Booking Through Thursday asks: Okay . . . picture this (really) worst-case scenario: It’s cold and raining, your boyfriend/girlfriend has just dumped you, you’ve just been fired, the pile of unpaid bills is sky-high, your beloved pet has recently died, and you think you’re coming down with a cold. All you want to do (other than hiding under the covers) is to curl up with a good book, something warm and comforting that will make you feel better. What do you read? (Any bets on how quickly somebody says the Bible or some other religious text? A good choice, to be sure, but to be honest, I was thinking more along the lines of fiction…. Unless I laid it on a little strong in the string of catastrophes? Maybe I should have just stuck to catching a cold on a rainy day...) Reading comforts me. Holding a book in my hands comforts me. Losing myself in the imaginary lives of others removes me from the daily aches and pains of my own life. When I was very small, I often awoke in the night with asthma attacks, and my grandmother would nestle on the couch and read to me, the vaporizer puffing clouds of steam around our heads. So for a very long time now, reading has served as comforter in times of stress.
But what would it take to get through the griefs piled upon that poor hapless person in the example above? I don't know if even books could help me in that scenario. But if they could, they would have to be giant books full of interesting characters...books like Julia Glass' The Whole World Over, or Penny Vincenzi's Into Tempation.
Or maybe tightly written, atmospheric mysteries~anything by Elizabeth George comes to mind. And certainly the dilemma's faced by any of Jodi Picoult's characters could distract me from my own.
These are the kinds of books I love whatever is going on in my life, books with richly drawn characters facing real life situations, characters toting lots of emotional baggage and working their way through the inticacies of personal relationships and life in general.