How do we cope when the world around us is seemingly going crazy? How do we grapple with the daily stream of horrific events we are confronted with, one more gruesome than the other: the Newtown school massacre, the gang-rape on a bus in New Delhi, the Boston Marathon bombing, the Bangladeshi factory collapse, the ten-year sexual slavery of three young women in Cleveland . . . the list goes on and on. How do we get up every morning to greet the new day, raise our families, smile, and practice compassion when faced with a never-ending supply of tragedy? It’s enough to make one lose faith in humanity, to sink into despair.
We all have different ways of dealing with stress and grief. One can ignore the onslaught of bad news, or instead pray, meditate, or join action groups to create more awareness about issues like gun-control, violence against women and children, and work-place safety, just to name a few. But more immediately, we can also turn to books. And yes, while it is a rather simplistic coping mechanism, never underestimate the power of a good book. I’ve written before that books are my refuge, especially in those moments when my spirit needs solace. Specifically, I read books with HEAs—happily ever after endings. While I read widely and eclectically, sometimes I just need to read a book where I am guaranteed that in the end love will prevail, and the forces of good will overcome evil. These books are the perfect antidotes to the horrors of every day life.
I’m especially a fan of books with smart badass heroines, like Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, who can take care of themselves and others. Another favorite comfort read is the young-adult Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. The six-book series has what it takes to supply a life-affirming dose of comfort when needed—a strong female lead who can kick ass, forbidden romance, sexy vampires, action, suspense, angst, and best of all, a happy ending. What about you? Do you have comfort reads?