Books for The Hard Times

Books for The Hard Times

By Jenna Quentin




There are times when I want to just jump right out of this ole world. The humdrum and the downright boring eat up my life. There are times when my problems seem too heavy, my loves too flawed, my sorrows too lonely. That’s the time when I reach for a whole new world colored with flashing verbs, peopled with dashing heroes and plotted with mysteries and enigmas to which we will actually find the answer! In other words, I read.

Here’s my rather unusual top list of books for all different times in life (hopefully, some you don’t know). Before school starts, give your mind and spirit some literary refreshment. Some of these are middle-grade quick reads; I appreciate their simplicity. Others are a bit longer, more classic. You may not be the bookworm type, but I hope you can find just a book here that suits you!

For Comfort:

Psalms, Holy Bible – Mostly written by Israel’s King David, as he cried out to God and received real answers.

The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis – The tales of a great untamable loving Lion and a fabulous fantasy world…that should cheer anyone up!

For Love Troubles:

Persuasion, Jane Austen – Really anything by Jane; Love always triumphs…finally…at last…in the end.

1 John, Holy Bible – Chock full of wisdom on our love towards each other and God’s love for us.

Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine – Do you really want Prince Charming after all?

Julie, Catherine Marshall – Julie’s got plenty of choice in guys…and trouble too!

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte – The heroine is intelligent, independent and plain, the hero is gruff, troubled and wealthy…what more could you ask for?

For Fun:

Dragons In Our Midst, Brian Davis – What would happen if good dragons from King Arthur’s time went into hiding as humans…and then had kids?

The Frog Princess Series, ED Baker – This series twists on what you know about fairy tales and how they work – imaginative.

Martin Pippin series, Eleanor Farjeon – Minstrel Martin tells fairy stories like you’ve never read – odd, spooky and delightful.

The Thief Lord, Cornelia Funke – A clan of kids in magical Venice…can they continue to escape the investigator?

Iron Ring, The Acadians, Time Cat: The Remarkable Journeys of Jason and Gareth, Lloyd Alexander – All books by this author are great – he has different folktale-like books, such as the ones listed, as well as an unusual fantasy series and lots of cat books,

For Self-Image:

Fairest, Gail Carson Levine – In a fabulous land where everything revolves around singing, an ugly girl learns how to become pretty…that’s what all she wants, right? You’ll never see beauty the same way!

Esperanza Rising, Pam Muñoz Ryan – This book about a Mexican girl in the 1930’s is about rising above the circumstances. Very poetic in the middle of ugliness.

For Grief:

Each Little Bird That Sings, Deborah Wiles – A girl deals with grief every day in her family’s mortuary business and her personal life; simple and profound.

Walk Two Moons, Sharon Creech – A girl travels across the country searching her mother who abandoned her…or died. What’s the difference?

For Friend Troubles:

Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Paterson – You might have seen the film, but the book is a much deeper and very sensitive look at friendship. Could also be under “Grief”.

Bloomability, Sharon Creech –A girl who moves to Europe, learning to adjust to a new environment, language and her new friends.

For Practical Life Answers:

Ephesians, Holy Bible – Wonderful encouragement on how to live life.

Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan – The picturesque analogies, temptations and difficulties, have frequently helped me to understand life. Good escapes and answers provided!