Comfort Books

What are your comfort books, books you can read again and again, that foster and rekindle your desire to write?

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When life feels all too hard and stressors weigh us down, we often turn to our good friends for advice and comfort. But sometimes we just want to be alone, or we find ourselves awake in the middle of the night and think perhaps our close friends might not appreciate being woken by our need. Often described as blankets of comfort, books we have read and loved before can fill that gap – they can sooth our souls and share our burdens.

Why reread a book?

Rereading an old favourite:

• Allows us to recapture a time when we were not so anxious or sad or worn out,
• Brings us a sense of familiarity in difficult times,
• Allows us to find an outlet for our emotions in ways that feel ‘safe’ because we are already acquainted with them,
• Allows us to remember those things we have already learnt and the skills we now have to help us in our current lives,
• Shows us insight that we may have missed in the first and subsequent readings,
• Gives us deeper insight into our selves,
• Brings us simple joy,
• And helps us feel understood when we feel misunderstood.

Comfort books: the sweet, sad joys of re-reading, an article entitled Comfort books: the sweet, sad joys of rereading written for The Telegraph in 2012, explores this idea further.

My comfort books:

• Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching books (The Wee Free Men, I shall Wear Midnight, A Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith): they are lovely books that remind me that I can find solutions to my problems, that I have the ability to act as a force of empowerment in my own life.
• Anything by Jeanette Winterson, but my all-time favourite is perhaps Sexing the Cherry, which was the first Winterson book I ever read. I can lose myself in the beauty of her writing…and there are so many lines I can find myself in – her books are like my anchors when I and feeling all awash.
• John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars is set to become the latest book to my comfort collection – to be reread in times that require an outpouring of big emotion, a good cry, and a reminder that actually, my life is not all that bad!

Of course, there are many, many more books in my comfort list, this is but a few. I am always on the lookout for amazing books and am curious about the reasons people love particular books. What are your comfort books?

Image: front cover of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars

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