Okay ... picture this (really) worst-case scenario: It’s cold and raining, your boyfriend/girlfriend has just dumped you, you’ve just been fired, the pile of unpaid bills is sky-high, your beloved pet has recently died, and you think you’re coming down with a cold. All you want to do (other than hiding under the covers) is to curl up with a good book, something warm and comforting that will make you feel better.Well, it definitely wouldn’t be the Bible, our house not being equipped with one! But I’ve got plenty of other choices. First, there’s romantic comfort reading: happy ending guaranteed. Or cozy mysteries; a bit of a puzzle to distract me and the knowledge that things will work out for pretty much everyone except the corpses. Or a historical or fantasy novel, something that can transport me to a totally different time/world/whatever. Or something funny, like Janet Evanovich or Gerald Durrell or Douglas Adams or Ben Elton, that has a good chance of making me laugh - or at least smile. Or a trip back to my young(er) days with Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder or The Dark is Rising sequence by Susan Cooper. The last is actually 5 books in 1 volume, so it would keep me going for a while!
What do you read?
(Any bets on how quickly somebody says the Bible or some other religious text? A good choice, to be sure, but to be honest, I was thinking more along the lines of fiction. Unless I laid it on a little strong in the string of catastrophes? Maybe I should have just stuck to catching a cold on a rainy day….)
Actually, it occurs to me that the bulk of what I read could be classified as comfort reads. My fondness for reading only turned into the current full-blown obsession when I needed something to fill the void that for a normal person would be occupied by a social life. No matter how stultifyingly dull real life is, I always have my books to come home to. If I’m unhappy, escape is usually within arm’s length; and there’s an almost endless array of other places and other times and other lives that I can visit for a while. And books make wonderful companions: ever-present and always reliable.