3 books to read if you’re scared of what’s going on in the world
Have you been overcome by world pain for some time? Maybe the following book tips can help you. We recommend three books that you should read when the suffering of the world is too much for you.
the world hurts For many of us, world pain translates into helplessness and resignation. That’s our right – we don’t have to be ashamed of it. Two years of the pandemic are behind us, and the war in Ukraine worries us. Added new ones reports to the climate crisis – and they look extremely worrying – genocide, terrorism and people drowning in the Mediterranean Sea trying to escape. Not to mention private problems such as mental illness, grief or money worries. So we rightly ask ourselves: Doesn’t that ever stop?
At the same time we blame ourselves. Allegations that our hands are tied. We can only help to a certain extent, such as through charity work or donations. Accusations that even these tasks are too much for us. Because world pain paralyzes us.
But do we have the right to feel pain when people fear for their lives just 100 kilometers away? Yes. Because pain doesn’t need judgment. Pain is not comparable. Pain has a right to exist.
3 books against world pain
Of course we are privileged. We don’t sit in bunkers and hear bombs falling elsewhere. And we’re not sitting in rubber boats on the open sea and have lost our home. Nevertheless, this terrible news does something to us. They take away our hope that one day things will get better. They sap our strength to fight injustice and violence over and over again, while all our efforts are quickly ruined.
Is everything too much for you right now? Do you sit at home because your hands are tied or you simply have no strength left? Maybe the following three books can help you. Some show you that you are not alone with your fears. Others are offering to help you cope with the current headline tide. But maybe they just make sure that you can escape from the real world for a brief moment.
1. How we see the world
Ronja von Wurmb-Seibel is a journalist. She lived in Kabul for two years as a reporter and just recently published her second book “How We See the World” released. In it she describes how news – especially negative news – influences our thoughts and actions. The book is by no means a call to stop consuming news. But it makes you think. Which news should we read and which not? And how could stories be told better so that we don’t end up in “headline burnout”? Wurmb-Seibel explains very nicely how we can perceive everyday life more positively despite these negative spirals.
Favorite quote: “There is a ray of hope in every situation. Sometimes we just have to look very hard and very hard for it.”
2. Beautiful world, where are you
If you are currently less focused on reading guidebooks and more on novels, you could “beautiful world, where are you” by Sally Rooney to make you feel like you’re not alone in the world pain. The Irish author is one of the most successful of her generation. Her third novel is – as you know it from Rooney – mainly about friendship and sex. The only difference: the protagonists come with a little more life experience this time. And yet they wonder what has become of them and the world. The two best friends, Alice and Eileen, exchange emails about human misery. Socialism, Christianity, the climate crisis and depression are discussed here in a witty and philosophical manner. Incidentally, the two are each in love relationships, which bring further questions.
Favorite quote: “And life is a lot more changeable than I thought. I mean, it can be horrible for a long time and then happy later on. It’s not either one way or the other – it’s not put on a certain track called ‘personality’ and follows it up to the end.”
3. It can’t be as beautiful as here in heaven
Considering the circumstances under which Christoph Schlingensief wrote the book “It can’t be as beautiful as here in heaven” wrote, you might ask yourself at first how reading it is supposed to help against world pain. It is a diary that the film director wrote while suffering from cancer (which he succumbed to in August 2010). Perhaps the book is so helpful precisely because Schlingensief looked death in the eye when he wrote it. Maybe that’s why he sees the potential and the true beauty of the world. The book motivates people to stand up for justice, provides reasons why life is worth living and advocates showing pain and wounds openly.
Favorite quote: “No, this earth is so far the only free place in the universe where you can create and also be happy. If mankind understood that you can create, that you can create peace, that this hatred is useless – then it would be this is a sensation, the greatest thing you can ever imagine. […] Probably the greatest idea of freedom is that you can solve a problem.”
Would you like more book tips? Here you will find 3 books against sadness and feminist books.