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You Have a UTI

There's an abundance of literature in this world, but there's also an abundance of shit--good and bad--life can throw at you. Luckily, we're here to assemble the best reads for any situation.

Lauren Oyler

Lauren Oyler

Image by Kat Aileen

You are sleeping peacefully and undroolingly when suddenly a burning, panicked consciousness strikes you from your pelvic region. It is as if you have woken from a nightmare, but no-this hell, you are living it. Swiftly comes the familiar horror of realization: You have a UTI.

Yes, you could turn to Netflix, but film is not the right conduit for the particular fury that develops when your bladder betrays you. Distraction will merely numb your mind; what you need is intellectual transcendence from your fleshy tomb of stinging urinary frequency. It's easier to read while pacing and hopping anyway.

The Collected
by Dorothy Parker

Particularly if it was intercourse with a man that did this to you, there is no better literary commiserate than Dorothy Parker, whose wisecracking laments for the female condition predate your quirky self-deprecating Twitter account by about 90 years. Parker wrote a lot-short stories, articles, reviews, and poems-and many of the pieces in this collection are short enough to fit into the three-to-seven minutes you have between trips to the fucking bathroom.

The Cow
by Ariana Reines

UTI insomnia is an ideal mental state for embarking on weird poetry: you're feeling reckless, vulnerable, and slightly insane. Reminiscent of Beckett or his literary descendent Eimear McBride (whose agrammatical stream-of-consciousness debut sensation A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing would not be bad to pick up, either), Reines's first book of poems is almost comfortable in its grossness, without ever losing its cerebral overtone. "Are you so intelligent your body doesn't have you in it."--I wish!

One More for the People
by Martha Grover

Collected from Grover's long-time zine Somnambulist, One More for the People has a great combination of humor and, after Grover is diagnosed with a rare and scary disease, fraught reckoning with the inevitable and corporeal. Grover's deadpan is as on point as her lengthy critiques of her customers at the cheese counter where she's worked for years, and this book is also broken up into short, demon pee-friendly snippets, in formats that range from the very funny "minutes" from a family meeting to more traditional essays. (You can read an excerpt here.)

The Metamorphosis
by Franz Kafka

You have woken up to a body in the shivering throes of betrayal-a body that is both yours and not yours, a grotesque approximation of what you know in your mind and heart to be true. Your essence is not your person! Your person is not your essence! And what will you tell your boss tomorrow? Do you need to take a half-day? (Don't get these jokes? You should really read this book regardless of the state of your urethra.)

Your lover's Tumblr from 2011

They deserve it.