13 Books to Help You Get Over Your Hangups
We’ve all got our own irrational fears. Some of them are typical phobias like fear of heights or fear of spiders. But some of us are ridden with hangups that, while not debilitating, are still enough to take all the joy out of seemingly harmless everyday experiences. Some of them – like fear of missing out – are just niggling anxieties that create jittery feelings inside.
I’m going to cover some fears that you may be experiencing, from the fear of being single to the fear of hippies (yes, it’s a real thing), along with the great audiobooks that can help you get over your aversions.
Fear of Being Single
You’ve done everything possible to avert singledom. You’ve swiped until your fingers are calloused, spent entire weekends answering OKCupid’s questions on your potential partner’s political values and whether or not you’re into leather; you’ve started saying yes to more social engagements and month by month your list of dating ‘deal breakers’ gets shorter and shorter.
I don’t really have a solution. In fact, I’m going to make things worse by recommending The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by the hilarious, and very much married, Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally. This is not only the intoxicating book that Mullally’s and Offerman’s fans have been waiting for. It might just hold the solution to the greatest threat facing our modern world: the single life
This lovable pair met in 2000 and eighteen years later, they’re still very much in love. They’ve finally decided to reveal the philosophical mountains they have conquered, the lessons they’ve learned, and the myriad jigsaw puzzles they’ve completed. Presented as an oral history in a series of conversations between the couple, the book features anecdotes, hijinks, photos, and a veritable grab bag of tomfoolery.
Fear of Change
Some things, like flares and mullets, have stayed firmly in the 1970s. LSD however, is making a comeback. You might not be aware but psychedelic drugs are going through something of a rebrand.
The effects of lysergic acid diethylamide and psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, are being investigated and trialed, both officially and unofficially, for their efficacy in treating a range of mental health issues including depression, anxiety, and addiction. There are also courses offering instruction on “micro-dosing” for businesses and enhancing employee performance (what ever happened to coffee?) In his book, How To Change Your Mind, Michael Pollan combines research, memoir, travelogue, history, and medicine to explore and explain the positive, therapeutic effects of acid on those who suffer mental health problems, and those who don’t.
Trippy or what?
Fear of Missing Out
FOMO is real, y’all. In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns), star of The Office and SNL writer Mindy Kaling offers her hilarious advice on what it’s like to be, in her words, ‘a timid chubster’ and daughter of immigrant parents.
Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). Even if you don’t want the answers to these questions, just listen along for the laughs.
Fear of the Future
Yuval Noah Harari’s first book, the global bestseller Sapiens, told the story of each of us and how we’ve developed into the fine primates we are today. His second book, Homo Deus, did an about-face and focused on the future of our species. In his latest, much slimmer book, Harari poses 21 questions of import. His focus is unsurprising but always enlightening: climate change, immigration, artificial intelligence, and terrorism.
I have a friend who can’t help but scream or shriek everytime he sees some free spirit wearing flares or walking barefoot in city streets. Yes, his aversion is so strong that it elicits a physical and loud reaction. Although I’ve just mocked hippies we can all appreciate their being totally down with peace and love. Paulo Coelho takes us back to that optimistic era to tell the story of Paulo, a skinny Brazilian who wants to be a writer and sets off on a journey of self-discovery. Is this autobiographical fiction, you ask?
Fear of Audiobooks
I get it. You like physical books: the earthy smell, the feel of it in your hand, the way you can fan a selection on a coffee table before guests arrive. But don’t be afraid of audiobooks. They’ve come along way and as the demand continues to grow (rapidly), the production value of audiobooks has kept up, too. Probably one of the most impressive examples is 2017’s New York Times bestselling, Man Booker Prize-winning Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. The book has 126 narrators (stay with me), including some big names: Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, Susan Sarandon, Ben Stiller, Lena Dunham, and the author himself.
Fear of Parenting
Some of us can’t even commit to regularly watering a plant much less having to care for a tiny human being. The thought of this level of responsitibility is enough to send many running for the hills.
In Act Natural: A Cultural History of Misadventures in Parenting, Jennifer Traig explores all the weird traditions that parents have held up through the generations (why do we read kids fairy tales about homocidal stepparents?) and does it with enough humor to remind you that you probably won’t mess up your kids too badly.
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