Life has been so terribly difficult and depressing. I never consider 'things can't get worse,' as invariably life then conspires to show me how yes, it truly can. I am almost to the point of going back to Mayberry: my fallback decompression mode for when life gets so suck as to be nonexistent --retreating into the simple pleasures of Andy Griffith tapes. (Blog post 'Back to Mayberry' was written 9/25/09. How do you make a link?).
People who know me well will be shocked to hear I am finally resorting to considering meds until I can regain a will to continue. I hate to take anything, and resist 'feel-good' drugs--it would be odd not to be depressed at this point - but it's time to pull out bigger guns...
Lately I have been reading even more than usual -- which is a lot, anyway. And the books I am grabbing off the shelf are true-life accounts of people who have lived through harrowing times. Reading of their hardship and perseverance and strength of spirit gives me some measure of strength and will power.
The first book I highly recommend is finally out in paperback: Empire of the Summer Moon. As related on the cover, it is about the rise and fall of the Commanche nation and also the account of Quanah Parker, who was the son of a white captive and a tribesman chief. Parker became the 'last' Commanche chief who never surrendered but acquiesced and became a leader in helping his people live and adapt once they moved to a reservation. The book is full of fascinating stories about Mexico and Texas from the 1600s on, the rise of the Plains Indians and the mustang, the beginnings of the frontier and the Texas Rangers, range wars and horrific battles between Indians pushed to the warpath, and white settlers trying to claim a stake...I think I highlighted every page and poured over the notes and bibliography for more books to read.
The second book is Unbroken. The true account of a poverty-stricken kid who was a real juvenile delinquent who was saved from no-doubt a criminal life when he discovered running, and became an Olympic athlete whose career was cut short by WWII. He was a bombardier whose plane ditched in the ocean and he and two other survivors broke a record of drifting 47 days in a life raft, fending off sharks with no food or water. When they were found by the Japanese and interred in a POW camp they missed the raft. He was imprisoned 2 1/2 years in conditions and treatment I don't know how he endured. The book has a happy ending - thus the title - but it's a heart-rending read.
I received Same Kind of Different as Me, about the relationship between a modern-day sharecropper slave turned homeless man and a millionaire and his wife, and it's also a diverting read.
I have tons of others stacked on the bedside. So many books, so little time. It helps me when I have no energy for anything else.
What are you enjoying reading?