How to Survive the Loss of a Love ~ Melba Colgrove, M.D. Harold Bloomfield and Peter McWilliams
The most comforting book in the universe. It can read your mind and offer you the exact words that can give you respite from grief. Great for any loss, not just the end of an affair.
Committed ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
Elizabeth Gilbert got famous writing about getting divorced. And at the end of Eat, Pray, Love, she meets a fabulous Brazilian man and they literally sail off into the sunset. Committed is a much more complicated book about perspectives on marriage around the world and throughout history, all weighing on Gilbert as she struggles with the decision to marry her Brazilian. No comfortable conclusions, no unanimous opinions. A complicated book about a complicated idea.
Assasination Nation ~ Sarah Vowell
Okay, finally something less serious! Wait, no…this is about the assassinations of US presidents. Sarah Vowell (you’ve probably seen her on the Daily Show) is a history nut and talks about her nation-wide trip to visit the sites of presidential assassinations while dragging her less-than-interested friends along. She drizzles in fascinating stories you’ve never heard and made Booth’s flight through Maryland feel surprisingly personal.
Tao Te Ching ~ Lao Tzu (Translation by Ursula K. LeGuin)
At first blush, Lao Tzu’s timeless masterpiece is just a handful of chapters urging you to embrace contradictions like “be weak to be strong” and “to rise up, go low,” but sit with it for a while. Like, years. This book is like a slow-blooming flower. LeGuin (famous for her Sci-Fi books) offers the best translation I’ve ever seen: casual and conversational, yet gorgeous in it’s simplicity. Plus, her editor’s notes, far from dry, are fascinating and helpful.
The Stupidest Angel: A heartwarming tale of Christmas terror ~ Christopher Moore
This might be the greatest American novel ever written, no joke. Divorce, murder, zombies, the Angel Rafael (he’s stupid), schizophrenic aging B-movie stars, stoner law-enforcement, and a dog’s inner monologue come together seamlessly in a picturesque coastal town. Moore has a very distinct style of goofball humor I enjoy in all of his books. But Angel is the best example of this, highlighting our deepest grief, our most private desires, and our purest actions in such an emotional way. You know, with zombies. I don’t know how he does it. (Also by Christopher Moore: Lamb. That’s a great one, too.)