Comfort Reading When the World is Dark
With everything happening in the world right now, I have found myself falling back on old favorite books. These are stories I read over and over in high school and in my twenties. Reading them again makes me feel safe and comfortable, like spending time with long-time friends who know me well. Most recently, it’s been Nancy Springer’s Books of Isle series: she recently re-released them as a boxed set of e-books and I’m savoring every word. The Silver Sun and The Sable Moon are my two favorites, and it’s been wonderful to roam Isle with Hal and Alan, and to Elwestrand and back again with Trevyn.
My body’s way of dealing with stress is fatigue, and my body has been short circuiting too early for the last couple of months to do much else in the evening than go to bed and read a while before sleep drops on me like a Looney Tunes anvil. I’ve read some great new books since the pandemic erupted, which is a bright spot in the chaos.
But my old books…I know them so intimately, I can almost close my eyes and quote them as I read. The plots are well-worn paths in my mind; no surprises lay behind the turn of the page, but it doesn’t detract from my pleasure or keep me from getting misty-eyed when Alan extracts an oath from a gravely wounded Hal reminding him of the burden of his birth, or when Trevyn unwittingly sacrifices Gwern to the goddess by coming to love him.
What are your comfort books?