When in Need, What to Read: Introducing our new advice column for book lovers.
Every so often, life has a funny way of putting the right book into our hands at the right time. You’ll read a passage, and you’ll feel like it was written for you, specifically. You’ll look around the subway car or the park lawn or the grocery line or wherever you are in disbelief, and you’ll wonder how it is possible that someone you’ve never met has pinned your pain so precisely to the page. It’s disconcerting, then it’s comforting. Other people (or at least their characters) have sat where you’re sitting. It makes you feel less alone.
Yes, life has a funny way of doing that sometimes. For all the other times, you can now write in to me.
That’s right, Lit Hub is launching an advice column, of sorts. Here’s how it’ll work:
You’ll have a problem—big or small. Maybe you’re heartbroken or grieving or anxious about the planet. Maybe you’re having family trouble. Maybe you hate your job and would “prefer not to” do anything. Maybe you woke up this morning as some sort of vermin. I don’t know. It runs the gamut.
You tell me what’s eating you in an email to email@example.com, and I’ll tell you what you should read next. Obviously, this is no substitute for actual therapy if that is what you seek. That said, we have always believed that books can be a balm for the rough patches. (I read Jeanette Winterson’s Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? during a bad spell, and I have repeated the words, “If the sun is shining, stand in it—yes, yes, yes,” to myself in bleak times ever since.) The recommendations will vary, but I’m hopeful that no matter what’s going on, in this column, you’ll encounter a few words of sage wisdom to float on, another world to disappear into for a little while, or (at the very least) some sympathetic company.
Let’s get some FAQs out of the way:
When will the column appear on Lit Hub? Every Thursday, on the blog.
How will you know what kinds of books I like? Feel free to drop that in the email as well.
Will any of my identifying information be published? Of course not.
Will you respond to every letter you get? Of course not. (Sorry.)
How will I know if my letter has been chosen? I guess you’ll just have to read along.