The best books for when you’re having an existential crisis that will make you feel better

Lucie Britsch Author Of Sad Janet
By Lucie Britsch

Who am I?

Hi there, I’m Lucie and I’m a writer (allegedly) but before that I’m a human and I know how hard it is to be a human. It’s a constant battle with yourself, the people around you, the world, and it’s exhausting and sometimes it can be too much but we find ways to keep going and books help me do that (as well as crying, screaming, potatoes). I find life absurd most of the time so I have to laugh about it or I’d go insane. And I’m still alive, despite constantly being in a fight with my brain, so I think I’ve got this.

I wrote...

Sad Janet

By Lucie Britsch,

Book cover of Sad Janet

What is my book about?

A black-hearted comedy for anyone who’s dreaded Christmas. Thirty-something misfit Janet works at a rundown dog shelter in the woods trying to block out how sad the world is. Everyone around her pretends to be happy (because they’re all on drugs) and they want her to be happy too, but she’s fine how she is. When a pharmaceutical company claims they’ve created a new pill to make Christmas tolerable, Janet, out of boredom mostly, decides to take the leap. Over the next few months, Janet takes part in a trial of this new drug with hilarious and profound consequences for everyone around her. A misanthropic tale goes awry in this depression comedy with a Fleabag-esque antihero at the centre.

The books I picked & why

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Convenience Store Woman

By Sayaka Murata, Ginny Tapley Takemori,

Book cover of Convenience Store Woman

Why this book?

This is a book that some people have compared to my own book because it’s about a young woman whose family doesn’t understand her and thinks she needs help but she’s working it out herself, trying to live an authentic life. It’s dark, funny, tender, all the things I love. It’s about societal pressures, not fitting in, but also about how the everyday mundane things can save us.

Naïve. Super

By Erlend Loe, Tor Ketil Solberg (translator),

Book cover of Naïve. Super

Why this book?

This book will save your life if you’re like me and often wonder what’s the point? It’s about a young man trying to work out how to live when there are no answers. It’s weird and funny and speaks to me on many levels. It’s about how sometimes we have to have a bit of break down and strip back everything to work out how to move forward.

The Suicide Shop

By Jean Teulé, Sue Dyson (translator),

Book cover of The Suicide Shop

Why this book?

A funny book about suicide, what more do you want? If like me you’re prone to those dark thoughts, you really do have to laugh about it. This book is absurd yes but also has so much to say about human nature and spirit. It’s a cult classic that’s about life, not death, that will make you feel hopeful, the same way I hope my book does.

Set My Heart to Five

By Simon Stephenson,

Book cover of Set My Heart to Five

Why this book?

This book got me out of a funk when I couldn’t feel like reading anything. It’s a book about a robot that wants to write a movie to save humanity after he becomes self-aware. It’s funny and sweet and will make you laugh and cry maybe not worry so much about the imminent robot uprising.

Perfect Sound Whatever

By James Acaster,

Book cover of Perfect Sound Whatever

Why this book?

A beautiful book by one of my favourite comics about one man’s mental breakdown and how music and the people who made it saved him from the worst year of his life. It’s funny and tender and all the music he references was made by people going through their own shit and about how they used their music to save themselves. It’s a book about how we fall apart and how we put ourselves back together and you don’t have to know about music to be moved by it.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in existential crisis, suicide, and sound?

5,810 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about existential crisis, suicide, and sound.

Existential Crisis Explore 9 books about existential crisis
Suicide Explore 83 books about suicide
Sound Explore 16 books about sound

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Norwegian Wood, The Master of Go, and Pachinko if you like this list.