We all talk about comfort foods but how often do we think about our other comforts – like comfort books.
For example, I love my stepfathers homemade mac n cheese even though my body cannot digest that much dairy and I immediately feel safe and powerful while holding a cup of coffee. B’s ideal comfort meal is a grilled cheese or two with just enough tomato soup for dipping.
But the older I get, the more I realize that I books make me feel just as secure as a good meal. I have books that I turn to when things just don’t feel right and I have books for when I just want to feel good. It is with a 9/10 time guarantee that on any day, that book can be one of the seven Harry Potters.
Harry Potter has been the one constant in my life. As a child I read, reread, and then rereread the books that were out and hung out on mugglenet.com to talk to other fanatics who also could not wait for the next book. My sweet angel lady of a mother drove me to the bookstore every book drop at midnight so I could take my new possession home and devour it through the night and in to the next morning. I drank in every word of J.K. Rowling’s craft.
I marveled at her ability to make the tiniest details significant later down the line. She created a world that I wanted to be real more than anything else. Harry’s world was complex; there was a lot of good, a significant amount of evil and it drilled in the importance of seeing the full picture before making a judgement on someone’s character. It introduced me to stories that were scary but still felt safe. Rowling always found a way to balance the overarching presence of evil with the joys that occur day to day. I was reminded by Dumbledore, Lupin, Ron and many others that to find joy I just had to look for love in the world. I was reminded by Hermione that being smart didn’t mean I wasn’t allowed to also be brave, by Luna that being as weird as I wanted was the key to success and by Ginny that the happiest relationships are the ones you can be yourself in.
I have revisited these books more times than I can count and every time I do, I feel like I am at home. I feel safe. After finishing a Harry Potter, or the whole series for the millionth time, I am reminded that I can change the world – just like three kids at Hogwarts who were constantly at odds with evil.
So after a long day, or a bad day, or just a busy period of time; that is where you will find me. Wrapped up in blankets, laying out in the sunshine or riding in the car with my nose in a Harry Potter book, channelling my inner Hermione as I escape to a world that inspires me to find love and joy in my day to day. After all as Dumbledore said, “words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic”.
What’s you literary chicken soup? Add it to the list below: