Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Comfort Books, Our Lifetime Companions

   I don't know about any of you guys, but when I'm in trouble or having a bad day, a pint of Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia always makes me feel a little bit better.  That's MY comfort food.  Every one has a different, special or unique thing that makes them feel like everything is going to be okay whether it's food, music, a movie, a t.v. show or a book.  This post was something that came to me last night when I was watching the movie Matilda with my little brother.  I got to thinking about my own personal comforts and I thought it would be fun to do a post about comfort books.  Do you guys have a certain book (or books plural) that you can read a million times and never get tired of?  Is there a book that speaks to your soul in a certain way and it always has the power to soothe you and make you smile?  I have a select set of books that always remind me of who I am when times are tough and showcase the power of the written word.  A few of them even take me back to my childhood, when we were first introduced and started our long-term relationship!  So, without further adieu, here are my best friends of the book world who give the best hugs in the universe:

My Comfort Books (In No Particular Order)

1.   Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

What can I say about something that is so ingrained into who I am as a person?  This was the first book that truly made me question what it would be like to live forever.  Was it really such a good thing or would it be horrible beyond belief?  Plus, watching Winnie stumble as she figures out her place in the world is truly beautiful.  This is the kind of book that used to make me wish I could live inside of its pages.  

2.  Ordinary People by Judith Guest

I didn't happen to discover this particular book until I was in college, although it feels like we've been friends forever.  It is all about a family that has a difficult time coping with the loss of a child and the sibling left behind's struggle to discover a reason to continue living.  On the surface this might not seem like a COMFORT book at all, but it has such a hopeful undertone that it's hard not to reach the ending feeling like things are looking up.  And if things can be better for the Jarretts, why not me?  I never tire of the lingering questions raised by this book.

3.  The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

This is a book that I have carried in my heart for the past twelve years.  It has been with me through being bullied practically into extinction, the worst break-up imaginable and times when I felt depressed about the state of the world in general.  Even though it has enough tragedy for a Shakespeare play, in the end it still feels hopeful and true to what is in the hearts of millions - that sometimes you just have to press on, even if you feel like quitting.  Life can be good at times and that makes it worth it.

4.  I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

This is another book that I didn't discover until college.  I normally have a really hard time with British books, because it feels like they're speaking an alien language.  Cassandra Mortmain, a seventeen year old impoverished British girl, is just my speed.  She's witty and charming, with such a heart-breakingly real personality that I always felt like reaching through the pages and giving her a hug.  As Cassandra falls in love for the first time, discovers what it means to truly be a family and tries to become a writer, I was beside her the whole way.  It has such a wonderful bittersweet feeling to it that I sometimes catch myself thinking about it out of the blue.  How can you not love a book with a first line like this?
   "I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.” 

5.  Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

I believe that this book was my first real encounter with the death of someone my own age and the fact that it was even in the realm of possibility.  I remember reading this for the first time in my third grade class and loving the imaginations of Jess and Leslie, but being devastated by the way the book ended.  Now that I'm older I can recognize the mastery of Ms. Paterson's writing that she was able to be so delicate with the subject matter and yet bring out such an emotional response from me.  I still feel deeply when I read this book.  I spent the entire summer of 2010 going the park every Tuesday after work, lying in the sun, taking naps and reading either Bridge to Terabithia or Tuck Everlasting.  That pretty much says it all, at least in my mind.  

Honorable Mentions

1.  Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

2.  Matilda by Roald Dahl

3.  Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

4.  Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars

5.  Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

6.  Both Sides of Time by Caroline B. Cooney

7.  Forever by Judy Blume

   Now I want to know one thing:  What are your comfort books?  Do you agree with my choices, have you read any of them or do you hate them all?  Leave me a comment and we'll discuss the books that will stay on our buddy lists for years to come! :)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are much appreciated and I always read them with a smile on my face! :) While I appreciate the thought, this an award-free blog as well. I just don't have the time to keep up with it. Thank you for my smiles and please share your thoughts! Also, sorry for the Captcha, but I've been getting a lot of spam lately!