Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Comfort Books

There is something about the month of January that makes me want to curl up into a ball under my blankets and wait for spring.  If you're a warm weather person like me, you probably feel the same way.  Possibly you find yourself sighing more than usual this month, or feeling slightly desperate when you look out your window and see nothing but grey for the eighteenth morning in a row.  Or maybe you start to wonder whether green grass and blue sky ever actually existed at all.

It's times like these I start to crave my comfort books.

Some people solve the January blues with comfort foods, comfort sweat pants, comfort music, or comfort movies.  But personally, I find the best antidote to January to be a supply of well-loved books.  These are more like old friends than they are stacks of bound paper.  For example: 

Last week, I saw one of mine on a shelf at an antique mall (it was Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) and I had an actual moment of confusion in which I stopped with my mouth open, ready to smile and say hello, before I realized it was a book and not a person.  A second dilemma developed at this point, in which I had to fight the impulse to buy the book on the grounds of it being inhumane to leave my friend-book sitting beside a rusty kettle on the shelf like an ordinary item.  I wanted to march up to the shop owner in outrage, cradling Harry Potter to my bosom and shouting that this was not just any book she had sitting on her shelf like some kind of common antique!  This was my friend!  Thankfully, I recovered my common sense and walked on without causing a scene, but not without experiencing a pang of regret for Harry.

That is what I mean about comfort books.  When you run into them at book stores and thrift stores--and antique malls--you feel a stab of fierce ownership for them, and sometimes feel compelled to buy them even when you own at least one copy already.  This is because, like any dear friend, they loyally offer you comfort every single time you pick them up.  Here are some of mine; some of the books I reach for when the world turns into endless, iron winter and I just need a friend-book:

I suppose Harry Potter goes without saying.

Also, Ella Enchanted

Peter Pan

The Chronicles of Narnia

The Lord of the Rings

Pride & Prejudice

Anne of Green Gables


The Princess Academy

Goodnight Moon (before bed, of course)

What about you?  Do you find yourself craving familiarity and comfort books during the long weeks of January?  What are some of yours?