Well, I recently saw an article about how people unwind after a stressful day at work, and one woman says she comes home, picks up her much-loved and much-worn copy of Moby Dick by Herman Melville, and randomly begins reading until she is fully relaxed and ready to take on home life with a stress-free mind.
"Whether I begin reading about an epic battle or the mechanics of whaling ships, I am transported elsewhere."I like that. I want that. I even like that it's Moby Dick that this woman turns to for comfort - the same novel that many high school and college students tried to avoid reading. It has become a litmus test among readers, broken into two camps: Those Who Love It and Those Who Don't.
I have that Comfort Read to a certain degree. Reading in general does that for me, but I'm always reading new books, trying-to-catch-up books that require my attentiveness as a new story is revealed to me. Or else I'll read poetry. Sometimes new, sometimes familiar, always light-hearted.
But I got to thinking about it some. I've reread a lot of books, many times. The four primary books of the Lord of the Rings immediately comes to mind. Each year I reread one, creating a cycle whereby every four years I've gone through another round. But I don't just randomly pick it up and start reading, I have a strict schedule. I then I wondered, "Maybe I should just start randomly reading them." But then, knowing me, I'd sit around for fifteen minutes and internally debate which one to pick up. So it's probably best I just keep doing what I'm doing with that set of books (NOTE: for the curious, this year is a reread of Fellowship, which is probably my favorite of the four for simply nostalgic reasons. But then again, that's not accurate either. I have some sort of unique nostalgic attachment to each one of them for different reasons. Maybe that's why I enjoy reading them over and over - each one fulfills some unnamed emotional joy).
Then I realized, once again, The Surprise in my reading stack. Dune. Yep, the same book I've blogged about before. The same book I own four copies of. The same one that I still have the very first copy I bought and reread so many times that a rubberband holds its pages together. I haven't even made it completely through the whole series (especially and including the ones written after Frank Herbert's death), because I always return to that original and reread it instead of moving off to the post-Frank era.
So if I had pick that one comfort book, from the evidence of my past reading habit, I'd have to say Dune is the one.
(Note: and of course now, I suddenly want to reread it again, despite the two-foot high stack I swore I'd read before rereading or starting another series of books).
(Another damn Note: I also now have that compulsion to start in on Fellowship. After all, like Dune, I own multiple copies of that series as well - at least three that I can see from this chair.)
(Geez, yet another damn Note: Guess what other American classic book I'd love to find the time to reread? OH! The Lament of the Voracious Reader!)
Until Next Time...