Thursday, October 3, 2013

Comfort Reading

One thing we decided against getting in our new house is cable TV. Or really, TV at all. I do have a teeny-tiny television set and DVD player that I can use to watch Friends and Dawson’s Creek re-runs on, but we don’t have a joint TV in the living room or even basic cable.

Given that I’ve lived this way for the past five years or so, it doesn’t seem like a big deal to me -- but I have been so surprised by the number of people who have very strong feeling about this. I get a lot of puzzled looks and questions such as “What do you spend your time doing?” And though there are a few shows that I do miss (The Mindy Project and Chopped, namely), I manage to fill up the time without much of a problem by cooking, exercising, writing this blog, and reading books.

Luckily for me, we happen to have a very nice library, filled with new or yet undiscovered tales, relatively close by. But this past week, I’ve found myself gravitating towards books I’ve already read, something I’ve always termed comfort reading. I know there are people out there who don’t like to read books and watch movies more than once (I think they are the same sort that refuse to eat leftovers), but I am squarely not in that group. If I love something, I come back to it, perhaps not all the time, but every couple of years at least, and especially in times when I’m feeling sad or lonely, or as the case is right now, like I am in unfamiliar surroundings. 

So when I pulled a few books out of a box in my car trunk on Sunday afternoon, I found myself reaching for some old favorites. These are books that I’ve already read, cover to cover, but that make me feel comfortable, happy and immediately like I am in a familiar place.

Emily Giffen’s books are so often termed “chick lit” and it sort of annoys me because I think it makes them sound shallow or in a similar vein as romance novels. And it’s so not the case! She has such a knack for coming up with unique stories and really capturing the internal monologue of twenty- or thirty-something women. I have loved all of her books, but Something Borrowed is definitely my favorite. I felt like I could really relate to the main character, Rachel.

I judged people who loved Harry Potter for a long time, and was forced to eat my words later in life when I fell in love with the series. I love these books because, unlike any other, they have the ability to transport you to a totally different world; one so imaginative, exciting and interesting that no matter how many times you've read them, they still manage capture all of your attention. 

Cookbooks. Do you read them in bed? Am I the only one who does? This particulate cookbook, The Smitten Kitchen one, is by no means old, but I can promise you I've already read it cover to cover. Yet somehow, I never tire of rediscovering recipes, hearing their back story and looking at gorgeous photos of food.

I'd love to hear - what are your comfort reads?

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