FADING AWAY

Dear Ella and Suse,

I am a 57 year old male powder blue collar worker (little bit white with a little bit blue). I've spent my adult working life devoted to my wife and children at the expense of having any hobbies and having mostly acquaintances and very, very few friends.

My work situation changed last year which took me from a white collar position and deposited me into a blue collar position. As a result, I have a smaller salary, few responsibilities and fewer challenges. This has led me to think of myself as being in the process of becoming irrelevant. Seeing as how I am not a great man and have very limited prospects for conquering the world, I could sure use a book that would either help me to accept my decline into irrelevancy and oblivion, or one that could persuade me that the best is yet to come. 
Thanks,
Fading Away
Dear Fading,
You must not fade! Do not accept your gradual exclusion from the world of colour. You still have the chance to do something great, even if it is not in the world of work. And doing something great doesn't have to mean changing the world in some way, it might just mean going on a journey, learning how to make Raku pots, or adopting a tiger in the Himalayas. To give you inspiration for this, we give you The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasalinna, a unique Finnish book that takes a bored middle-aged man into the wilderness of Finland, when he decides to go off with a wild hare into the unknown. It may sound crazy, but it is told in a very matter of fact style, and is oddly believable and deadpan in tone. The overrall feel of the book is upbeat.
On a more spiritual date, Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha will have you pondering spiritual issues, which will take you out of your preoccupations with your status in society. In Siddhartha, a man starts off life as a prince- gives all his money away - follows the Buddha - then finds materialism again, has a wife and children - and ultimately ends up on his own spiritual path. This novel will help you to ponder what it is that you really want out of life, now. 
On a lighter note, The 100 Year Old Man who Jumped out of the window and Disappeared is a comic, positive novel all about a man who seizes every opportunity to live life to the full. He is irreverent, lucky and charmed, but for all his absurdity, he leaves you feeling like you really need to seize your life by the scruff of the neck and live it to the full.
Finally, for a bit of a laugh, which it sounds like you may need, The Invisible Man by H G Wells is a great thriller about a man who is indeed, invisible. Not in a metaphorical sense, as you feel, but in a literal sense. Wells takes this state to the extreme, and his hero descends into a kind of madness, but reading it will take you out of your own worries, and show you how bad things could be if you really were drained of all visibility.
Yours,
Ella and Suse
We prescribe - The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasalinna
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
Year Old Man who Jumped out of the window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
The Invisible Man by H G Wells

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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