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I had a friend who found comfort in Winnie the Pooh. The books, actually anything related to Winnie the Pooh. Stuffed Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet, Tigger. OMG, Winnie the Pooh china.



My go-tos are the P.G. Wodehouse novels. I have yet to figure out why I find them so engrossing. But they whisk me away from the stressors of the day and put me in a world where all the problems are significant to the characters but hilarious to the reader.

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Nostalgia read: Harry Potter series.

Murder Mystery read : in death series by J.D. Robb

Romance read: anything by Joanna Lindsay or Jude Deveraux

Soul Searching read. Untamed by Glennon Doyle or Reasons to stay alive or the midnight library by Matt Haig.
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What a coincidence, your friend and I share a relief from relating to animals, although I binge watch zoo programs and vet programs to escape all the horrors I am subjected to on the news and Internet. I don't read books anymore because I can't hold books in my arthritic hands, so I just watch all those lovely animals and change the channel when surgeries are done or nature programs show mealtime attacks (nope, not wanting to reverse all that stress relief with gory nature buffets). I just love watching new animal babies being born and being introduced to the world. If you want to really see an exceptional program, check out "Wizard of Paws."
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Isthisreally real: Now that you mention it, it could have been "Tis" I was listening to on that lone Vermont road...Terribly funny whatever it was!
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What a great idea to whoever started this exchange of information! I couldn't leave it without mentioning the author I now consider (not hands down, but still -- no apparent rivals that I know of) the best living American writer: James Lee Burke. He's in his 80s and just an AMAZING writer. I dread the day that I will read in the news that he has passed,
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M C Beaton's book series Agatha Raisin is fabulous, also. The main character is a bossy mess and so enjoyable for light reading/listening entertainment.
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Detective Fiction. I find that the best writers are engrossing and exercise the "little grey cells," to quote one of my favorite detectives, Hercule Poirot (Agatha Christie). The best of these writers force us to try to keep up with intricate plots, myriad characters, etc. There are also, I find, some "gems" of wisdom in the main characters/detectives, such as Hercule Poirot or another favorite, Miss Marple (also Agatha Christie.) "People are not always what they seem," would be one of these gems although I'm not sure if a favorite detective of mine actually used these words.
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Great question! I read a lot when I have the time, both fiction and non-fiction. In times of stress, though, I tend to re-read books that I have read many times and love. I find that I get engrossed in them because I like the characters, but I don't dither over the plot because I already know every twist and turn. When I was younger I used to read The Lord of The Rings at least once every year--the Hobbit and all three of the LOTR books. Now I read more slowly and do not feel so much of a need to experience small and rather innocent characters conquering great evil.

One of my favorites is "West With the Night" by Beryl Markham. It is a very well-written memoir of the author growing up in Kenya and eventually becoming an airplane pilot and setting world records. It has all the right points for me: it takes me away to a very different world (Kenya in the early 20th century) and has a female protagonist who begins as a rather average person but, with courage and determination does great things.

Another favorite is the Mrs. Pollifax series by Dorothy Gilman. The series begins in the mid-'60's. Although I do read a fair number of cozy mysteries, these books are not mysteries. They are a rather light approach to the spy novels and thrillers of the '60's. Like a cozy, there are a limited number of characters in each book and the plot lines are not that twisted or complex, so I need not spend a lot of mental energy trying to track things. A good thing when my motive for reading is escape from daily life. Nevertheless, the characters and locations for these books are really compelling. Every character seems plausible and most are really compelling. Mrs. Polliifax herself has a commonsense approach to overcoming the surprising difficulties and complications that she encounters. I started reading these books when I was in my 50's and was rather pleased to find a protagonist who was a woman in her fifties who was quite capable and whose experiences as mother and homemaker are quite useful to an enterprising volunteer spy.

I think another thing about reading these old favorites is that I can be interrupted at any time, tend to the latest mini-emergency, and get right back into the book later.
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reallyfedup Jun 17, 2022
I loved West with the Night. I'll look into the Mrs. Pollifax series. It sounds good.
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I can really only read when my husband is resting quietly or in someone else’s care & there isn’t room for me (e.g., dentist - which is rare) and most of my current reading is related to dementia, this forum or preparing legal docs. If I have such downtime, it’s still hard to focus enough to read. My go-to is listening to/watching comedy on my phone, using just one ear bud. (My husband LOVES to talk to me when I have my earbuds in, so with just one I can still hear him too.). Because my husband interrupts my sleep at night, any chance I get to close my eyes & rest - not necessarily nap, but just to relax is precious. My absolute saving grace is an Amazon Alexa I keep next to my bed. I originally bought it for my husband & he really enjoyed requesting his favorite music & asking questions trying to ‘stump” Alexa, but he really can’t use it any more so I moved it next to my bed. We have a subscription for music that’s less than $5/mo. I can keep my eyes closed & request almost any music - 60s, 70s, 80’s, big band, relaxation, meditative, etc. and artist specific, and just switch it by speaking. I can listen to podcasts & other recorded programs, and tell Alexa to pause or stop when I hear hubby headed my way to ask me more random things at all hours. I’m sure you could listen to audio books as well. I use it WAY more than I ever dreamed & love getting snippets of peace. Being hands free I can request anything as soon as I walk in my room & get ready for bed or when I first get up. Another random bonus is that it records voice history when you speak to it. I’ve been able to go back & look at the times I requested the time & discovered I’m awake every 30-45 minutes. No wonder I’m exhausted.
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I can't concentrate on reading anything when I'm stressed out.
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reallyfedup: I am a fan of Nicholas Sparks' novels. However, due to the stress from out of state caregiving, I never got too far into the read due to stress and exhaustion. It was a wasted effort if I could not absorb one paragraph, let alone one sentence.
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Since I wrote a book with humor and heart, about Hubby and I taking care of my mom when she had Alzheimer's called, "My Mother has Alzheimer's and My Dog Has Tapeworms: A Caregiver's Tale," I'm happy to recommend it, (even if it sounds a little self-serving). Some people have told me that the humor and advice helped them. I tried to have that humorous yet sincere and heartfelt perspective when we were taking care of her. (I thought of the title when I was driving home from work 1 day, and I realized that my once broad life was reduced to the pressing health concerns of my and dog.) If you read it, I hope you enjoy it.
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I second P.G. Wodehouse! Bertie and Jeeves have gotten me through some dark times. Also, have you read the "Scotland Street" series by Alexander McCall Smith? Almost as engrossing (I think any series that manages to build a little world is engrossing), and there are lots of books. Also, Calvin and Hobbes books, as someone else commented.
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reallyfedup Jun 16, 2022
I do love Bertie and Jeeves and the Blandings Castle series is a hoot too. I'll check out Scotland Street. Thanks. And nothing is as good as Calvin and Hobbes.
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any fannie flagg book and jan karon mitford series
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I like Julia Chapman's 'Dales Detective' series when wanting something lighter, and Phil Rickman's 'Merrily Watkins' novels when I need something more immersing!
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You might try reading the Bible. God has a few things to say about comforting the broken hearted.
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The Bible
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I love most of these. I would also suggest the Inspector Lynley novels about an English detective. A whole bunch of them, characters are interesting. I love Inspector Lynley but his frumpy assistant ends up stealing the books in my mind. I am still sad that I finished them all and have to wait a bit to start over. Second, for Three Pines books. I want to move to that town, murder and all!
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reallyfedup Jun 16, 2022
I've only watched the Inspector Lynley t.v. series on Britbox. Really enjoyed them. I do like his sidekick in the show. I bet the books are better.
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I love most of these. I would also suggest the Inspector Lynley novels about an English detective. A whole bunch of them, characters are interesting. I love Inspector Lynley but his frumpy secretary ends up stealing the books in my mind. I am still sad that I finished them all and have to wait a bit to start over. Second, for Three Pines books. I want to move to that town, murder and all!
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The Tao of Pooh..... has some Zen overtones, and Tao de Ching.
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I have recently read the Louise Penny fiction series. They are easy- reading and I would categorize them as “light mystery,” like a lighter, more fun version of Agatha Christie or the TV show, “ Murder She Wrote”. The only downside is that the author always describes what they are eating, and it leaves me with some serious food cravings, especially for A croissant and cafe au lait. Lol. I think there are about 13 books by now. So, if this is your thing and you really need a steady supply of “check out material” to relax, I recommend it.

Weirdly, when I’m super stressed out, I go for romance novels, particularly ones with strong female leads.

I’ve also decided to learn to sew, so there’s a lot of learning there to keep my mind off the sadder thoughts about my mom’s deteriorating situation. I just checked out 3 books on sewing, including one that describes all the different types of fabric.

What a great question! I’m enjoying the responses. I hope you find something useful.
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Tired07 Jun 16, 2022
I also enjoy light mystery books! Great way to check out.
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I love re-reading Tintin comics - love the illustrations, the plots and all the foreign locations, Sometimes I will read Asterix just for the pun on names:-). Jodi Picoult for the intense drama - a few pages and I'm off to bed..rofl..
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BettyCrocker Jun 16, 2022
Asterisk and Obelisk! So fun and silly. My son read these, along with Tin Tin when he was younger. 😀
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I’m a Harry Potter nerd. They have nothing to do with anything going on in the world or in my life. I started reading them during the pandemic and cling to them more so now as a caregiver. They completely remove me from all my troubles and worries. As long as I am reading the books or watching the movies, my biggest worry is escaping Voldemort!
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LittleOrchid Jun 17, 2022
Oh, yes! I didn't mention these in my response, but they are great fun to re-read. I got the Nook book version when the weight of the original hardbacks became difficult for me and gave the hardbacks to my sons. Same with the Lord of the Rings and hobbit books.
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Calvin and Hobbes comic books. They remind me of my children’s younger days, and, best of all, put me back in touch with my inner child.
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I don't have a "go to" reading list when stressed but I find that when I reread books that I really liked the first time I can put my active brain on coast and focus on reading more for content that the story. One of my favorite is Stephen King but I also like his son Joe Hill.... I do like mysteries and Nevada Barr has a huge series of books that are based on her experiences as a park ranger. I don't tend to read non fiction. I've been wanting to reread "The Stand" ( if you understand why, then LOL) more for content. If I really want to just zone out I will pick up a Harry Potter book and reread a chapter or two.
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SnoopyLove Jun 13, 2022
I have to get back to The Stand! I started it in early 2020 because, you know. 😳Then I got bogged down about halfway in. Since you are wanting to reread it it must be worth it.
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Presently I am listening to the Ascension Bible in a Year podcast. It is very soothing and brings me peace especially at bedtime.
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Long time favorite of Danielle Steele.
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Isthisrealyreal Jun 13, 2022
Labs, you reminded me that +/-25 years ago I read "Daddy" in it's entirety on a plane ride from LA to Oahu.

My sister loved D. Steele and always passed her books on to me. :-)
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The 'Outlander' series by Diana Gabaldon. All of Philippa Gregory's royal historical fiction novels. Last but not least any word put to paper by Stephen Fry. That's guy's grocery list would be a good read.
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newbiewife Jun 12, 2022
I hate to admit it, but I've been charging through the "Outlander" series. Our son gave me the boxed set of the first 4 books for Christmas, and I thought that was the whole series--only to find out there are 5 more! So I bought the next boxed set of 4, and will then get the singleton.
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I just re-read the entire set of Laura Ingalls Wider "Little House" books. Have to keep up with the grandchildren! I also like dystopian science fiction or "imagined future" scenarios, e.g. Margaret Atwood.
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BurntCaregiver Jun 12, 2022
I loved the 'Little House' books when I was a kid. You've reminded me. I gave them to my niece but I think I want to borrow them back.
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For me, Georgette Heyer and Agatha Christie. I have the complete set of them. I used to read Georgette Heyer in my late teens to soothe me down between examinations. I know them more of less by heart, I can repeat them to myself in the night without a need to read.
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reallyfedup Jun 13, 2022
I've read a number of the Christie books and something I've noticed, and I wonder if you have noticed too, is that while her Poirot and Marple books are delightful cozies, some of her stories are different and rather strange.

The Secret Adversary (Tommy and Tuppence) is a bit odd although I can't say why. As for the Harlequin Tea Set, maybe I was high at the time (I never get high) but it had an almost psychedelic effect. And to me, Then There Were None had a slightly Shirley Jackson vibe of lingering strangeness.

I remain a Poirot fan but alas I've read all of them.
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I read the Bible for comfort. Books written by James Herriot cheer me up.
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Isthisrealyreal Jun 12, 2022
I love first the Bible and second James Harriot.
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