Top Ten Books to Hide from Life In

“Some people are heroes. And some people jot down notes.”

Terry Pratchett

By which I mean “hide from the scary scary adulting”, obviously.

  1. The Truth – Terry Pratchett. Or any of the Discworld books, really. The Disc is a friendly place with smooth corners, where million-to-one chances always work and the heroes always learn a lesson and good always wins, even if only temporarily.
  2. Sibilant Fricative – Adam Roberts. “Look, I am reading a book of essays for fun! Look how good I am at being an adult! Plus I feel like a literary critic instead of someone who has to get up at 7am tomorrow morning.”
  3. Lirael – Garth Nix. The Library of the Clayr is one of my favourite libraries ever; plus Lirael is such a wonderful heroine, a quiet and lonely girl who eventually finds a family and acceptance and a purpose.
  4. Saga Volume 1 – Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. I only read this recently, but my gods, Fiona Staples’ art is a revelation. I’m a little bit in love with Alana: it feels like there’s nothing she can’t face, and who wouldn’t want someone like that at their side, even just for a while?
  5. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making – Catherynne M. Valente. Because bad things happen, and everyone has to grow up, and everyone has to lose things, and Valente doesn’t gloss over any of that; but she makes it feel manageable, and beautiful, and full of potential.
  6. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason – Helen Fielding. Only because I don’t own a copy of the first book, Bridget Jones’ Diary; and, really, Bridget manages to make everything that crucial bit more ridiculous.
  7. Robot Dreams – Isaac Asimov. Again, this is just the collection I happen to have with me; any of his short story collections would do. Asimov is the king of hard science, and sometimes you just want to forget that emotions exist. And sometimes you want to read “The Ugly Little Boy”.
  8. Notes from a Big Country – Bill Bryson. These columns can still make me laugh out loud, though I must have read them about three times each by now.
  9. Northanger Abbey – Val McDermid. I have fond memories of reading this in the last sunlit weeks I had at university, when I’d finished my exams and could basically do whatever the hell I wanted (providing this did not involve talking to anyone, since English students finished well before anyone else). It’s frothy and silly and light, and, yes, the original is much better, but Austen is difficult when you are tired.
  10. Night Film – Marisha Pessl. You’d think that this would be the worst possible read to Hide from Life – it’s dark and horrific and twisty and treacherous – but for some reason it’s one I pick quite often. Pessl has a very distinctive voice, which I like, and I guess that I like that it reinforces the uncertainty of life, the shifting sands upon which all of our houses are built.

(The theme for this post was suggested by the Broke and the Bookish’s weekly meme Top Ten Tuesday.)

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