Friday, June 13, 2014

Reading for Comfort.

I am most definitely a creature of habit, and one that turns to the familiar when in need of comfort. Sure I love a cup of tea and something yummy to eat when I'm feeling blue, but sometimes, nothing but a book will do.

There are several books that I have turned to repeatedly for a dose of comfort on many occasions.  Not only are some of these books my most favorite of all the books I've read over the years, but they are safe to read, with nothing scary, or uncertain in them: partly because they are so familiar and partly because there is no Stephen King and no thrillers on the list.

The above book is one of those reads for me. It's not the first copy of A Room With A View I've owned (I own several copies), but this one was nice since it had Howard's End as well.  I love EM Forster, and he is definitely one of my favorite go to comfort authors, and A Room With A View is one of my favorite books. There are no major tragedies in the novel (although lots of minor ones, and plenty of muddles).  And I love knowing what's going to happen next, although with so many books I adore, I'd love to back in time to read this book for the first time again!  But I am so glad I can turn to this one and feel a sense of warmth and coziness.  I love Mrs. Honeychurch, and old Mr. Emerson.  The sweet romance that develops between Lucy and George is one that's I'm sure transcends their own prim time, of chaperons and propriety, and can imagine that couple living in a London neighborhood these days.  But just look at this book! It's loved--it' s been bent, packed, and read and well loved for years.  I'd never get rid of it, my most well worn copy of these novels.

There are more of course.  I love Jane Eyre- and have been known to turn to her on my Kindle in heavy New York traffic (while my husband drove and cursed, of course!).

To Kill A  Mockingbird, is another. Yes, horrible things happen, but one you know how it all ends up: the courageous Jem, the elusive but ever present Boo, and Atticus, all intersecting at the end., their presences as comforting to Scout as to the repeat reader.
Gone With The Wind and A Tree Grows In Brooklyn are two more, and I've also found that as I get older, and the circumstances of my life change (from kid, to being a teen, to young adulthood, and into motherhood), I am often affected very differently than I was earlier by these novels.  As a young teen, I just loved spunky Scarlett--but as a mother, many years later during a re-read, I wept as Melanie talked about decorating the graves of the Yankee war dead, just as well as the Confederate ones;  her compassion and sweet spirit were what moved me to tears.

And Jack Finney's Time and Again, the world's greatest time travel novel!  I think I was 12 or 13 when I first read it. I was excited! this book was incredible!  Who wouldn't want to read this fabulous book over and over again in the course of a lifetime?

I am often met with disapproval:  Why would you spend time on books you've already read, when there are so many new ones?  My response is that I re-read the ones I love because I know they make me happy, and they beautify my life with their very presence.  I'm not always re-reading a book. In fact, I often pick up these favorites and just read a few chapters or a favorite scene that I love.

I hope every reader has some comfort reads. What are some of yours?

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