For the past few weeks, everyone I've talked to in the Oregon library world has been feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. I'm not sure what combination of events is causing this (although I'm sure the economy is one of them), but it seems to be hitting all kinds of staff and all kinds of libraries.
We're all familiar with the standard advice for dealing with stressful times, so I won't repeat it here (especially since it usually doesn't include baking & eating chocolate chip cookies). However, one of the things I find useful during tough times is re-reading a favorite book. Or two. Or three. Here are a few of my favorites. Please post your own! We could develop a whole De-Stressing Bibliography!
Any of the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries by Dorothy Sayers. Extremely well-written and intricately plotted. I always end up wishing Sayers hadn't given up writing mysteries for more scholarly pursuits.
The Moonstone by William Wilkie Collins. One of the very first mystery novels, and a heck of a lot of fun. The plot is complicated, but the narration, from the point of view of a number of different characters, is wonderful, and absolutely hilarious in places. The authors other mysteries ramble on a bit, but I'm always sad to get to the end of this one.
To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis. I'm a big Willis fan, and this is my favorite. It's a hilarious, intricate time travel novel. It's even funnier if you've also read The Doomsday Book, which is an intense page-turner, but with a darker theme.
Ursula LeGuin is also one of my favorite authors. My favorite re-reads are The Left Hand of Darkness and The Lathe of Heaven. Like most of LeGuin's work, these books explore complex social and philosophical topics in an elegant and compelling way. The Left Hand of Darkness is also good to read during a heat wave, since it's also so cold in the novel.
Here's hoping our stress levels will be going down soon. Bring on the good books and chocolate chip cookies!