5 February 2015

Reading Possibilities

For regular readers of my blog (that is, if you exist… I hope so!) my love for literature definitely weaves its way into much of my content. Whether it be motivation Frost and Rowling quotes, book-themed decor and apparel, or even my own writing… I am a book geek and proud. 

My degree, along with my position as Online Books Editor for Exeposé, has seen the humble written word take an even more central role in my life, yet it isn't something I talk about so explicitly on this blog. I think part of this is due to my vested interest with the Paper - I spend my days editing (and writing) for the Books section, so quite like to explore other things on here! 

Nonetheless, my tenure in this role is almost at an end, so I thought I would begin my foray into book content here - no time like the present. Without further adieu, here is my current list of comfort reads (click on the headings for links). These Books I have discovered in recent months/years that have really helped me, for different reasons, in having a more positive outlook with diabetes… 

Opening with a poet is a risky strategy, and could instantly lose about half my readers. However, I am a poetry girl at heart, and Robert Frost leads my bookshelf brigade of bright lights. Whenever I am feeling agitated, stressed or overwhelmed, his poetry is like a cup of warm milk or knitted blanket - the ultimate comfort. 

The lilting structure of his work; the at once unembellished and yet beautifully crafted lines themselves… it quite simply works. On so many levels, it is the ultimate catharsis and affords such a wonderful escape from the hustle and bustle of life. If you haven't read Frost, put it on your reader's bucket list!

I discovered Katherine's writing when I was doing research for my Creative Writing journal last term - my poetry project was based on chronic illness, so her accounts of diabetes struck a chord with me. Nonetheless, topic aside Katherine is truly a brilliant poet, and I am so happy to have These Brief Moments on my bookshelfShe is the author To Love a Diabetic, which has been widely circulated online and is a must-read for anyone touched by diabetes - this could be a family member, friend, or the person themselves.

There is quite a bit of diabetes poetry out there, if you search hard enough! A particularly brilliant collection is No-Sugar Added, a series of 39 poems released through Diabetes Hands Foundation. There is no linguistic mastery that can rival the power of experience - these poems are real, moving and provocative, but also stand strong in terms of the writing itself. 

Love Letters to The Dead - Ava Dellaira

One of my favourite reads last summer - I had high expectations after the Stephen Chbosky endorsement on that back cover, and I wasn't disappointed. The story follows Laurel as she tries to come to terms with the death of her sister May - discovering how to live when everything seems to have fallen apart. 

Without wanting to be heavy-handed on the  cheese it was, like Perks, one of those life-affirming books for me - when I closed that final page. I learnt things when I read this; or, rather, I was reminded of them. For example, the realisation that we are not "transparent" - we have to open up to people if we want them to know what we are thinking and feeling. Additionally, that we have to take charge of our own life, not wait for something to magically come along and change it for us. 

photo credit: pinterest.com
Yes, at times it can seem quite "quote-heavy" - one of those books that a few of my cyclical peers would describe as "made for Tumblr/Pinterest"... I'm not such a literary snob. You can run the risk of condemning something on principle, but in my eyes this can often be at a grave cost. In instances such as this, it takes the form of reading gold. At the end of the day, I have put down many 'classics', without taking away a single line of significant meaning. If you like Salinger, Plath and Chbosky, with a dash of John Green for good measure, read this book!

So I do talk about this book. A lot. People are probably desperate for me to shut up now, but allow me this final appraisal… I love it. Quite simply, I read it and fell in love with a character, a story, a myriad of quotable lines - affirmations that have stayed with me three years on and no doubt will continue to do so. The quote below is just one that I think will resonate with anyone who feels their personal struggles invalid - I know I have, all too often.

When I have struggled more with both diabetes and the eating disorder, I have often reprimanded myself for being 'weak'. I do believe that having a positive outlook is essential; you cannot stay buried in a pity party pit forever - that will get you nowhere! But it is okay to be upset, angry, drained, exasperated - whatever emotion you want to feel. Allow yourself to feel.

Charlie is one of the most captivating narrators I have ever come across. There is a quite paradoxical, yet striking, mixture of innocence and understanding in his narrative; the 'wallflower', he sees things as they are, and some lines hit you like an avalanche in the truths they possess. I will never stop singing the praises of this book, nor ever stop waiting on tenterhooks for Chbosky to write another novel!

You can find further bookshelf staples in my Reading Possibility Amazon booklist, which can also be found in my sidebar!

What are some of your comfort reads? 

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