There is no companion like a particularly brilliant book.
Years ago, I read Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, and found it spoke to me in a way perhaps no other book has. I still think about passages from it, or the experiences of the novel’s protagonist, Esther Greenwood, who is crippled by a deep depression.
Her description of what we can retrospectively term a mental illness, reveals a truth that for the average person, is simply impossible to articulate.
“Wherever I sat,” Plath writes, “on the deck of a ship or at a street cafe in Paris or Bangkok – I would be sitting under the same glass bell jar, stewing in my own sour air.”
LISTEN: Here’s another brilliant read… Post continues below.
Anyone who has ever been struck by mental illness, will know the feeling of being trapped, unable to escape your own mind.
I spoke to a number of women about the best book they’ve ever read, and why they would so strongly recommend it.
Polly: Mine is The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons because it made me feel THINGS when I read it. I’ve bought it for so many of my friends as a gift and it always then becomes their favourite book.
Andi: Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris is my favourite. It’s full of short stories that you can easily pick up, they are funny (like belly laugh funny) and deep all at the same time and let you know that everyone has a crazy family – it’s not just you. I go back to this book so often, especially if I want something to read at the beach, or on the plane or if I can’t commit. Also pretty sure it comes in audio book, and the way he reads it is too good.