I had a very difficult time making sense of the world when I was younger. Blame social anxiety and introversion if you’d like. I did have friends, and we did have fun, but I also had difficulty maintaining friendships. I felt detached from society most of the time and that made it difficult to sustain connections with people.
But books didn’t present such problems. Books were a constant and consistent emergency exit as well as a lens to help me understand life a little more clearly. Some books more than others. Below is the short list of books that helped me make sense of life.
This book blew my mind the first time I read it and subsequent re-reads reinforced what I learned from it. The Gom Jabbar taught me that sometimes humans are just animals, the Mentat taught me the value of favouring logic over emotional reflexes while the Bene Gesserit helped me realise the critical importance of self control.
The Pern series by Anne McCaffrey
Dragons. And not just any dragons but specially bred space dragons with a logical means of breathing fire that can teleport and speak telepathically. Dragonsinger is the book that got me into this series. Menolly was one of the first characters I truly connected with and related to. Her loneliness was mine, and when she found companionship with the firelizards it was something I understood completely, having always found it easier to be around animals than people.
Various Steven King and Dean Koontz books
Anxiety wasn’t the only handicap I dragged along with me when I was younger. I was diagnosed with Depression at an early age. Couple these things to a hyperactive imagination and you start seeing monsters everywhere. You’d think horror would be the last thing such a person would want to read but I found it strangely comforting. It’s not that these books taught me that evil can be overcome but more that I accepted that darkness and light co-exist. Looking back, I think these were some of my first lessons in morality’s grey areas and perhaps even the beginning of understanding that being a good person didn’t mean you had to be perfect all the time.
Are there any books that have helped you through a tough time? Please share in the comments section :)