It's been a tough few weeks for me, with my mother's passing and on top of that all the stuff that has to be taken care of in the wake of such an event. There are notifications to make, personal affairs to be taken care of, arrangements to be made. It is difficult when you're missing your loved one, but it falls to you to take care of the majority of these things and you don't really feel like doing any of it. You'd rather just go someplace warm and take a nap.
I've found that when I do have some spare time, I've gone back to an old standby behavior that I've used for years and years to cope with difficult times. I've been doing some comfort reading.
I suppose it is different for different people, but my version of comfort reading involves going back and reading old favorite books. It's very much like visiting old friends.
Right now, for example, I'm in the middle of reading The Longest Cave, by Roger W. Brucker and Richard A. Watson. It tells the true story of several decades of work leading to the connection of cave passages under Flint Ridge and Mammoth Cave Ridge in Kentucky into the longest surveyed cave in the world. I first read it shortly after it was published in 1976, and this is probably about the tenth time I've read it, although I couldn't say for sure because I've lost track of just how many times I've gone back to read it.
It's comfort reading for me for a couple of reasons.
First of all, I'm fascinated by caves. Have been ever since I visited Carlsbad Caverns, in New Mexico, when I was 12 or 13 years old on a summer vacation with my family. I guess some people get claustrophobic in caves, but I find being surrounded by all those rock walls kind of comforting.
But even beyond my interest in caves, the people that populate the pages of The Longest Cave just seem like good people to spend some time with. They come across generally as smart, interesting and ambitious (in a good way), and they understand the value of teamwork. Their appeal, further, doesn't fade with repeated readings.
That isn't my only go-to book when I need to do some comfort reading. Little Women is another book I turn to when I need to do some comfort reading. The mystery novels of Faye Kellerman and the Company novels, written by Kage Baker, also have served as comfort reading from time to time. Which one (or ones) of these I go to when I need some comfort reading varies depending on the situation. But they all work.
So...what is your favorite comfort reading? Or do you tend more toward comfort movies or comfort music?