Like so many other DBMs out there, the book that really pulled me through the fire was Elizabeth McCracken's An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination. I remember tearing this book out of the paper wrapper from the mail, sitting on the kitchen floor, and reading nearly all of it in about two hours. I couldn't get enough.
It was only weeks after Calla died, and I felt like this woman, this stranger, was writing my exact life. (Well, except we weren't living in France. And we're not writers. And lots of other little things.) Anyway, this book was like a life raft, thrown out to drowning me. I'm not trying to be overly dramatic here, but I felt like reading this book helped save my life. At least, my emotional well-being. After I finished it I immediately read it again. I wish I could show Ms. McCracken my gratitude for so eloquently, perfectly, painfully committing to writing my exact emotions.
I really have always been a bookworm. From my childhood straight through adulthood I have found solace in books. These days I usually have 2 going at once, sometimes 3. What I read varies, but I've started to enjoy non-ficton more in the past few years. I tend to read everything by one author in a row--right now I'm on a Richard Russo kick. For awhile post-college it was John Irving. In high school my go-to author was Tom Robbins. Jitterbug Perfume is one of my all-time favorite books. I spent a few years catching up on literature I either skipped over or just plain didn't read in high school or college: lots of Dumas, Hugo, Dostoyevsky, Balzac. I've always loved deeply Toni Morrison and James Baldwin.
I am not someone who HAS to finish a book I start. I've been known to throw a book across a room and turn my back on it forever (hello, Life Touches Life!). Bill Bryson is one of the few authors who has made me laugh so hard, out loud, to the point of convulsive tears, that C has woken from a dead sleep wondering what the hell I was doing. Some books make me wish I could go back in time and read them for the first time all over again--Les Miserables and The Book Thief come to mind immediately.
Clearly, I could go on and on and on. There's a lifetime of books both behind and ahead of me. How delicious is that thought?
Sometimes it's just easier to escape into a book than it is to deal with real life.