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Lit Medicine: 11 Books To Save Your Ass (Or Just Your Weary Soul)

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“There’s more to life than books, you know, but not much more.” Ah, the immortal words of my beloved Morrissey – they served as a kind of mantra for me as I stumbled and bumbled through adolescence and early adulthood. Books have been a vital part of my everyday existence for far longer than Moz, though (WHAT?! I KNOW!), serving as my nearest, dearest cultural companion for as long as I can remember.

Books especially saved my ass when I was young (as a super-shy, introspective only child, I got accustomed to spending a lot of time alone). Books swooped me away from my loneliness. They became one of my first Easy Escape Routes of Choice — later I’d add alcohol and men to the mix. (Fortunately, books are socially sanctioned escape routes that I never had to feel lame or ashamed about engaging in night after night — no hangovers! No awkward “Will he or won’t he call?” bullshit!)

Do you have books you turn to again and again, ones you rely on in times of fear, or anxiety, or depression?  I do. So I thought I’d lay ‘em out for you here — some of the books I turn to as “medicine” for various precarious emotional states. Enjoy, and add your own picks in the comments.

Laura Barcella is xoJane’s weekend editor. Currently based in San Francisco, she fantasizes about moving just about everywhere, including L.A., Brooklyn (her former stomping ground), Philadelphia, Nashville, Austin, Portland, Seattle, Baltimore, and her hometown of Washington, DC. Follow her on Twitter. This piece was originally published on xoJane.

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