Dear Mable: Bookish Advice for Real-Life Problems

by  | January 11

Hi, I’m Mable, and I LOVE giving advice. Most of the time it is unsolicited (well..until now.) And all of the time it’s a little harsh, but a good friend should always tell the truth, no matter how ugly it is. So yeah, consider me your best friend because I am here to answer all your questions, and also make fun of your problems a little. I’M JOKING! (Kinda.)

(Related: Enter For A Chance To Win A Man Called Ove —Book AND Movie)

While I’ve fashioned myself a therapist, I’m a book nerd at heart and that means that I’m going to help you solve your problems by recommending the best kind of medicine I know—books. Whether you need help talking to your boss about a promotion or figuring out how to tell your friend to cool it with the artisan doughnut obsession, I’ve got the book for you.

So if you have an issue you need help with, don’t go to a real therapist, come to me! I’m definitely more qualified to help. To submit problems for future columns, please send them to me via email (, Facebook message, or Twitter DM. I promise I won’t share your identity with anyone. Let’s do this!

Dear Mable,

My boyfriend and I just went through a really bad break up and we are in two of the same classes next semester! We specifically chose to take these classes so we could be together, but now we can’t even look at each other! Should I switch my classes? Should I ask him to switch his? I can’t stand the thought of seeing him every class!


Too Stressed to be Blessed

Dear Too Stressed to be Blessed,

This sucks dude!

But also, get over it.

Now you can study for your finals without having to split your time between a dumb boy and quantum physics (that’s a normal college class, right?). It was definitely a pretty bad idea to choose classes to specifically be with your S.O., but we can’t change the past! You definitely CANNOT change your schedule either, because if you do, I’ll never forgive you. More importantly, Michelle Obama will never forgive you. Yeah, I’m bringing in the big guns here.

Michelle, the most perfect human of them all, has spoken extensively on female education, saying “there is no boy at this age that is cute enough or interesting enough to stop you from getting your education,” and the same thought process applies to ex-boys too. Our fav First Lady rounds out her argument with this mic-drop quote: “If I had worried about who liked me and who thought I was cute when I was your age, I wouldn’t be married to the president of the United States.” Damn, Michelle. So yeah, you can’t move your classes around. Sorry, I don’t make the rules, Michelle does.

To really hit the *PRIORITIES* point home, I’m prescribing you Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age. You may have heard about her before, but Amani Al-Khatahtbeh founded the #1 blog for Muslim women in high school. (And you can’t even stand up to a pimply jerk at your private liberal arts college? Girl, you’re better than that.) Amani spent her time in college creating a safe space for Muslim women and fighting the Islamaphobia that is running rampant in this country—so get your shit together. Go to class, show up your ex, and focus on more important things.



Dear Mable,

My die-hard vegetarian cousin wouldn’t stop harassing me for eating meat at Christmas! She was being so self-righteous, saying “meat is murder,” and asking if I even had a conscience. I respect that she doesn’t eat meat, but she’s so aggressive about her beliefs. I have to see her at family events fairly often—what should I do?


Where’s the Beef? 

Dear Where’s the Beef?,

First of all, let’s have a moment of silence for all the bacon your cousin has missed out on.

Now let’s acknowledge the fact that there is nothing worse than peer pressure, especially from a family member. Just because someone doesn’t see eye to with you doesn’t mean they are stupid or inferior (Disclaimer: this does not apply to Trump supporters). With that in mind, the best way to deal with your cousin is to gift her The Vegetarian by Han Kang.

A terrifying novel about a woman named Yeong-hye who becomes a vegetarian after being plagued by nightmares of blood and violence, Kang’s tale explores the divisiveness of moral choices, and the lengths people will go to force conformity. Described as a Kafka-esque novel with depths as dark as night, The Vegetarian will hopefully scare the superiority complex right out of your cousin! (Shh, it makes sense, don’t think about it too much.)



Dear Mable,

I have one week left until my grad school application is due and I have NO idea what I want to do with my life! HELP!


Dazed and Very VERY Confused

Dear Dazed and Very VERY Confused,

HONEY! You gotta figure it out ASAP! I know that it’s scary because there are so many life paths to choose from—you could follow your dreams and make no money, you could sell out and work in finance, you could busk in Central Park, or you could incur more debt by going to grad school.

KIDDING, you’ll be in debt no matter what you do.

All jokes aside, you need to figure out what you want to do, because you’ll never forgive yourself if you miss out on your dream because of indecision. I’m going to recommend two titles for you, which you will need to speed-read if your grad school application is due in one week! The first is You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. If reading that title doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know what will. Jen Sincero breaks down how to stay inspired, and stay on track to achieve all your goals in a hysterical and relatable way. Honestly, it’ll change your life.

If, however, you aren’t a linear planner, or don’t feel that the office life is the way for you, I suggest you read Do Cool Sh*t: Quit Your Day Job, Start Your Own Business, and Live Happily Ever After. This down to earth guide will help you realize that you don’t need a 9-to-5 to be happy, no matter what your baby boomer parents think.

You can’t pick a wrong career if you read these books (unless you decide to start promoting FitTea on Instagram). So get reading, and get living!




Stop by every month for more bookish advice for all of life’s little (or big) problems. Because really, what can’t be solved with a book?