I have always been emotionally affected by what I'm reading. Perhaps this is because reading is a way of life for me. I hate that 'just finished one book and haven't yet chosen the next one' feeling. If I'm not reading a piece of good fiction, I feel completely bored and really don't know what to do with myself.
Over the past week or so I have been trying to read Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. It was shortlisted for the booker prize (didn't win though) and it's possibly one of the most depressing books I've ever read. So, I've been in a bad mood for the past week: as if I've been forced to watch a bad American movie. The novel follows an American family - particularly focusing on the mother: Patty. She's one of those people who Dante confines to the first circle of Hell: the apathetic. Throughout her life she settles for second best and so the narrative follows her not-very-interesting-or fulfilling life for 600 pages. I made it to page 268 and thought that MY life is too short to be reading this.
So, I thought I would suggest a few books to read when your emotions call for them. When we need to laugh, cry, get nostalgic about the past, or think of home here are some books you might want to consider:
For insomnia: Clarissa by Samuel Richardson (undoubtedly, the best novel ever written, but in terms of racey plots, its a sleep inducer)
For a good cry: The Story of Lucy Gault by William Trevor (heart rendering, get a box of tissues before you start)
Need to remind yourself of the Green and Pleasant Land: The House at Riverton by Kate Morton (or any of her three novels: lovely, Daphne Du Maurier type stuff)
A Good Murder: A Cure for all Diseases by Reginald Hill (or any of the Daiziel and Pascoe books)
A blast from the past: The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (Victorian deceit at its best)
Something to read with a cup of tea: The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency (heart warming, lovely stories)
And just when you think you are nostalgic for a bygone era think again and read Fingersmith by Sarah Waters.
And finally, for a good laugh, my favourite book of all time: The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend. This is a panacea - whatever you are feeling this will cheer you up. This is the book I read to cheer myself up, to remind myself that I was a teenager once or just because I love it! With this to hand, my reading emotions are always in check.