Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Finding The Happy

funny pictures - I love you, couch.   You understand me.

For those of who know me, or have met me live and in the flesh, you'll know I'm not a Happy Sunshine Pollyanna person.  But I'm also not a miserable human being who walks with a cloud over her head all the time.  I'm pretty much an even-keel kind of gal.  There are two types of people I cannot tolerate - those who create drama for the sake of drama and those who endlessly gripe for the sake of griping.  Look, I can whine with the best of 'em, but sooner or later you need to stop whining, pull up your big girl panties, and take your medicine.  Life isn't always pleasant.  It has a way of rearing it's ugly head when you least expect it.  I usually give myself a few days to wallow, and then I need to "move on."  Because frankly, not only does My Man dislike being around Wallowing Wendy, I dislike being around Wallowing Wendy.

I hit a wall last week.  I feel a little guilty about this since it meant I spent my weekend in a foul mood.  My Man works hard, this is a busy time of year for him at his job, and the last thing he needs is a cranky girlfriend on the weekend.  It's not fair to him, and honestly?  I don't like being cranky girl.  So by Monday morning, I had resolved to "get over it."  But dang, that's proving to be hard.  Just when I think I'm ready to take my medicine, be the big girl, someone ends up smacking me upside the head.  Or in kindergarten terms, taking my ice cream cone and dumping it in the sand box.  I keep telling myself that not everybody is a Big Ol' Meanie Jerkface - and that the universe really isn't out to get me.  No really, it's not.  But seriously, ::sigh::.

Which got me thinking, while I was in Full Blown Irrational Cranky Mode, on what makes me "happy."  Lots of things actually make me happy.  My family makes me happy.  Babies laughing makes me happy.  Kittens make me happy.  Good European chocolate topped off with a bottle of wine makes me very happy.  But you know what really, really makes me happy?

Books. 

And I don't think this is just a "librarian thing" - more like a "reader thing" in general.  You know what flips my switch really hard?  Shiny, hard cover books, with pristine dust jackets, that haven't been cracked open yet.  Brand new mass market paperbacks, lined up in a row on the shelf, not a beat-up spine in the bunch.

My fetish isn't even reserved for "new" books.  I love The Hunt.  I haven't done it in ages, what with store-fronts closing at record speed - but there is nothing quite like a good old-fashioned Used Bookstore Hop.  I used to do this all the time when I lived in Michigan.  I'd drive around town, and hit anywhere from 3 to 4 used bookstores.  I would spend the whole day "hunting."  Sometimes I cleaned up, sometimes I found nothing, but it was just the act of pawing through piles of books, like an archaeologist looking for buried treasure, that seemed to get my mind right.

Sure I could buy lots of old historical romances on eBay, but trust me - it's not the same.

As far as actual reading goes - when I'm in full-blown Wallowing Wendy mode, it's hard for me to start reading.  It's hard for me to sit down, pick up the book, and start.  Once I "make myself" start - I can usually keep going for a while.  But sometimes not any ol' story will do when I'm cranky girl.  Usually my blood-thirsty nature comes out.  For example?  Right now I'm working through the last of HelenKay Dimon's Mystery Men series for Harlequin Intrigue.  I thought, why not?  Stories about people who carry guns and shoot at bad guys.  If I wasn't so back-logged right now, I'd probably be more than half-tempted to root around in my keeper stash and reread something.  But I am back-logged, so gun-totin' hottie heroes it is.

So, in an effort to kick-start my flagging blogging mojo - I want to hear from all of you.  When you're in a cranky mood, do you turn to books?  And if so, what do you like to read when you're in Cranky Mode?  Hey, I even want to hear examples (with book titles!) if you have them.

21 comments:

Lucy said...

Oh, Wendy, I hear you. I'm in the midst of putting on my big girl panties, too. Gripe gripe. WHINE. The Universe is being kind of a bitch lately.

SO. I'm reading Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase right now, and really enjoying it. I also LOVED Need to Know by Christine Merrill (available only on ebook download) and it's about a kick-ass librarian, so you should enjoy that! And any Jennifer Crusie will work for me as well.

Hope that helps! And here's hoping both of us can get out of the funk. :)

bafriva said...

Oh yes, Wendy, I DO know what you are talking about and of course I turn to books.
This is when my 'comfort reads' shelf comes into play. It is a fairly small shelf, currently occupied by several of my favorite series (because you just know that it will take more than one book to pull you out of the Swamp of Misery).
So I have the 3 Chalion books by Bujold, the 5 Ile-Rien books by Martha Wells, the 5 Twelve Houses books by Sharon Shinn and the Liaden Universe books by Sharon lee and Steve Miller.
All of these series share great world building with lots of romance. So I am happily taken away (mentally and emotionally) from this world.
Barb in Maryland

A Library Girl said...

For my cranky moods:

- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
- Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey
- or a freshly-bought (as in, bought in the midst of my cranky, the-world-sucks mood) romance novel

The Harry Potter and Arrows of the Queen books give me main characters who start off with sucky things happening to them and go somewhere interesting and new where they meet some great people. I like that kind of thing. The freshly-bought romance novels give me something that I know will have a happy ending, with a setup that perfectly fits whatever my cranky mood has put me in the mood for. A romance novel off my TBR pile won't do - it has to be freshly-bought. I have no idea why that is.

Sarah said...

I like to turn to some of my favorite romances, the ones that have stood the test of time for me. Heaven, Texas by SEP (even though the hero isn't all that bright) and After the Night by Linda Howard. Gray still gives me shivers. Also, I like to re-read Matilda by Roald Dahl since I love seeing her being able to finally get the edge over those who have beaten her down for so long.

Vanessa Kelly said...

I turn to my Georgette Heyers, Jayne Castle futuristics, and Amanda Quick Regencies. The Talisman Ring and The Grandy Sophy are surefire ways to lift my mood, and the JC/AQ are just tons of fun!

Oh, and it never hurts to read some Loretta Chase.

Marguerite Kaye said...

Is it the world going mad or is it the fact that summer's coming to an end (and here in Scotland, we haven't had any sun) but I know exactly what you mean.

Comfort reads, the ones with the spines cracked and the pages all curled from falling in the bath, and when you open them bits of crisps (potato chips) fall out. Mine are any Jenny Crusie that doesn't have a dog, Kate Morton's The Forgotten Garden, Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie books and any Marian Keyes. But what also works is Grey's Anatomy and a really great vodka martini. Or you could try all three.

Hope you feel better soon.

Samanthadelayed said...

I usually read darker books when I am in a mood. Mysteries, paranormals, or even horror are all I want when I am feeling down. I tend to avoid the light fluffy stuff until I am happy again.

Magdalen said...

As you know, I blogged about all the different sorts of books you can read when you're in a cranky mood. But that was an ordinary cranky mood.

For a hardcore cranky mood (the ones that you need to talk to someone about if they last longer than a few days), I go to hardcore comfort reads: A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, a small number of Betty Neels romances, Susan Elizabeth Phillips's Chicago Stars series, or Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster.

Hope you feel better soon!

Victoria Janssen said...

I second the Bujold and Wells recs!

JamiSings said...

Mmm - Sorry, for me it's a particular album, not a book or books. Barry Manilow's 2 AM Paradise Café. Got me through my brother's alcoholism, a few deaths, and quite a few bad patrons. Especially one computer lady who likes to yell at us if all the computers are taken.

Put it on, listen to it while reading a few blogs like your's, by the time it gets to Big City Blues - Barry's duet with Mel Tormé - and I feel human again.

AbbyThompson said...

Comfort reading for me is Loretta Chase, Jane Feather and Amanda Quick.

Deep doldrums require Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness Quartet. Those four YA books pull me out of the crankiest, most miserable mindset.

Kate said...

A good bad mood read for me runs to Jennifer Crusie, Julia Quinn, Lisa Kleypas (historicals only), or Agatha Christie for an engrossing if truly light read (or Stephen King for the opposite, an engrossing and heavy read). When I try to pick up more recentish popular novels at the library I tend just to get more annoyed at them which increases my foul mood.

This time of year, though, I embrace the outer and inner autumn and read haunty, gothicky, ghosty, creepy sort of reads. It focuses my angst at the summer going away into darkly enjoying the world going cold. (So dramatic!) (Also Stainless Steel Droppings runs a reading thing this time of year directly on that very idea, so it really hits at a good time.)

PK the Bookeemonster said...

I turn to books in all moods. Comfort reads are PERSUASION or PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Austin, or THE DAUGHTER OF TIME by Josephine Tey.
I haven't been cranky but I have had the "excellent read" hangover and "nothing compared" syndrome. I inhaled THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy in four days two weeks ago. Today, finally, I can read something. Louise Penny's new one came out today, A TRICK OF LIGHT and I got it immediately on my lunch break. In between I read a non-fiction book about the rise and fall of Enron. I had to read SOMETHING. :)
I also love the hunt for books. Our library sale last spring: I asked for a long lunch so I could only spend two hours at it. I told my boss it wasn't enough. He just shook his head in misunderstand-ment. One of my greatest captures was at a book sale fundraiser a few years ago held at a credit union of all things -- the entire set of Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond series. I gasped out loud.

PK the Bookeemonster said...

Oy. That's Austen. It's late; I'm tired; I've talked to cranky people all day on the phones (collections for hospital/clinics).

CindyS said...

This is the very reason I keep 'break in case of emergency' books by my favourite authors. I have a bunch of Anne Stuart's, now there are Ward books and Brockmann and now Gena Showalter.

For me, if I'm in a terrible mood I need a book that will be familiar and these authors have worlds built and established rituals even in their writing style that can get my blood pressure to settle down. It can take work, pages where I stop and start to grumble before reminding myself I'm supposed to be calming down.

My other reliever is music as someone else has already mentioned. Put on loud upbeat music that you love to yell to. Yep, yell. Right now, Pink's Raise Your Glass and Eminem's I Need A Doctor seem to keep me even keeled.

Now if I'm blue - that's a whole other thing ;)

Good luck!
CindyS

nath said...

Well at least you know you're in the cranky mood and take steps to get out of it :) That's more than a lot of people.

I'm rarely cranky - no seriously. Most of the time, I'll be more bored or down and to remedy to that, I buy books. Doesn't have to be the UBS, just any bookstores will do :) Buying books cheers me up. That's how I ended up with 7 books from the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher... and countless others.

Jenica said...

When I'm grumpy, I like the classics, romances I first read and loved. Julie Garwood, Johanna Lindsey, Jayne Ann Krentz. Maybe because I've re-read them so many times, they're just so easy and relaxing to read again. For the really bad times, I go with classic and category (even shorter and a quicker fix!). LOVE Lynne Graham. And I feel your pain. In the last couple months, I've read Graham's entire backlist. Hope you're able to kick-start your mojo.

little alys said...

Fairytales and folklores. Originals, retellings, movies, any and all. Those were sometimes the only stories that pulled me out of the slumps.

Hope you feel better soon!

Kimberly Savage said...

I just read a blog about books that are Keepers*, and now this wonderful blog about Comfort Reads. What makes me happy? Blogging with fellow readers and book lovers! Also? The Jo Nesbo series makes me happy, too. I'm saving #3 (The Devil's Star) for a particularly bad day. (*See Joan Reeves' guest spot on Patricia Stoltey's blog.)

Lynnd said...

Like so many others when I'm a cranky pants I like my comfort reads too -, anything by Loretta Chase, C.S. Harris' mysteries and if it's really bad Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay (that book has gotten me through so much) or The Lord of the Rings. Hope you're feeling better soon.

Wendy said...

So many comments, and not enough time to respond to everybody individually. But I love that we all have our little "tricks" to get through less-than-stellar moods. Whether it be books or music.

I actually used the music technique A LOT in college. Mostly because I rarely read for pleasure back then (too much "required" reading). I tended to go for anything loud. The sort of music you'd want to break dishes too. The Offspring were on heavy rotation. As was Green Day. And any Beatles track where Paul screams ;)