With the all the rain we’ve been getting this week in Philadelphia, it’s a wonder I’ve made it out of my house at all.
On rainy days, many people hunker down on a comfy couch with a warm drink and a good book in order to escape to another place (preferably a drier one). Personally, I like to take it one step further. I like to escape to another person through books.
Biographies, personal accounts, and original correspondences have recently become my way of living variously through anyone I choose, when my own life gets a little too hectic. It’s the ultimate getaway. I crack open my book, and there I am reliving the life of famous authors, artists, socialites, performers, and everyone in between.
If the weather is not so nice, I have painter Paul Gauguin’s Letters from Brittany and the South Seas : The Search for Paradise to bring me to the shores of Tahiti; if I need a jolt of inspiration, I pick up John Lennon: The Life by Phillip Norman to give me that extra boost of creativity; and if I’m feeling utterly romantic, there’s always Gillian Gill’s We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals for a tender (and true!) love story.
Sure, sometimes biographies are dense and a little hard to get through. To be honest, I usually start a biography, stop somewhere in the middle to read a fiction book, and then finish up the bio later. But I think that’s the best way to read them – save them for the critical days when things feel dull or lonely. It’s the perfect diversion from soaked sweaters, soggy shoes, and frizzy hair.
Of course, non-fiction can’t actually change the weather. Eventually I must get back to real life: throw on my annoyingly yellow poncho, take a deep breath, and forge on through the rain drops!
What biographies have you enjoyed? Comment below -- With more thunderstorms in the forecast, I’ll need the recommendations!