2016-06-23 / Editorial

Feel better books

A 20-something office worker is traveling by plane to her first ever business trip. The meeting is a disaster and she is pretty low for the return trip. A kind flight attendant upgrades her to first class. The plane suddenly hits turbulence and in her fear she begins to spew her deepest secrets and regrets to the nearby stranger. That is the start of a super fun novel by Sophie Kinsella called, “Can You Keep a Secret?”

Honestly, I’m not quite sure how many times I have read “Can You Keep a Secret?” I’m not generally a re-reader. As is oft said in the library world, “too many books, too little time.” For years now I have clung to this title when life’s woes get me down. It is fun, funny and romantic and has a happy ending. Recently I think I may have found a new “feel better book.” Admittedly, I read it three times in immediate succession. The book? Jojo Moyes’ novel, “One Plus One.”

Moyes is a U.K. author who broke into the U.S. market a few years ago with the breathtaking, “Me Before You.” The book has been made into a film in theaters now and readers everywhere are still buzzing. The book has consistently been in high demand across Maine. It is not a happy story. It follows a man, Will Traynor, a consummate high achiever who has been recently permanently confined to a wheelchair. His altered physical state leads him to make life decisions that impact everyone around him in vastly different ways.

Moyes is a great writer. When recommending this book I often tell readers that she flawlessly gives you several conflicting points of view, all of which you end up both agreeing and disagreeing with. It is definitely a book that stays with you for a long time. After the sudden popularity of “Me Before You,” publishers scrambled to get older Moyes titles re-released for American audiences. Since then, the author has published three other bestselling novels. Which leads me to my new “feel better book.”

“One Plus One” tells the story of a struggling single mother raising a goth teen son and a math prodigy daughter. Her life suddenly becomes entwined with a computer entrepreneur who has troubles of his own. Add a drooling mutt named Norman and an unexpected road trip to Scotland and you have a book that is a whole lot of fun. This novel is equal parts heartbreaking and hilarious. Either way, the satisfying ending made me very happy. So, I read it again. Then again. Each time laughing and crying in equal parts.

What is your “feel better book?” Stop by the library to find one or ask our excellent staff for recommendations. Studies show that a reader’s brain reacts to written stimuli in a way similar to real life stimuli. Read about the enticing aroma of fresh brewing coffee and the brain’s reaction is similar to walking into delicious smelling coffee shop. If times have you down, we hope we can find you a delightful book to make you happy.

Melanie Taylor Coombs is adult services supervisor/librarian at McArthur Public Library in Biddeford.

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