A book for hard times

September 3, 2011 by StarShipSofa

It would be nice to know how many out there retreat into a book in hard times? Most of us have anxieties, highs and lows throughout our lives – myself more than most :0) Retreating into a story really does take away the lows for me. Is this the case for anyone else? If yes… what are the stories? I remember a particular bad patch for me (anxiety) and reading Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm. I’ve never forgot how much that book helped me through a difficult time in my life.

Many thanks Kate Wilhelm… you will never know – but thank you anyways.

Let me know yours…


  1. My go-to book for raising my spirits in a hard time is “The Last Unicorn” by Peter S. Beagle. I first read it in 1968. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read it since. I’ve read it enough that I’ve memorized favorite sections of it. Those bits pop up in my mind from time to time during my life, and always make smile.

  2. The Songs of Distant Earth

  3. Terry Pratchett’s Dark Side of the Sun is definitely fiction comfort food for me – Warren Ellis’ Planetary too, but that’s a comic.

  4. I loved Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang too when it first came out have have read it more than once again since then. In those days similar comfort reading was Earth Abides and Islandia. And Lord of the Rings. Lately for me it’s been Nathan Lowell’s Share Series. I’ve been through Darkover (Marion Zimmer Bradley) and Vorkosigan (Lois McMaster Bujold) and Terry Pratchett series too, and return to those from time to time. All comfort food for me! I seem to need a lot of comfort food, and I’m pretty old, so I’ve been through a lot of it.

  5. Love Kate Wilhelm, in any genre, and loved Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang. And I’m a sucker for Shakespeare quotes as titles. (My autobiography will be titled “My Dear Time’s Waste”)

    For some reason, I can reread the Foundation trilogy over and over and be thoroughly comforted. I just listened to the BBC radio adaptation from the 70s and will add that to the medicine cabinet for next low period.

  6. I don’t have a particular book I go to. I know the higher my pile of to read books is, the happier I am. I can get really upset when I no longer have any books in that pile.

  7. Recently I was going through the debilitating process of Mortgage Modification, a hellish nightmare of torture that Satan Himself would admire. Every week, sometimes every day, I would have to call about some problem; fax stacks of documents then re-fax the same documents because Chase would lose them; rummage through old files to find more documents; or hit myself over the head to avoid killing someone at Chase Bank’s Home Owner’s Care Center.

    During this time of woe I needed something to help with the ungodly stress and, as always, I turned to books.

    Climbing into a good book takes you away from everyday problems and the unresolvable hassles that plague us all. And the farther away the book can take me the better, so I usually like to read Science Fiction and Fantasy books more than anything else, although Mysteries and Westerns take up a lot of space on my shelves too.