12 Books For Lent To Help You Survive, No Matter What Luxury You've Decided To Give Up
It's Lent. Time to herald the approach of spring by denying yourself the crutch that kept you sane in the clutches of a hellish winter. Sure, there are emotional risks. Sadness: You might be reduced to a puddle of tears in a puddle of snow. Longing: You might compensate with a bad ex-boyfriend or 27. Anger: You might throw the cat out the window. But hey, it's Lent, we all gotta make some sacrifices.
I really like the idea of self-denial, but probably for all the wrong reasons. First off, when you tell your friends you’re not eating meat for a month you can feel super superior, which is fun. Second, when your 40 days are up, my god will that crack-of-the-Easter-dawn Bloody Mary taste fantastic. And don’t forget the little chocolate eggs. Eat all the chocolate eggs!
But giving up the little vices that make life pleasant can be... unpleasant. And it’s best not to go it alone. So while you're toiling away your purer February days, might I suggest a few books? Because just because you can’t sin doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it in others.
If You're Giving Up Specific Foods
Do not read these books in or near your kitchen. Or a grocery store. Or a restaurant. As a matter of fact, just lock yourself in your room with some carrot sticks.
Goodbye, Chocolate: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
As you go into sugar withdrawal, relish the cruel punishments Dahl doles out to those chubby brats who can't control their cravings like you can.
Farewell, Cheese: The Belly of Paris by Emile Zola
There is a five-page segment devoted to the description of a cheese storeroom. The passage is so beloved it has its own name — The Cheese Symphony. The Cheese Symphony! Dance, dance to the symphony of the cheese. In your mind. Don't eat cheese.
Arrivederci, Buffet tables: The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Puddings, roasts, bangers, mash. Cauldron cakes, Pumpkin juice, treacle tart. Yeah, you and I wanted to go to Hogwarts for the same reasons.
If You're Giving Up Alcohol
Warn your friends, family and others. You're gonna be a lot more boring in the nighttime and disgustingly chipper in the morning. Did you know light doesn't hurt your brain before noon?
For Beer-Drinkers: McCarthy’s Bar: A Journery of Discovery in Ireland by Pete McCarthy
Pete McCarthy drinks his way across Ireland in bars that bare his name. This is one of the few cases when white-manning is excellent.
For Wine-Drinkers: Plato's Symposium
Because what's more fun for a wino than getting a load on and pontificating?
For "I'll Drink Anything That Gets Me Drunk"-Drinkers: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Just reading this book will make you drunk. The Sun Also Rises is so sodden with alcohol the pages are damp.
If You're Giving Up Television
Don't worry, sweeps are over so you won't be missing much.
For TV-Bingers: Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman
Alternatively titled, "I was the most popular girl in prison and it was so hard."
For Fake-News Junkies: Naked Pictures of Famous People by Jon Stewart
What would Adolf Hitler say if he were on Larry King? Enter into the mind of your favorite fake news anchor.
For Tina Fey Fans (Or, For All People): Bossypants by Tina Fey
Fey-i-ness is next to godliness.
If You're Giving Up Smoking
These books are not about how great it is to smoke. You should just quit smoking forever. (Maybe no one ever told you this, but did you know smoking is bad for you?) Smokers: Life is your Lent!
For Chain-Smokers: Golden Holocaust by Robert Proctor
Hah, isn't funny how many billions of dollars there are to be made by the corruption of your lungs, throat, mouth, air, and world? Hilarious.
For Sarcastic Smokers: Thank You For Smoking by Christopher Buckley
Keep the sarcasm.
For Writer-Smokers: X20, A Novel of (Not) Smoking by Richard Beard
Here's someone to quit with who cannot bum you a smoke. He's a fictional character.
If You're Giving Up Swearing
For Poets: The Complete Poems by Philip Larkin
Specifically, look for "This Be the Verse." Then your parents.
For Novelists: The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan
Cursing, out of the mouths of babes.
For Children: Go The F[moon]k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach
Shh, it's going to be OK. You'll wake up on Easter Sunday and have fun again. Just go the f^ck to sleep.
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