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….)
I think with quite such a concatenation of catastrophes I might not be up to reading anything at all! But no, I am good at nurturing myself through a crisis. A nice cup of tea and a large pile of books will see me through. In the pile? To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis - a recent addition to comfort reading, but a lovely warm one, even if she just occasionally gets English period or idiom wrong; I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith - a book that has got me through many a bad patch, full of innocence and optimism; the Mountjoy novels by Elizabeth Pewsey - much more knowing, full of naughtiness, they will make me laugh if anything can.
For a full-blown disaster, though, it will be Elizabeth Goudge, for her wisdom and moral strength, virtues that endure even in these cynical times. I'm not churlish, though, I turn to her in the good times as well, and always emerge feeling restored and refreshed.