Why is it that award-winning, critically acclaimed books are always so damn depressing? It’s good to explore all facets of human experience, I suppose, but just because an author takes on heavy duty subjects doesn’t automatically mean their book belongs in the English canon. For my first witness, I call Jane Austen. Enough said.
The ordinary everyday, the commonplace, the regular relationships between families, neighbours and community all offer rich storylines. Tackling difficult subjects in a lighthearted, understanding manner is an underrated ability. Also, I think we have a need for archetypal stories of ‘coming of age’, ‘love conquers all’, etc. Critics can call it predictable. I call it enjoyable.
Since fibromyalgia, my appetite for potentially depressing reading is gone. Reality is ‘real’ enough. I want escapism. I’ve avoided all books except for funny, lighthearted murder mysteries. Elizabeth Peter’s Amelia Peabody or the Agatha Raisin series are particular favorites. Maybe it sounds like a contradiction but the well-ordered world where the bad guy always gets caught by the hilarious heroine is reassuring.
In an effort to branch out, I found this perfect list of uplifting fiction that will leave you ‘feeling like life is still worth living’. When I saw Pride and Prejudice and the No 1 Ladies’ detective agency on the list I knew it was the real deal. It’s nice to get back into reading and exploring the world from my armchair again. I’m half way through the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and it’s great!