Books as Comfort
If there was one place I felt a really strong kinship to Dominique Browning in Slow Love it was when she was talking about books. Packing her books. Weeding her books. What books she read to laugh. The number of unread books she had in her house and why she had them. Oh yes, I heard her loud and clear.
"I'm a reader, that's all there is to it. I spent a fraught childhood with my nose in a book. [...] When I read, everything makes sense. Sometimes the world in a book seems more real than the world in which I live." p. 149
Like Browning I've had to cull my books when I moved. I went through a period where I moved a lot. I don't have quite as many books or bookshelves as Dominique did (a girl can dream) but like her I hoard books for the future. If I've read half of the books on my shelves I'd be surprised. I like that way. The thought of going into my library and discovering I've read all the books... that scares me. Unread books are full of possibilities -- there's more to learn and new worlds to discover.
I've been using books to escape since before I could read. You probably would too if you had six older siblings. I re-read books as much as my schedule allows. Re-reading books is like visiting old friends.
There are books I read with the seasons -- Dickens at Christmas, something scary and gothic in autumn. When I crave independence I re-read L.M. Montgomery's The Blue Castle. If I need to laugh I grab something from Christopher Moore. When I find myself getting the itch to learn something I grab one of the many history volumes I stock up for just such occasions.
Browning and I go to books for comfort. We use them to seek knowledge. We re-read and hold on to books we read when we were younger so we can visit our former selves. We can't be the only ones.
Are there books or authors you read at certain times or when you are in certain moods? Do you stock up on books for some day in the future? When culling books do you feel sad, as though you are saying good-bye to dear friends?