Monday, September 8, 2008

What mood are you in today?

If you've ever dreamed of having a personal librarian or favorite bookstore employee available round-the-clock to recommend great books to read, you’ll love “1001 Books for Every Mood” by Hallie Ephron.

Unfortunately, my moods change so often there’s barely time to read one chapter of any book, never mind the entire thing. But with 80 separate categories of must-reads, this guidebook offers an abundance of choices no matter how you’re feeling.

The listings begin with “For a Good Laugh” and end with “To Reinvent Yourself.” In between are sections like “for a Walk on the Wild Side,” “Hug Your Dog” and “to Suffer (No) Fools.” Reading the categories might almost be as much fun as reading the books.

There are even recommendations for when you want to “wallow in the slough of despond.” Think of books like: The Bell Jar, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and Miss Lonelyhearts. (And, just for fun, see how people react when you tell them to leave you alone so you can “wallow in the slough of despond.”)

Hallie, who’s also a terrific mystery writer when she’s not playing personal librarian, provides a brief description of each book and rates it by literary merit on a scale of 1 to 4. She adds a symbol if the book is provocative, influential, inspirational, humorous, brainy, easy reader, page turner, challenging, bathroom book, family friendly and/or been made into a movie. Scattered throughout the book are examples of great opening lines and characters, and other trivia of interest to book lovers.

But I do think she might be missing some categories. For example, I’d like to see one for “my teenager has a more active social life than I do.” I suppose “To be Afraid, Be Very Afraid,” “To Get Philosophical” and “For Outrage” are somewhat appropriate, though.

I also searched for books to read for when “my recent college graduate is living at home and doesn’t want to be.” The most applicable options seem to be “To Survive,” “For a Kick in the Pants” and “For Heartburn.”

And what about a category for those days (rare I hope) when you might not be quite as fond of the special person in your life as you should be? There's “To Trip Down Memory Lane,” “For Romance” or “To Love Again.”

These are all great. But quite frankly, there are still days when “to Run Away from Home” and “To Join the Circus” seem most appealing. Fortunately, “1001 Books for Every Mood” offers a myriad of ways to escape without leaving your favorite reading chair.

PS --Some of you may have expected me to blog this week about the GOP VP choice, which is a fascinating subject to me as a political junkie and as a woman, but I don't want to offend anyone -- yet. :)


Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Hey Pat--

You're so right! Hallie's book is downright addictive--there's always one more thing to look at, and one more thing to read.

I heard her at a booksigning recently, and she read down the list of all the "moods" out loud. It was like hearing poetry--the moods in the table of contents are arranged in a very careful and thoughtful flow--try it!

She'll be signing the book at Crime Bake, too, right? (As well as teaching a master class called "Who's on First" about point of view--check the crime bake website for more info!)

Hallie Ephron said...

THANKS SO MUCH for talking up the book. I love your suggestions,and have officially added "for when your teenager has a more active social life than you do” (or maybe it should be for when you're in the mood "to feel sorry for yourself..."-- definitely should have included that).

Anyone who's interested can see a book excerpt on my web site AND we're still running a contest: submit a readers guide for one of the 1001 Books and win a signed copy! (

And seriously, where can I sign up as a member of the PAT REMICK FAN CLUB?


Pat Remick said...

I'd love to have a fan club someday -- maybe when I've written a book good enough to make it into
"1001 Even More Books for Every Mood."

Today I'm feeling like No. 2 son isn't even in my fan club.. Last night's telephone exchange:
Would you like us to fly you home for a visit before Thanksgiving?
No. 2 son: Why would I want to do that?
So what category of book do I read for this situation (good that he loves college, a little sad that he's too busy to miss his parents)??? Guess I'll just go wallow in the slough of despond for the rest of the day.... :)