Books to read when you're depressed

humble recommendations brought to you by Books For Friends

There are certain books
that have been a great comfort to us
when we're depressed.
Here are a few:

The first chapter of My Name is Aram is a haunting yet breezy (is that possible?) thoroughly magic story about Aram's cousin who "borrows" a white horse and shares it with him for night rides.

Good for depression level: Medium light.

We recommend books by Primo Levi, especially Survival in Auschwitz, The Reawakening and Moments of Reprieve. Those three books should be read in that order. They're like three chapters in a long book.

We've read all of the major Holocaust books and they just don't compare with Primo Levi.

Good for depression level: Severe. (We don't have to tell you why.)

We recommend books by J. D. Salinger  like Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters. Raise High is probably our favorite and yet it isn't one of his bestsellers. It's an excellent book to read if/when you're depressed.

Good for depression level: Strong.

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway is one we return to time and again. It is just a plain fun book. Light and uplifting.

Good for depression level: Medium.

That Summer in Paris by Morley Callaghan is another version of Hemingway in Paris which is probably a lot closer to the truth. If you need to know the truth, read this book. Hemingway sure made a seductive myth about himself. We don't fault him for improving on the truth. By  the way, Callaghan wrote an outstanding short story called Luke Baldwin's Vow.

Good for depression level: Medium.

 Iris DeMent. She's a singer.

Good for depression level: mourning somebody's death.

We liked Quentin Bell's bio of Virginia Woolf.

Good for depression level: Medium light.

Do you remember when Norman Cousins said you could laugh yourself to good health? Well, we think he's dead. But no matter. The Marx Brothers is one of the reasons that Woody Allen chooses not to kill himself. We like A Night at The Opera (everybody does) and Cocoanuts, but our favorite is Duck Soup. If you haven't come to terms with the Marx Brothers, you're leading the unexamined life. In case you wanted to know.

Good for depression level: Light.

Was Richard Brautigan a good writer? Well, no, but we liked him. Our favorite is An Abortion.  After he became a well known writer, he became pretty obnoxious. He lost just about every friend he had including Peter Fonda. He shot himself at his place in Bolinas but by that time he didn't have any friends who noticed his absence. The police discovered him because neighbors complained about the smell of his decomposing body.

Good for depression level: Light  (at least you're not decomposing.) home page

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