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Author Topic: Actual chicken soup for the soul  (Read 3533 times)

Sefiru

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Actual chicken soup for the soul
« on: April 19, 2018, 06:49:24 pm »
I'm sure everyone in North America is familiar with the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books - those collections of generically nice anecdotes that IMO are more like spiritual ramen flavor-packets than actual soup. So my question is, what works of literature do you find are spiritually nourishing for you?

I've amassed a list of go-to titles for when I need some warm fuzzies. (A common theme seems to be that these are works where good decisions, rather than bad decisions, advance the plot.) In no particular order:
- Some of Mercedes Lackey's novels
- The Martian
- The Liaden Universe novels
- This Avengers fanfic (which is actually about emotional healing) and its sequels
- Assorted incredibly fluffy romance fanfics that I'm too embarassed to link to.

Redfaery

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Re: Actual chicken soup for the soul
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2018, 07:08:46 pm »


I'm sure everyone in North America is familiar with the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books - those collections of generically nice anecdotes that IMO are more like spiritual ramen flavor-packets than actual soup. So my question is, what works of literature do you find are spiritually nourishing for you?

If I'm totally honest, I'd have to say stuff about Saraswati Devi, though it's hard to find writing specifically focused on Her. Nonetheless, the pieces I've pulled together really inspire me. In fact, hunting down more information has itself become a sort of devotional activity for me.

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Re: Actual chicken soup for the soul
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2018, 11:24:16 pm »
So my question is, what works of literature do you find are spiritually nourishing for you?

I'm a rather odd person, but some books that really work magic to improve my emotionsare:
1)The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
2)The War of The Worlds
3)Fahrenheit 451
4)The Lord of the Rings (the entire saga, not just one book)

I realize that some of these are very odd choices for "feel good" books, all things considered, but the messages of all of them really resonate with me. They all have relatively hopeful endings (even 451; compared to other dystopian novels, at any rate), and the light always triumphs over the darkness.

Spoilers: 1) the White Witch is defeated and Aslan is reborn 2) the Martian invasion is stopped by disease 3) The protagonist survives and preserves his book 4) The ring is thrown into mount doom and Sauron is destroyed.

All of these endings send the basic message that darkness, no matter how bleak, always gives way to light eventually and that hope always triumphs in the end.
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

JupiterSkies

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Re: Actual chicken soup for the soul
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2018, 11:39:47 pm »
So my question is, what works of literature do you find are spiritually nourishing for you?

-Emerson.  Practically anything by Emerson is like a spiritual text for me, particularly a 1960, battered soft cover I picked up for a quarter in high school.  It was annotated by someone at some point, and I've added to it.  It just brings me a sort of peace when my mind could really use it.  Nature in particular, but also Oversoul and Circles.  This has led to a collection of various anthologies of Emerson, including an 1888 copy of an Emerson anthology that was in the library at Newport, RI (which lead me to have a history happygasm of "EDITH WHARTON COULD'VE HELD THIS BOOK" which is a whole other story).

-The Kushiel trilogy and everything in its associated universe, by Jacqueline Carey (I have a lot of signed first edition copies, she lives on the side of the state I grew up on).  What a mind-blowing bit of work for a sheltered small-town girl.  My first real exposure to sexuality and philosophy I could really identify with.  Lit the burners in my soul, and maybe a weird choice for a comfort read considering a lot of my friends I keep recommending it to have a hard time with the political machinations, but I come back often.  Love as thou wilt.

-If we're going for "my soul is hurt and I need a pick-me-up"... how much I'm in my low will directly correlate to how much Harry Potter fan fiction I'll read. If I'm low, the browser will have so many tabs it's frankly embarrassing.
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Re: Actual chicken soup for the soul
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2018, 08:34:45 am »

This is the stuff I refer to as comfort reading - various of the Lackey novels are also on my list, but a variety of fanfics (I am particularly fond of A.J. Hall's Lust Over Pendle series in this kind of mood, because there's a lovely long chunk of it.) Katherine Addison's The Goblin Emperor has been a more recent addition to the list.

For me, it's about a particular kind of kindness in difficult situations.
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Re: Actual chicken soup for the soul
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2018, 10:45:03 am »
I'm sure everyone in North America is familiar with the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books - those collections of generically nice anecdotes that IMO are more like spiritual ramen flavor-packets than actual soup. So my question is, what works of literature do you find are spiritually nourishing for you?



When I think of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, I think of "stuff people read when they are feeling low and want to feel better."  I have a bit of an odd take on how I approach this.

I rarely go for the traditional 'look how great people can be' kind of thing.  Most of the time, what makes me feel better is when a book really dredges up the muck...when the character go through some stuff, but they come out the other end with the support of people who love them.  I really like the deep struggles.

So, my list of "I am down and want to fix it":

Anita Blake series-  Yes, there is tons of sex in some of her books (which also tends to make me feel better), but I really adore the complexity of her relationships.  There are some of the men in her life that just make me feel good thinking about them.  And pretty much everyone has this horrible, tragic backstory, which works for me too.

Patricia Briggs' werewolf books (Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega series)-  More really good character interaction, and both the main females are really sort of underdogs in their own way...really scrappy and "will do anything to survive" people...I like this!

Ender's game and Ender's shadow series-  I really like Bean.  I identify with characters that are sort of smart and socially outcast, but also socially awkward.  And, another horrible backstory and lots of overcoming the odds.

I think the reason why these work for me is because when I'm feeling bad, I don't want to get lost in stories of people who are doing well...I want to delve into people who are having a horrible time and then make it through (or at least some of them do).  I want to feel like I'm not alone, like my own issues perhaps aren't so big as they feel (because all in all, I have a pretty good life, even when I'm going through stuff...especially compared to the characters in some of my favorite books)
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Lykeios Lysios

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Re: Actual chicken soup for the soul
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2018, 12:49:04 pm »
I'm sure everyone in North America is familiar with the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books - those collections of generically nice anecdotes that IMO are more like spiritual ramen flavor-packets than actual soup. So my question is, what works of literature do you find are spiritually nourishing for you?

Great question!

My picks:
  • A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  • The Silmarilion by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
  • Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
  • Small Gods and Mort by Terry Pratchett
  • Magician by Raymond E. Feist
  • The Obsidian Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey
  • Neutronium Alchemist series by Peter F. Hamilton
  • Various others I can't think of right now...


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Sefiru

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Re: Actual chicken soup for the soul
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2018, 06:59:33 pm »
Patricia Briggs' werewolf books (Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega series)-  More really good character interaction, and both the main females are really sort of underdogs in their own way...really scrappy and "will do anything to survive" people...I like this!

I liked the Alpha and Omega books too ... I think for me it was because the protagonists' relationship isn't used as a cheap source of conflict, and they are shown to really trust and support each other.

It's fascinating to see the different reasons everyone has for picking comfort reading, even when talking about the same works.

Sefiru

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Re: Actual chicken soup for the soul
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2018, 07:05:06 pm »
I am particularly fond of A.J. Hall's Lust Over Pendle series in this kind of mood, because there's a lovely long chunk of it.

I Googled that right away and I 'm looking forward to reading it, just from the description. I like a good manners story. Oh, and speaking of: Forward Momentum, a Vorkosigan fanfic that is now my head-canon, and involves lots of good things happening to everyone.

Sefiru

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Re: Actual chicken soup for the soul
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2018, 07:05:53 pm »

My picks:
  • A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  • The Silmarilion by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
  • Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
  • Small Gods and Mort by Terry Pratchett
  • Magician by Raymond E. Feist
  • The Obsidian Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey
  • Neutronium Alchemist series by Peter F. Hamilton
  • Various others I can't think of right now...

Have you notice any common themes among the works you've picked?

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Re: Actual chicken soup for the soul
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2018, 08:14:01 pm »
I Googled that right away and I 'm looking forward to reading it, just from the description. I like a good manners story. Oh, and speaking of: Forward Momentum, a Vorkosigan fanfic that is now my head-canon, and involves lots of good things happening to everyone.

It's probably worth mentioning that it was written before the last couple of HP books, originally, and is totally not canon for how things ended, but that's okay, there's some incredibly awesome weapon's grade snark. It takes itself just the right amount of not-seriously.

(I also like the Vorkosigverse crossovers there, which reminds me that Curse of Chalion also falls into that particular kind of comfort reading space for me.)
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MadZealot

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Re: Actual chicken soup for the soul
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2018, 07:17:58 am »

I've amassed a list of go-to titles for when I need some warm fuzzies. (A common theme seems to be that these are works where good decisions, rather than bad decisions, advance the plot.) In no particular order:
- Some of Mercedes Lackey's novels
- The Martian
- The Liaden Universe novels
- This Avengers fanfic (which is actually about emotional healing) and its sequels
- Assorted incredibly fluffy romance fanfics that I'm too embarassed to link to.

Ooo. Lists.  ;D

My feel-good list is kind of off-kilter, like me. It includes:
- The Gunslinger by Stephen King. I love genre mashups, but it's the tone & voice that really hook me. Every damn time.
- On Writing by the same. I find myself turning to either (or both) whenever work on my Great 'Murrican Novel feels like it's going sour.
- Certain works I read as a kid. I guess they help me hole up and feel a little innocent for a while. Elric stories are great, Elfquest too, and Lovecraft, if his rampant xenophobia isn't too prominently displayed.  Currently I'm working thru Weis & Hickman's annotated Dragonlance Chronicles. (Why the fuck were these never made into movies?) After those I might crack open Salvatore's Icewind Dale trilogy. I remember those being quite good.

Also my feelgood list includes some fave TV.
- Babylon 5. The best TV scifi ever made. (Apologies to the Trek fans in the house, but I'll fight you.) (Oh, and The Expanse might dethrone B5 as best SFTV. Might not, too, but it'll be close.)
- Firefly.
- Longmire.
- Deadwood.
- Justified.

Notice a theme in the last 4? Yeah, they're all kind of Western-y. I know. I also have to make sure I don't watch too much of em at once. Justified makes me twang too much, and Deadwood inspires me to drop too many c-bombs.
But, with all these, I just love hanging with the characters.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2018, 07:26:28 am by MadZealot »
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Sefiru

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Re: Actual chicken soup for the soul
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2018, 07:03:12 pm »
After those I might crack open Salvatore's Icewind Dale trilogy. I remember those being quite good.

I had those! And they were. I can still recall some of the more dramatic scenes. The trilogy that came right before them (with Drizz't's origin story) was good too; the rest of the novels in that series, not so much.

Hariti

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Re: Actual chicken soup for the soul
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2018, 09:34:02 pm »
I had those! And they were. I can still recall some of the more dramatic scenes. The trilogy that came right before them (with Drizz't's origin story) was good too; the rest of the novels in that series, not so much.

Honestly, I think they were all great. Certainly, the middle novels were less good than the first two sagas, but I still found them enjoyable. If you haven't read the Cleric's Quintet, they were exceptionally good, and the some of the more recent ones have been as well. I particularly enjoyed the companions saga. (If you haven't read them, I recommend it).
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

shadowsiren

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Re: Actual chicken soup for the soul
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2018, 11:43:28 am »
I'm sure everyone in North America is familiar with the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books - those collections of generically nice anecdotes that IMO are more like spiritual ramen flavor-packets than actual soup. So my question is, what works of literature do you find are spiritually nourishing for you?

I've amassed a list of go-to titles for when I need some warm fuzzies. (A common theme seems to be that these are works where good decisions, rather than bad decisions, advance the plot.) In no particular order:
- Some of Mercedes Lackey's novels
- The Martian
- The Liaden Universe novels
- This Avengers fanfic (which is actually about emotional healing) and its sequels
- Assorted incredibly fluffy romance fanfics that I'm too embarassed to link to.


I tend to read whatever I can get my hands on but when I'm feeling especially down/overwhelmed/anxious I tend to reach for:

- the Fitz & Fool books by Robin Hobb (respectively: The Farseer Trilogy, The Tawny Man Trilogy, and The Fitz and the Fool Trilogy.) These can be a bit "slow moving" at times but they really let you just sink in and luxuriate in the characters and their lives. Plus, the Fool has held the dubious honor of "Most Favorite Literary Character" against all comers since I finished Assassin's Apprentice for the first time in 2004.
- The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings.
- Both the Anita Blake and the Merry Gentry books by Laurell K Hamilton
- any of the Kushiel's Legacy books by Jacqueline Carey
- American Gods and The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
- The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- Macbeth, King Lear, As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing, The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
- The Belgariad and the Mallorean by David Eddings
- The Troy Game series by Sara Douglass
- any books by Juliet Marillier
- The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
- assorted trashy romance novels selected at random by whatever is available at my library's online service
- fanfiction across a variety of fandoms. Between fanfic and trashy romance novels I usually have a half dozen tabs open on my computer/tablet at any given time. It's my "in passing while I'm doing chores" and "the baby fell asleep in my lap again" reading.
- assorted sewing, soaping, and pagan blogs


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