On Missing Friends and Turning 30 ‘Literary Axis’


September 29, 2022, 1:51 pm

you welcome in Life tips for book loversLit Hub advice column. Tell me what’s eating you up in an email to deardorothea@lithub.com, and I’ll tell you what to read next.


Dear Dorothea,

A wonderful, close, wonderful friend died suddenly. We are both devastated, but over time, after the five phases of the Grief Angle, we will need to renew and respond to that grief. Are there any books you could suggest?

(Our girlfriend) had dogs, champions, and we were lucky to have some with us, she was ‘Grandma’.

Thank you,

dear sadness,

First, I am very sorry to hear the news of your friend. I hope you and your community find the care you need during this difficult time. Although there are no words anyone can offer to improve this, perhaps you will find some solace in Sigrid Nunez the friend? It tells the story of a woman following the loss of a close friend and mentor. She left with so much unexpected grief–her friend had left her on the leash of the Great Dane. The bond they form is healing and life affirmation. Hopefully here he talks to you as you move forward.

Also, I just want to say how wonderful it is that you still have some of her heroes with you; It’s a beautiful legacy you left, isn’t it? All these dogs – bundles of joy – in the world, it’s all because of her. I’m sure she lives in all of them.

All the love,


Dear Dorothea,

I signed a lease and was supposed to move into a newly renovated apartment a couple of months ago, but all inspections were put on hold and I was living in a very small Airbnb with my friend and our cat (who keeps spotting mousetraps for very dead mice).

I’m also leaving on a trip in ten days and I’ll be 30 while on vacation – so a lot is happening and I feel robbed of this time to think about my twenties and look into my thirties.

Was also stagnant reading from stress but I’m looking forward to reading something now! Fave authors include Clarice Lispector, Anne Carson, Elena Ferrante, Lace W. Muniz, Donna Tarte, Virginia Woolf, and Miku Kawakami.

Thank you,
Twenty-nine and I feel like crying <3

Dear twenty-nine,

happy birthday!! I have a funny feeling that your thirties are going to be your best years yet. (There must be a reason, after all, in the hit movie 13 Go on 30Jennifer Garner is really stepping into her twenties!)

It seems your daily life has been a whirlwind lately. I hope your vacation gives you a moment to pause. (Or at least, a few quiet moments where you can rest your weary head on the car/train/plane window and feel like you’re in a sad movie montage—the best time for deep reflection in life!” by Cranberry.)

Since it is your 30th birthday, I will recommend not just one or two books, but three. (Hope you find your sensitivity to this scale satisfactory.)

Depending on your taste, I think we will be very good friends. So, my dear friend, I will first recommend Miranda Jul choose you. This book is like candy. If you have a stagnation in reading, start here. It’s formatted like a scrapbook, resulting from Miranda’s July postponement upon completion of the script. Instead of working, consume Benny Sever Classified ads and interviews with people featured in them. Everything in these pages, every person, every word feels like space for that rare self-reflection wandering around the sun.

Second, there’s Kristen Smallwood the life of the mind. Meet Dorothy: a disillusioned woman who is an assistant professor teaching Apocalypse writing. I had a miscarriage. She is in a perfectly good relationship. She’s manipulating therapists because she doesn’t fully trust either. I found this book to be the perfect packaging for growing up, uncertainty, and looking extremes boldly in the eye.

And finally: Grace Bali Huge changes at the last minute Simply because her style will speak to you. In the plot: “The absolute line between two points I have always despised. Not for literary reasons, but because it takes all hope away. Everyone, real or invented, deserves the open fate of life.” I hope you find the open fate of life on the verge of thirty, in your time away from the hectic context of your ordinary days.

Here are thirty, flirty, and thriving!

<3 Dodo

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