Mood Reading by Joy Zemrock

Let’s say you are dealing with a high pressure situation. What you need is a bit of an escape; something to take your mind off the stress.  This probably isn’t the time to read the latest political novel, or a biography of any of the presidential candidates.  Instead, why don’t you try one of Carl Hiaasen’s novels?  He uses his skill as an investigative reporter to chronicle life in South Florida in a way that is sure to amuse. 

Sample the hilarious chaos that is Jennifer Crusie’s forte. She creates some truly memorable characters and locales for her novels. I would especially recommended Agnes and the Hitman.


You may want something a bit more “out there”. Tim Cahill puts the adventure in adventure writing. Many of his titles speak for themselves: Jaguars Ripped My Flesh, Not So Funny When It Happened, Lost in My Own Backyard, A Wolverine Is Eating My Leg, and Pass the Butterworms. He’s not just a travel writer; he’s actually done the travelling. Tim offers a unique perspective on foreign locales and cultures.

The Twilight series, Harry Potter, the plethora of Amish series’ that are available for any interest, you can probably find a series to fit. Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum is a prime example. She covers all the bases; romance, adventure, and mystery with a big blast of pee-your-pants humor! While she’s not for the faint of heart, Stephanie Plum is an earthy, tough, donut eating heroine, and is supported by a cast of secondary characters that will leave you gasping for breath.

Nonfiction is a good choice for recreational reading and can inspire you in so many ways. You can learn home decorating and create the restful space you’ve always dreamed of or select a country and learn to cook a national dish. Plan and research your dream vacation to an exotic locale.  It’s all so easy. Did I mention it’s free? Recent studies have declared that knitting and crocheting can lower blood pressureCrafting and sewing offer the pleasure of the process and the reward of a finished project. You can find books about all of these endeavors. Step by step instructions, ideas and patterns are just waiting for you to begin.

Explore the classics. We all know the titles, but how many of us really appreciated these books when we were younger? There are countless lists of classic book recommendations. Pick one, start at the top and work your way down. There’s a reason these books are called classics.

Not in the mood for a book? There are magazines aplenty to peruse. Pick a handful of periodicals that you’ve never looked at. The beauty of a magazine is its “pick up and put down” character. Articles are usually short enough to read in a brief sitting, and in some instances, the ads are as interesting as the stories. There’s a journal or magazine for just about any topic you can imagine and the library has access to many more than what you can see on our shelves.

Revisit your childhood favorites. Yes, you are allowed to read children’s books. (I have an inordinate fondness for “Bread and Jam for Frances”).  There’s some pretty spectacular artwork providing the illustrations in children’s literature these days. Juvenile writing frequently contains a lot of humor (for all tastes ranging from the irreverent to the surprisingly clever). As I mentioned earlier, the Harry Potter books appeal to all ages. Laura Ingalls Wilder‘s Little House books are a wonderful escape into another time. Do yourself a favor; ask a handy child what they are reading. Patricia Polacco writes for younger readers, but her books have an ageless appeal. I had the opportunity to meet her years ago. She’s a tiny woman, beautiful and gracious. I watched her sign books for nearly every person that attended her author visit. She wrote a personal message to each one, and by the end, I just wanted to climb in her lap and have her tell me a story!  She’s a remarkable author and artist, and I guarantee she will take you places you can’t imagine.

There’s also a lot of sophisticated work being written for the Young Adult audience as well. Some of it is even being written by prominent “Adult” authors:  James Patterson, the previously mentioned Carl Hiaasen, and Ursula K. LeGuin, to touch on a few. The Hunger Games and the Twilight series have crossed the age boundaries and appeal to all readers.

Poetry. Yes, you can read poetry and enjoy it!  It’s not all “There was an old lady from Nantucket” or full of “thee’s”, “thou’s” and iambic pentameter. There are poems for all of us. Think of a poem as a picture painted in words. Sample unknown poets; eventually, you’ll find one that speaks to your soul.  Read anything by Ohio poet Mary Oliver; she’s a luminous, remarkable poet.

Ask your friends what they like to read, and why do they like it. Pick a book based on its cover. Read a racy romance novel.  Come to the library and tell us what you like, and we’ll find you a book. And never, EVER apologize for what you fancy. Then, when you find yourself smiling even though your project deadline is two days away, you will have discovered the mood altering power of reading.