I’m a little old for a security blanket, so when life throws multiple stresses my way I reach for my security books instead.
Like comfort foods, there are some books which soothe the inner voices screaming at me that my life is out of control. So in the midst of house-selling and teenagers and school plays and multiple sports and drivers ed, I have reached once again for the familiarity of plots and words and characters I have known and loved over and over again.
I could have pulled one of many books from my shelves—Gone With The Wind, Train To Estelline, Up a Road Slowly, On the Shores of Silver Lake through These Happy Golden Years, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Wuthering Heights, Christy—you get the picture. Each of these is an old friend. I know the words so well I skim across them like a boat on a glassy lake. The characters have become close friends. And like a daily-driven road, instinct anticipates every twist and turn of the plot with ease, laying to rest the stress of my already chaotic life.
This is not escape reading, mind you. This is familiarity that breeds security and peace. These are my comfort books, employed when I reach the tipping point between coping and insanity. And I am there.
So I picked up one of my dearest friends last night—Anne of Green Gables. I intend to read her all the way through, from lonely 11-year-old to mother and grandmother. I need the impetuous young Anne, the giddy-in-love Anne, and the sorrow-tinged newlywed Anne. But most of all, at this moment, I need grown up Anne—dealing with a husband and teenagers emerging into young adults. I need a picture of life that is tinged with reality, but calm by virtue of intimacy.
Do you have any security books—books you can pick up and revisit like old friends when life becomes chaotic? I’d love to hear yours. You never know when something new will rise to the status of comfort after a read or two.