Comfort Books

He that loveth a book will never want for a faithful friend, a wholesome

counselor,a cheerful companion, an effectual comforter” Isaac Barrow.

Its no great secret that the last 2 months have been very intense.  Everything from the low of my fall, to the high of my PCOS diagnosis, and then all the moments in-between, have  created an intense time! Aside from the outlet provided by this blog, and long chats with my family (and much time on my knees in prayer), one of the greatest sources of release and comfort can be found within my personal library.

Any visitor to my home can not help but notice scores of books on nearly every open wall.  These books are diverse and cover a variety of topics- both fiction and non-fiction. The amazing thing is if you pull out any book from my shelf, a story will immediately pop out of my mouth.  For instance, you might pull a philosophy book and hear me ramble on about ‘this professor’ or ‘that theory….”.  Or you might pick a chick lit book and hear a story of how I rested on the beach while reading it and how happy I was.

By chance you might pull what I call a ‘comfort book’ and quickly you will hear me sigh “ahhhh….I love that book.”  These are books that I could and have read many times- each time feeling at home with the characters and stories.  They truly are like old friends.

I wish I could easily quantify  what goes into these types of books; however, it is just a feeling the book exudes that makes me want to return to it again and again. These books make me happy and help me feel loved.  They also somehow make me  feel unique but part of a group? They make me cry and laugh, but most of all they involve me in the characters- characters that I love.

Probably the earliest comfort book I grew attached to was Little Woman.  Like most American girls, I related to the stories of the each girl and wanted to see them happy.  I wanted to take care of them but loved that Marmee was there.  The knowledge of such a mother was comforting. Also the ambition of Jo is easy to relate to.  Her ambition makes me feel like I can do anything.

Another comfort book is Anne of Green Gables.  In the first of the series, the dream-like mind of Anne is so beautiful.   It is the best capture of childhood wonder I’ve ever read.  To this day, I feel like I am floating  while reading it.  Anne is such a lovable, wonderful character, and I can’t read the books without wanting her to be happy. Its a perfect comfort book.

Others that I love- some of these I’ve mentioned other places on the blog

1. Cheaper by the Dozen

2. From Mama’s Bank Account

3. All Jane Austen

4.  All Elizabeth Gaskell but especially North and South

5. The Complete Poems of Elizabeth Bishop

6. The Delicacy and Strength of Lace

7. Gilead

8.  My Life in France

9. Red China Blues

10.  Jane Eyre

11. A Year in Provence

12. To Kill a Mockingbird

13. Cry the Beloved Country

14.  Adam Bede

15. Room with a View/Howards End

16.  Incidents in the life of a slave girl

17. The Hiding Place

18. The Secret Garden

19.  James Herriot books

20.  Christmas Carol

(The Help was a good comfort book but it hasn’t been around long enough to bare repeated viewings! )

I’m sure there are many more comfort reads  I’m forgetting.  Never the less, I’m thankful for all the  books that brighten my spirits when I am down, encourage me when projects are difficult,  and even help me feel loved on a bad day.

What are some of your comfort reads?

6 thoughts on “Comfort Books

  1. Mine’s The Blue Castle – also by L.M. Montgomery. I first read it in college when I was SO swamped I could hardly breathe and it’s been a comfort ever since. I’ve read my way through 4 copies now – literally until they were falling apart. Ahhhhhh. And – fun tidbit – my (gushing) review of it was published in Real Simple under a reader response category titled something like – “Books we Love”. Seeing my name in print was uber-cool indeed.

    1. That is so cool! When did it get published?
      I remember you telling me about that book. I will have to finally check it out.
      Thanks for the comment and have a great weekend! Miss you!

  2. I don’t understand this one “An Affair to Remember/Howard’s End.” Isn’t An Affair to Remember that movie with Cary Grant?
    I liked Red China Blues a lot but it doesn’t really seem like a comfort book to me!
    I love comfort books. My favorites as a teen were An Old Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott, A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle, After the Dancing Days by Margaret Rostkowski and Daddy-long-legs by Jean Webster. Sadly these are all packed away in storage so I haven’t read them in awhile! I love rereading Jane Austen but I have to keep myself from doing it too often so I don’t overdo it.

    1. stupid me. I meant Room with a View! I don’t know what I was thinking! Oh well! I fixed it.
      Those are all good ones. I was tempted to put Girl of the Limberlost on there but when I read it as an adult it was so silly and over-the-top! Daddy Long Legs should probably be on the list. After the Dancing Days and Sarah Plain and Tall are also great choices. Also maybe Matilda or another Roald Dahl (couldn’t decide which one).
      Not all my comfort books are ooey and gooey. I guess I put Red China Blues in because it is like revisiting an old friend when I read it. I feel like I know Jan Wong, and I just love her story so much.

      1. Also, for some reason I do not tire of any of the books listed above. I could probably spend the rest of my life just reading these 20 books and be perfectly content.

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