BORED IN ALABAMA

Dear Susan and Ella:

I am a recent grad school graduate (I just finished my Masters in Library and Information Studies!). But lately I have just been feeling…. “stuck” and bored, like my life is just not going anywhere. Job hunting
has NOT been going my way (and I’m starting to lose hope of getting a job), I had to move back in with my parents, and have pretty much lost interest in everything I usually do. I usually love to read and listen to audiobooks, but lately I find myself reading or listening only to a couple of chapters before losing interest and trying to move on to something else. What’s worse, I have developed an unhealthy Netflix addiction.

I just feel like the world is passing me by and wish my life was more
“interesting” and “adventureful”.

What do you recommend?

Thank you so much!

N, bored in Alabama
Avoid that Netflix addiction! We ourselves have had the Bored in Alabama feeling, and had to cure ourselves with a healthy dose of fiction before we found ourselves hooked on the 692 episodes of The Prisoner TV series. Once we reached number 72, we knew it was time to stop. But we could only be saved by something short, gripping and intense, from the world of fiction. We suggest a bit of a kick up the backside to start with, in the form of True Grit by Charles Portis. This bracing piece of fiction, perfectly formed as a novel, will remind you of the power of determination and self-belief, hopefully also encoursaging you to get out of the house and enjoy your surroundings ( or to go further afield if your immediate surroundings are not enticing!) - as True Grit is fundamentally an outdoor book. Next, administer the medicine of Tom Robbins, who in our experience can cajole the most lackadaisical of readers back into the reading habit. If you haven't read Jitterbug Perfume, dive into that for a rollercoaster ride down the rails of Robbins generous, energetic, invigorating mind. If you've encountered the great Robbins before, Still Life With Woodpecker will resonate with your depressed turn of mind, then we hope, get you out of it. Next, fall into the seductive tones of Cathy Tyson reading The Muse by Jessie Burton. This complex novel explores the relationship between art and creativity, self-expression, fame and femininity. Tyson's Trinidadian accent will invigorate you, and the story will project you back into a world of hope and self-motivation.
With all good wishes,
Ella and Suse
We prescribe - True Grit by Charles Portis
Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins
The Muse by Jessie Burton

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A SLUG WITH VISIONS OF HUMANITYABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP ENDED, LEAVING SCARSADULT ACNEAFRAID OF FAILUREALCOHOLIC DAUGHTERALONE ON A WIDE, WIDE SEAAlways wanted to be a writerANOREXICANXIOUS ABOUT SINGLE FRIENDAT A FORK IN THE ROADAVID READER, LACKING BOOKBEREFT OF A CATBORED IN ALABAMABOTHERED AND BEWILDEREDBRAIN SHRINKING MOMMABROKENBROKEN HEARTBROKEN HEARTED - TORN BETWEEN MALE AND FEMALE BEST FRIENDSBROKEN UP WITH GIRLFRIEND; FEELING BURNT OUTCAN’T MOVE ONCANDIDA REVOLTAIRECan’t afford to go on holidayCAST ASIDECHEATEDCHRONIC PAINCOLD HANDS AND FEETCONCERNED ABOUT DAUGHTERCONFLICTED PARTNERSCRAVING FOOD CULTURECYNICAL STEPSONDAILY ABUSEDARK NIGHT OF THE SOULDEPRESSED AND UNABLE TO READDEPRESSED DURING CHRISTMAS, AND LONELY NOWDESPERATELY WANTON GIRLDIRECTIONLESSEASILY BORED WITH NOVELSEMOTIONALLY SABOTAGED BY MY MOTHEREMOTIONS IN EXTREMEEVER THE FRIEND AND NOT THE PARTNEREXTREME ANGER AND FRUSTRATIONFADING AWAYFALLEN OUT WITH MY FRIENDSFALLING IN LOVE WAY TOO FASTFAZED AND CONFLICTEDFEAR OF CONFRONTATIONFEAR OF GETTING OLDFERTILITY PROBLEMSFOMO (FEAR OF MISSING OUT)FORGING A BRIGHT NEW FUTUREFRIEND WHO HAS LOST A CHILD LATE IN PREGNANCYFRIENDS DAUGHTER LOST TO SUICIDEFrightened of lifeGAPING HOLEGetting over a break-upGIRL OF UNCERTAINTY, BOUND BY RULESGIRL WHO DOESN’T FIT INGRIPPED BY LOSSGUILTY FRIENDHOPELESSNESSHOUSE AND LIBRARY DESTROYED BY FIREI love music more than booksI no longer commute – and therefore I no longer readI PEEK AT THE END OF NOVELS BECAUSE I WORRY THE CHARACTER MIGHT NOT MAKE ITI wish I were famousIN MOURNING OVER LITERARY DEATHSINABILITY TO SIT STILL AND ANXIETYINCONSISTENT AND NON-STUDIOUS- BUT AMBITIOUS NONETHELESSINDECISIVEINSECUREINTERESTED IN EVERYTHING BUT ACHIEVING NOTHINGINVISIBLE WOMANITALIAN NOVEL CURESJILTED AND UNSUREJOB IN LIBRARY UNDER THREATKICKED IN THE HEADLEADENLIVING ON THE MARGINSLONE RANGERLONELY AND DEJECTEDLONELY IN LOVELONELY IN MONOTONOUS JOB, LOSING SANITYLOOKING FOR A SENSE OF PURPOSELOOKING FORWARDSLOSS OF A SISTERLOSTLOW WATTAGELOW-ENERGY PESSIMISMMAD SCIENTISTMARRIED TO A MAN, ATTRACTED TO WOMENMISSED THE BOATMISSING MY MOTHER-IN-LAWMUM GOING BACK TO WORKNEED TO LET GONEW CITY, NEW LIFE -BOOKS FOR 12 YEAR OLD BOY?NEW FRIENDSHIP WITH HOLOCAUST SURVIVORNIGHTMARISH COLLEAGUENOMADIC FLANEURPOST NATAL DEPRESSIONPREGNANT AND ALONE