Most readers have a set of books that they go back to time and time again, I know I do. They send me back to my childhood, make me feel at home wherever I am and they’re filled with memories. With going back home and being reunited with my bookshelves on a permanent basis looming on the horizon, I began to think about which books I can’t wait to have back in my life and why I felt that way.
Roald Dahl’s MATILDA is the book that made me fall in love with reading and every time I pick it back up, I’m back to being eight years old and running down the stairs in my pyjamas to tell my mum that I could SEE WHAT I WAS READING! It was a revelation and I will always remember what my mum said in response: “That’s the magic that good books make.” Always right, that woman.
After the natural progression through Jacqueline Wilson and Karen McCombie who I loved at the time, but wouldn’t read now, the inevitable happened: I got the first three HARRY POTTER’s for Christmas. Like most people my age, I grew up with harry, Ron and Hermione and I’ve read the early books countless time and through the entire series three times. Even though I discover something new with each re-read, I can't help but feel at home at Hogwarts. It’s been a while since my last visit – I need another fix...
My love of contemporary YA emerged around the same time as I was waiting for the fifth Harry Potter with a random purchase of ANGUS, THONGS AND FULL-FRONTAL SNOGGING by Louise Rennison. I laughed through this series, marvelling at Georgia’s ridiculous and often stupid escapades and I’ve revisited her and the Ace Gang many, many times over the years. These books make me so happy and meeting Louise Rennison on her tour for ‘Stop in the name of pants!’ is definitely one of my bookie highlights so far. I still find myself saying words of phrases coined by Georgia and doing something worthy of being called a Georgia moment. These books are pure fun.
When I was around fourteen I went through a chick-lit phase, raiding my mum’s bookshelves and scouring second-hand bookshops for something new. It was in Kim’s Bookshop in Arundel which is still one of my favourite bookshops that I found a book by an American author who I would come to adore: THE NOTEBOOK by Nicholas Sparks. Judge me all you like but I was captivated by this beautiful, tragic love story and after devouring his already substantial backlist, I re-read The Notebook over and over again. I had to replace my copy as I read the first into smithereen! It takes me back to the days before I was aware that romance was snubbed when I believed Nicholas Sparks to be the Most Amazing Person Ever – his later books have fallen short for me and he’s not really who I thought he was.
Finally and quite possibly my most comforting read, is one that I talk about a lot: DIARY OF A CRUSH by Sarra Manning. My battered copies of the originals (re-issued at the end of May! Go buy them!) tell the story better than I ever could. All of my books are pristine with not a single mark, yet every book mentioned in this post is slightly crumpled and well-loved. That’s how you tell my comfort reads when you look at my bookshelf. Dylan still makes me swoon, I still want to be Edie’s best friend and I’m still holding out for that moment in an abandoned gallery in the Louvre.
What are your comfort reads? Do you have comfort reads or are you a strictly read-once person? Are your comfort reads pristine or battered and loved?