Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Books for the Newly-Single

Posted by Daisy
Vanhercke Christiaan copyrighted & licensed for further re-use
IT’S Saturday night and I’m sitting in watching ‘Sex and the City’ re-runs, eating beans on toast, and anything else I can find it the cupboards.

This day last week I was on a river cruise in the sun, dressed up in a fur coat and silk scarf for a Mad Men themed hen party, sipping vodka and elderflower cocktails. The weekend before that, I was singing ‘Going to the Chapel’ at another hen party in West Cork.

And the week before that, I was in Italy, on a two-week holiday with my boyfriend - people-watching and drinking vodka and coke from a kiosk for hours on the esplanade in Salerno, eating mussel and bean soup from a sunset balcony in Positano, and sampling balsamic vinegar and making pizza on a Foodie tour of Rome.

But somewhere near the end of the holiday, we had ‘The Chat’ and decided that we weren’t, in fact, compatible. The fact that I am six years older than him may have had something to do with it.

So I’m single again. A state I know inside out at this stage of my life. I couldn’t face the usual drama of tears and texts. So I decided to skip it. Like a dynamo, I organised lunches, visited all the friends-with-babies that I hadn’t seen in ages,  and had many nights out. I didn’t mention the break-up to anyone for three weeks. Until I was able to talk about it without crying. I watched soppy movies (e.g. The Vow/The Notebook) whenever I felt sad. And I re-read the books I always read after a break-up.

I’ve read it about five times and it always makes me feel better. The protagonist, Julie, lives in a horrible apartment in Brooklyn with her husband. Her job bores her. So she decides to cook her way through ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking'. This book comforts me in two ways – 1) Julie is hitting 30 and hasn’t figured out her life yet and 2) Reading about artichoke leaves dipped in butter, and potato soup, and cooking lobster, and extracting marrow from a cow’s bone makes me forget about my broken heart – while reading this book, I just feel hungry.

Unashamedly chick-lit, this book also makes me feel better about myself after a break-up. The Godmother has random one-night stands, most of her friends are married with kids, and she spends lots of time shopping or drinking with vapid friends of friends. Her feelings are my feelings sometimes.

Drought has come to a small town in America. The people are hot, restless and frightened of losing their homes and farms. The local banker, a woman in exile from another city, calls for the Rainmaker. His arrival brings upheaval and strange events begin to occur.

This is a comfort book, purely because the writing is so evocative that the pages of the book begin to smell damp and earthy while reading it. I’ve seen this book in lots of second hand shops, and I think it may have been free with a magazine. I love it.


  1. I love getting ideas about good books from people who have actually read them. Good inspiration for presents too!

  2. Thanks Jo - I think you'd like Julie and Julia actually - you could read it with a cheeseboard and a litre of tea:)