Saturday, August 9, 2014
Saturday Discussion: Comfort Reads
The past few weeks have seen a lot of things going on: family member went from sick to really sick to a day in the emergency room to a few days in the hospital to recovering at home and now back to business as usual. Which means lots of stuff to do, disrupted routines, lots of waiting, lots of nerves and not as much sleep as anybody would like. Though the crisis is now past, there's still dust to settle, but thankfully reading is always good medicine, and in the tough times, we still find time to read. It's not selfish, it's not frivolous, and I would argue it's downright necessary for rest and respite.
For a few minutes, hours, even days, we can step through a magic portal into a different world, live other lives, and come back feeling refreshed, restored and ready to tackle the next battle that life has thrown in our general direction. I don't use the term "escape" for such reading, because we do have to return to the issues at hand when our reading breaks are over, but it is respite, a way to plug into hope and assurance and let our brains relax as the story takes us into another time and place.
Comfort reading is different from regular reading for some, if not most readers. When our minds and bodies are worn out from dealing with the increased stress, finding a new book to read may not always be the most pressing thing on our schedule. Rereads of favorite books or authors often fit the bill. Two of my surefire comfort reads are pictured below: Skye O'Malley, by Bertrice Small and Lovesong, by Valerie Sherwood.
Historicals are my go-to comfort read, books I read and loved many years ago. Not a lot of surprises, but there's a certain reassurance in knowing I'm travelling a road I've travelled many times before and will be sure to revisit again. Big, thick, sweeping romantic adventures in times past are exactly what I need when life gets to be too much.
For others, humor is what counts most, or a trip to an idyllic small town tucked far away from life's troubles. Still others want to visit a universe where the supernatural is the most natural thing in the world, or jump into the ongoing saga of long-running characters who are always going to be okay, despite insurmountable odds. I've even found comfort reading in the dystopian world of The Walking Dead graphic novels, because whatever is going wrong in my life can't possibly be as bad as a world where the undead walk the earth and consider me lunch.
So, dear readers, our question today is, what is a comfort read for you? Is it genre, author, a particular book? Maybe it's a type of book, whether it's new to you or not. Can a book you've never read before be a comfort read, if it's of the right author, genre or setting? Settle into our virtual couch and sip your beverage of choice and share your favorite comfort reads, because we can all use a break.