus, this book often makes me LOL.
If you have yet pre-ordered The Queen of Hearts, you can do so HERE
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