I re-read books. I’ve mentioned this before. I re-read books because I like them, and because I find the familiarity somehow comforting. Not all re-reading is for this purpose, as I don’t think all books can be called “comfort reads.” What makes a reading comfortable or comforting? I’m not sure I have a good answer to that question, but I’ll give it a shot.
I just finished re-reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I felt a little Potter fix was the thing I needed this weekend. Part of the reason may have been the anti-Rowling article I wrote about last week. I wanted to find out if I still thought that Potter and Rowling were worth defending. Yes, I still think they are worth defending. This was the 9th time I’ve read Philosopher’s Stone — that’s not quite once a year since I first read it in 2001. I also find the Potter books comfortable reading. Rowling tells a good story, with funny bits and suspenseful bits and also heart-warming bits. Sometimes I’m just in the proper mood for hot chocolate and Harry Potter.
Other comfort authors include Maeve Binchy, Rosamunde Pilcher, Jane Austen, C.S. Lewis (Narnia books), and Dorothy L. Sayers (the Wimsey detective stories). I do re-read other authors but those authors and books I re-read for purposes other than comfort. I think part of the attraction in these books is the setting. I like the setting well enough to lose myself in that world for a while. And I like the characters enough to spend time with them. But I think that all my comfort reads have settings I wouldn’t mind living in. (I’m not looking for a Lost in Austen experience, though.)
What about you? Why do you re-read books? Which books are your comfort reads?
I’m off to jump into Pride and Prejudice. Good times.