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
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?