The Reader Looking for Medicines Thinks back to other hard times


From London, author Alain de Botton, whose & # 39; s School of Life is designed to help people find solutions to their problems, suggests a story for young children, "The Tiger Who Came To Tea, ”by Judith Kerr, about a spider who suddenly appears at the door and wants to be given tea. It's a lesson in how to cope with the unexpected with flexibility and balance.

He also proposes the essay "Death of the moth," which Virginia Woolf sees as a disease of small feathers emerging from her window. "Properly seen, it's amazing, and beautiful," de Botton said in the email. “In writing we can draw attention to the sweetness, generosity, value of our lives.

And I, instead, would recommend one of De Botton's own books, which is surprisingly enjoyable in "The Consolations of Philosophy," both an introduction to six philosophers and the basis for its application. their ideas for our lives. The chapter on Nietzsche's beliefs about the relationship between happiness and painful experience is particularly relevant now. "All life is difficult," de Botton wrote in that chapter. "What is reassuring to some of them is the manner in which they have been treated."

One way to measure life reading is to remember what books have helped along the way. When I was 8 years old and my father died, I spent half the heat on Nancy Drew's mysterious things, reinforced by Ring Dings (the right diet: chocolate cake, work on "cakes", then taste the crème award) . With her hair and her harmless boyfriend and her secret nose, Nancy Drew got me through the first few months.

But it was Madeleine L & # 39; Engle & # 39; s & # 39; Classic In Time & # 39 ;, which I read and re-read to avoid the long hassle of years to come, and I found myself resting. As much as I loved the stubborn, brave nature of Meg and her lion companion, Calvin, and the three alien girls who were born to help them and our young & # 39; planet fight their way into the darkness. And in my heart (though I didn't reach it at the time), the book is the story of a girl who lost her father and then regained it, so it was right for me then.

In 2001, I was still in London when the 9/11 attacks occurred. As much as the coronavirus sees it individually and internationally, 9/11 felt two disasters over one another, one major and then one, because that day I (along with many others) lost it. someone I love.

My condolences to Ian McEwan & # 39; & # 39; redemption & # 39; & # 39 ;, a story in part during World War II about love, sadness and the power of deception to expose the reality of the misery of our lives. I found it deeply moving, and I returned often. I read it again as my mom passed away a few years ago, and I read my favorite book of all, "Charlotte & # 39; s Web", as I cried aloud as I sat by the bed. We both admired Charlotte's idea of ​​living with her children and grandmother.

I am not sure if the right book is today, and I can be skeptical of our ideas of what we need to change in the coming weeks and months. But now, I have lost the books of Nancy Mitford. My favorite is "Looking for Love," set in England (and Spain and France, slightly) years before and during World War II. She is elegant and funny and romantic and is written with the simplest touch, but also brave and wise. It shows us how to be brave, how to deal with everyday life with humor and pleasure and sometimes happiness, even when the world seems to fall apart.