The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Effective in large doses for treating pathological optimism or a sense of humor failure. Ideal for sauna-goers with exhibitionist tendencies.
Side effects: An aversion to owning things, and a potentially chronic tendency to wear a robe all day.
Don Quixote of the Mancha
Miguel de Cervantes
To be taken when your ideals clash with reality.
Side effects: Anxiety about modern technology and about the destructive effects of machines, which we fight as though they were windmills.
Effective against acquired (rather than innate) pessimism, and a fear of miracles.
Side effects: Diminished numeracy skills; singing in the shower.
A Game of Thrones (HBO Tie-in Edition)
George R. R. Martin
Helps one to kick a TV habit and to cope with lovesickness, the hassles of daily life and tedious dreams.
Side effects: Insomnia; unsettling dreams.
Side effects: A fear of water.
The Man Without Qualities, Vol. 1
A book for men who’ve forgotten what they wanted from life. A remedy for aimlessness.
Side effects: The effects are gradual: after two years, your life will have changed forever. The main risks are that you will alienate all your friends, develop a predisposition to social satire, and suffer from recurring dreams.
Reduces gullibility and apathy. Old home remedy for chronic optimism, but past its sell-by date.
Terry Pratchett has so far published forty novels, “The Color of Magic” being the first, and “Raising Steam” the most recent.
For the world-weary and the dangerously naïve. Mind-warping stuff, even for novices.
His Dark Materials
For those who occasionally hear imaginary voices, and believe they have an animal soul mate.
Recommended for those susceptible to boring dreams and those who sit, paralyzed, by the phone (“Will he ever ring?”).
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
To overcome adult worries and rediscover the child within.
The Enchanted April
Elizabeth von Arnim
For indecision and for trusting one’s friends.
Side effects: Falling in love with Italy; a yearning for the south; a heightened sense of justice.
The Little Paris Bookshop’s Monsieur Jean Perdu calls himself a book apothecary; from a barge on the Seine, he prescribes the perfect novels and nonfiction for all of life’s ailments, mending broken hearts and souls, and proving the power of stories to shape people’s lives. Here are some of author Nina George’s favorite fast-acting medicines for minds and hearts affected by minor or moderate emotional turmoil. To be taken in easily digestible doses (between five and fifty pages) unless otherwise indicated and if possible, with warm feet and/or with a cat on your lap. These twenty books will have you feeling better instantly.
Featured Image by Chamille White/Shutterstock.com