I was talking with a friend about the most recent Game of Thrones episode, that is the ones that were so bad. We were talking about how people were opposed to certain events, and I said I had my issues with the books. Mainly, they are not comforting to me. My friend brought up an important point, however; they comfort him because they make more sense than say a lighthearted fantasy comedy that ignores the world. We got into talking about why this was the case if it’s because of where we are in life.
A comfort book reassures you that the world is okay. You can read it so many times that you’ve got it practically memorized. Sometimes you reread that one passage that reminds you life can be fair even when it’s at its unfairest. Or you can see a character residing in your shoes and can tell you that is a comfy pair of sneakers.
Of course, different people have varying tastes on what seems comforting to them. My friend likes to talk about how we handle the harsh realities of our world, while I’d rather read about the possibility of things getting better. Still another friend likes familiar authors, or the classics. It all depends on what we need.
My Comfort Books
I have about a dozen comfort books that I can practically recite. Harry Potter is the most memorable because I would read one book in a day after they were released, once my brother got me into the series. Usually, I keep them by my bedside.
When I read these books, I get a sense of calm joy and security. They create worlds that a person can dive into, whether it’s the world of a princess in New York, a Viking bargaining with a dragon the size of a mountain, or a writer wresting control of her computer from aliens in a parallel universe. Finding a new author or book that can become a comfort helps a lot.
It’s mainly the authors who are reassuring. Some have been with me since childhood and haven’t smashed their pedestals; even if they have, sometimes the words can help you forget reality. Harry Potter, despite the author’s flaws on social media, still rings true with its messages on equality and rising against oppression. Author Diana Wynne Jones, RIP, is always good for a laugh, and she gets the writing life.
Meg Cabot for romance is a reliable comfort author. Her books always make me happy, with romance stories that always lead to a happy ending, or sometimes a bittersweet one. I read her books when I need instant relief.
Right now I’ve downloaded some books onto my Kindle, and I wonder if they will serve as new comfort books. The synopses are promising. Hoping to find new, reassuring words and prose that can ease daily routine.