Comfort reads are like an old friend we see once a year. Oh, the format may vary from hardcover to paperback, to an ebook, but inside they're exactly the same. And we're grateful. We count on them to provide us with the same promised reading experience.
Reading the same story more than once delivers a guarantee multiple times. Why does a toddler want the same bedtime book read over and over? They want the promised emotional response again and again. Don't dare change a word, an expression or a character voice-over.
Comfort reads. Incomparable. Absolutely unforgettable. Magical.
We become lost in a world that generously takes us in and feeds us good words and fellowship. They promise to always be there for us, day or night. They promise to never change.
It's we, the reader who changes. Our outlook, needs, and expectations change.
One of my very first comfort reads was a book I read many times as a teen in the late sixties. It was about a teenage couple in the fifties. It's a classic, with a 4.26 rating on Goodreads, though it's relatively unknown and its yellowing pages have a copyright date of 1955. That's over sixty years old! When it was borrowed and lost, I was devastated. It took decades for me to find an original edition on eBay. I don't actually read it anymore, as my comfort reading has changed, however simply looking at the cover brings me joy.
My needs have become... complicated, as I face birth and death and everything in-between.
Often times I find myself empty of a much-needed emotional response because my reservoir is empty. On other occasions, I have particular books I pull from the shelf to simply to reassure myself that joy, happiness, humor, purity, love and honor still exist.
As a writer, I also read because I love words. I love the way certain words roll off my tongue. Like truncated - babble - glistening. I love the way two words come together and explode into a sensory delight. One of my favorite word combinations is from the Bible- "hot displeasure." Powerful imagery, right?
I'm mesmerized with how certain authors string together the same words that I do and but produce different and wondrous results. I read to remind myself that this is the magic I long to create. I believe that if you read amazing works you will eventually produce amazing works.
And isn't it true that every time you step into a comfort read you find something new? Surely that wasn't there last time?