5 books that will take your mind off the post-election turmoil

Step away from the news and restore your spirit by curling up with a good book … one that has nothing to do with Clinton or Trump.

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The election is over, and no matter who you voted for or whether you’re happy or sad about the outcome, you might be in need of a good, distracting, and spiritually fulfilling read. Anything other than your Facebook feed or the news, really. But if you’re struggling to find the right book for your post-election mood (or you’re just a jumble of emotions), this list is for you. We’ve compiled a list of titles with beautiful themes of community, love, and gratitude that will help put your mind at ease. Or, at the very least, offer you a thoughtful, entertaining escape.

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So before the holiday madness starts, set aside a little time just for your soul: Curl up with a cup of tea or a blanket, and start turning those pages. We promise you’ll feel better before you can say “Chapter One.”

The Whole Town’s Talking

by Fannie Flagg

Flagg, the author of the best-selling Fried Green Tomatoes, is back with a sweet tale of a Missouri town whose residents never die. Well, they do, but when Elmwood Springs citizens die and are buried at Still Meadows Cemetery, they are able to appreciate natural beauty and chat with each other. As the decades roll by and the town is affected by American history, its community remains strong, even through changes and troubles.

Don’t I Know You?

by Marni Jackson

For pure fun, read Jackson’s novel-in-stories about a woman who runs into our most famous people without even trying: Meryl Streep, Leonard Cohen, Taylor Swift, John Updike, Joni Mitchell. It’s a witty commentary on the fleeting world of celebrity and fame, and what our culture values, but it’s also a compelling examination of the progress of a single life.

Today Will Be Different

by Maria Semple

Readers who loved Semple’s Where’d You Go Bernadette? will adore this slim new story from its very funny author. The premise—as can be gleaned from the title—is that the protagonist wakes every day vowing to be a better person, in all areas of her life. Naturally, things don’t go as planned. Today Will Be Different asks: What might happen if your already hectic and complicated modern life were upended by finding out your spouse had decided to embrace Christianity? (Lest you be concerned that this is poking fun, don’t worry: the commitment to religion is real and lovely.) Eleanor Flood follows a sort of James Joycean single-day path through Seattle with her idiosyncratic tween son Timby, and finds out. The New York Times called Today Will Be Different “screwball with soul.”

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The Case for Grace: A Journalist Explores the Evidence of Transformed Lives

by Lee Strobel

If you’re looking for hope in the aftermath of Election 2016, Lee Strobel (who has written a number of “Case” books) has gathered many stories about people who experienced radical change in their lives through “the free and unmerited favor of God,” or grace. The spiritual is personal for the author, who was once an atheist and became a Christian after a crisis with his father. A nourishing read.

The Allure of Gentleness: Defending the Faith in the Manner of Jesus

by Dallas Willard

Just gazing at the olive branch on the cover of Willard’s new book may make you feel calmer post-election, and his ideas about spreading Christian ideas certainly will. The author suggests instead of logic and reason as arguments for discipleship, we share stories from our own lives with others. Writers are often counseled “show, don’t tell,” and that may be what’s called for in these uncertain times.

Bethanne Patrick
Bethanne Patrick

Bethanne Patrick is a writer and author whose latest book is an anthology: “The Books That Changed My Life: Reflections from 100 Authors, Artists, Musicians, and Other Remarkable People” (Regan Arts, 2016). Patrick tweets @TheBookMaven, where she has over 215,000 followers, and is on the board of the National Book Critics Circle. She lives with her husband and their daughters in the DC metro area, where she can often be found on her porch—reading.

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