Books for Hangover

We have all been there: woken up to the excesses of the night before. Wondering whether we have it because we drank too little water. Or because we skipped lunch. Maybe it’s a chemical reaction from mixing red and white wine? Because we were tripping the light fantastic like there’s no tomorrow? None of the above. We have a hangover because we drank too much alcohol. Now we have to deal with it.

There isn’t a beauty- or wellness blog on the Internet that does not give us advice for coping with a big, fat party season hangover. They helpfully rate the various herbal infusions and droplets of milk thistle we’re supposed to sip to cure our gueule de bois, so take your pick. A friend swears by spirulina tablets, taken generously in the morning. Another gulps down soft drinks engineered for athletes. Greasy fry-ups are favoured by most. I like the homeopathic approach – fighting toxins with more toxins. Meaning McDonald’s. There are conditions that french fries with a generous serving of mayonnaise cure better than the fanciest tisanes of this world. 

If your hangover is of the manageable kind, you might contemplate entertainment of some sort – mainly of the sort that does not include flashing lights and loud noises. Books are perfect for this (even if you only manage half a page before dozing off, having read a book while hungover will instantaneously make you feel extremely virtuous).

Anything by Nora Ephron is suitable. I especially like her “I Remember Nothing and Other Reflections”. Entertaining, short stories, which is a bonus as you will not be able to concentrate very long anyway. Her films are also an acceptable alternative.

“Swing Time” by Zadie Smith. The story is captivating enough to hold your attention, but not too intense to put your fragile mind off reading. 

“The Dinner Party” by Joshua Ferris. A nice collection of essays about everyday people going about their everyday lives, but with a fantastic dose of tragic comedy. Great contemporary American pieces.

“I’ve been drunk for about a week now, and I thought it might sober me up to sit in a library”,  F. Scott Fitzgerald once said. He famously incorporated drinking alcohol in nearly all of his stories. A pocket-size compilation “On Booze” is a fun snapshot of the Jazz Age à la The Great Gatsby and small enough to neatly fit on the plastic tray next to your quarter pounder and fries.

If your hangover is nearly unmanageable and absolutely cannot be cured with lighthearted short stories about pretty people, worry not. You are not alone in your self-flagellation and remorse. Your last night’s off-key karaoke performance of Sia’s Chandelier is nothing, nothing in the larger scheme of things. Walk a mile in Marianne Faithfull’s shoes. Her “Memories, Dreams and Reflections” will put things in perspective. Fast forward 365 days and none of your colleagues will remember your drunken antics.

What should you absolutely not read?

Stay away from anything that says wellness/health on the cover and is written by former models/impossibly glamorous actors (Cameron Diaz’s “The Longevity Book”, I’m looking at you). If possible, also avoid their wheatgrass smoothie -filled websites. It is not good for you anyone to see so much glowy, dewy, yogic goodness on a fragile day like this. 

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