So I’m going to make a long story VERY short. My sister is an amazing person, but she is also two major things: 1) preternaturally attractive to men, and 2) a victim of long-term sexual abuse / abusive relationship escapee.

She recently moved across the country, trying something new, and has been doing fairly well, but not a lot happening in the eligible dating department beyond an older man who has been trying to buy her affections through extravagant gifts.

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Recently, she confessed to finding a man attractive, but he is married and she would never consider going there. She mentioned him to me as someone she got along with, but would need to be careful around so as not to get overly attached. Which is all fine.

Until today, when she tells me that he called her up to tell her that he needed to stay away from her because if he wasn’t married he’d totally go for her.

Which — FUCK THIS GUY. You can think that, but you do not go putting that on someone else, I don’t care about your ‘internal turmoil.’ Deal with your own feelings and handle them appropriately. No one makes a statement like that without expecting some kind of reaction/response. If he ACTUALLY wanted to stay away from her for the sake of his marriage, he wouldn’t tell her that. He’d just do it. By telling her that, it makes it clear that he was hoping she’d reciprocate somehow. It’s manipulative as fuck, and I am super pissed.

But anyway, this isn’t about me.

She is now terribly depressed, and feeling lower than low. She wants to get away for a weekend, and she asked me for some book recommendations, so she’d have something to read to get her out of her own head and let her escape all this bullshit.

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My poor sis does not deserve this headache, but she DOES deserve some good book recommendations. So can anyone offer something up?

A little about her: she’s a lover of history, particularly Eastern Europe and Russia. She loves big sprawling epics. Likes Game of Thrones, but otherwise tends to not gravitate toward fantasy or sci-fi. She likes emotionally grounded books and characters. Families with deep dark secrets spanning generations is totally up her alley. She likes Faulkner, D.H. Lawrence, Thoreau, Jeffrey Deaver, some Margaret Atwood, although I’m not sure how she’d take to the Oryx and Crake series — I think it’s a little too speculative for her tastes. Joyce Carol Oates, Alexander Pushkin, Wuthering Heights. That’s the kind of girl she is.

Our tastes occasionally overlap, but I’m much more a fan of cerebral, intelligent-over-emotional work, witty humor, sci fi and fantasy, etc. So I have to be careful with my recommendations, because I know a lot of my stuff just doesn’t fly with her.

Help me Groupthink, you’re my only hope! (And thanks for helping her, by proxy.)