WORDS of COMFORT
Reading has always been a type of therapy for me; it has consistently helped me manage and cope during unpredictability. As a young child and teenager, I would often reread my favorite books during times of stress or upheaval. We moved a lot when I was younger which led me to having to make new friends and adjust to new schools and routines. Reading, especially familiar books, always brought me comfort and joy. My favorite books were the Little House on the Prairie series, as Laura Ingalls was always moving as well, and knowing that she too had to cope and manage with many more arduous tasks than me, always brought a sense of what mattered and an ease in my mind that I could adapt and adjust to new surroundings.
During young adulthood, my mother introduced me to books such as Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights by Charlotte Bronte. Ah. The romance! At some point during these younger years, I realized what it was that reading provided for me and that was – wisdom, perspective, and comfort – and how big a part of my life reading had become.
As my life continued on the path of many more moves, college, a family, and various jobs in education I reflected on the many books I had read, holding dear to beloved titles that in some way shaped my thinking and informed what kind of person I had become – and in my opinion was still evolving. I recognized myself in all of these books, with those writers and authors who perfectly captured what it means to be a reader.
Working as a children’s librarian assistant I am surrounded each day by hundreds of books; picture books, early readers, junior fiction, YA and Adult fiction/non-fiction. At times it feels overwhelming – so many choices – so many titles – how can I possibly read them all? But, I find continuing reassurance from these books – their glossy covers which initially draws me in – because my reading is important to me and continues to provide great comfort especially during days of uncertainty. Books and the act of reading itself can be considered my life raft during these days we call “life”. And, comfort reading comes in various ways. Some readers dust off old favorites, some find a calming verse or delve into the latest best seller. It doesn’t matter how it’s achieved – the consolation of the written word will always be something that I, as a reader, can depend on.