Sunday, February 16, 2014

Comfort Reading

When was the last Saturday that you did nothing? I mean, nothing. You didn't grocery shop, do laundry, clean the bathroom, walk the neighbor's dog, shop for jeans at the mall or even get your nails done. In fact, when was the last day that the most strenuous thing you did was make a pot of coffee? That was me. Saturday.

For the last, I don't know, many months, my weekends haven't been my own. I've either gone down to Mom's to help out or I've gone away for a weekend with friends or I've run and done errands. The one thing I haven't done is sit still and do nothing but read, because the minute my sitting goes beyond an hour, the guilt hits and I have to Do Something Productive. Yes, yes, sure. I've got issues. It is right up there with my inability to remain in bed if I think anyone else is up in the house.  But it means my to be read pile is growing ever deeper and wider and now can be contained on three shelves and I don't know how many pages in my Kindle, and my DVR is filling to capacity...

I'm sure I've mentioned this before - the remembered joy of purchasing a favorite author's new book and spending the evening and night reading it. Savoring. Living that moment in that book. And getting up four hours later and going to work. I am older now. Wiser. Or at least less able to work a full day on so little sleep. And for whatever reason, it feels as though the older I get the less time there is in a day and the more items are piled into my not finished pile (and to be read books onto those shelves, etc etc).  But we need these days, I need these days, to read a good book and remember that I love words and stories.

In the last couple years, I've been introduced to the wonderful Regencies written by Carla Kelly. She is a lovely writer, emotional and affirming. Her characters are, well, normal and kind and broken and strong and emotional and self-deprecating and courageous. Many of her stories are about the rising middle class in Britain during and just after the Napoleonic War. Military men, surgeons and doctors, mill owners. Her original Signets sell for upwards of $15 or $20 on Amazon. Sometimes even more. But thank the good Lord for re-issues for the e-reader!

This week, I downloaded two, and on Saturday, I sat and read "Miss Milton Speaks Her Mind." It was like macaroni and cheese, stuffed hamburger, pecan pie and a gin and tonic all rolled into one. Comfort and joy and kindness. With cheese on it.  You know her characters have had pasts, that at some point, life was really difficult. Perhaps even gruesome.  But the hope that she gives in the romantic relationship of the hero and heroine affirms all that is good and can be right with the world. It is a world of acceptance, of warm water, of thick red cloaks given as gifts to downtrodden poor relations.

I have had a particularly shitty last year, and am so behind in everything. There are quilts to be sewn, clothes to be washed, taxes to be completed, furniture to be polished, bathrooms to clean, plants to be planted, the list just keeps getting longer. And the longer it grows, the less am I able to sit and read.  But I took this weekend to be kind to myself. And what better way than with Carla Kelly? Do you have a favorite author that you immerse yourself in as a particular treat? Why her (or him)? Is it the characters she creates or the vividness of her writing? The story itself? Please. Introduce me to your authors!


  1. Marjanna ~ What a wonderful treat! And what a wonderful way to spend a Saturday. So glad you took the time you needed for you, because that's what your reading time amounts to ... taking guilt-free time out to take time for you and what's important to you. So glad you got 'er done. ;0)

    I love to read. It's one of the major ways I relax and get my head out of all the stressful things it's always trying to dabble in. It's the way I unplug ... that and walking outside. But the walking has been nearly impossible this winter in Maryland. Sigh.

    Anyway, I have been reading the last several nights. I pulled out a Shannon Stacey contemporary I'd purchased a few months ago and forgotten I had ... Love Sideways (I think that's the title). And I read. Not a full day, but starting in the late afternoon, after my work was done, and spanning into the wee hours of the morning until I couldn't keep my eyes open. She has this lovely series with the Kowalski clan. Love it. This was Liz's story.

    I think there's nothing better we can do, after all the hard work we put in routinely, than to give ourselves the much-needed guilt-free breaks we deserve! Here's to many, many more in your near future and the upcoming year! <3

  2. Marjanna - I'm with you. Sometimes I tell myself, "It's okay to veg and do nothing but read today. Really!" And I'll feel okay until the end of the day. Then I do a good job of robbing myself of my joy. Patooey on that!

    Carla Kelly is a favorite of mine for all the reasons you listed. The world she creates *feels* real and true and good, despite the troubles the people who populate it often face.

    Believe it or not, from the relatively sweet to pretty kinky, I find one of my comfort authors is Cherise Sinclair who writes BDSM romance. Some of her books I've read half a dozen times and it's not the sex scenes the bring be back - it's the emotional connection between her characters and the sense of community she builds. Good stuff.

    I'm glad I live in a world that stretches from modern day kink to historical sweet, with so many stops in between. For those days when we *do* allow ourselves the time to wallow in words, there is a plethora of stories to satisfy us!

  3. Loved this post on "comfort reading." Really, is there anything better? My favorite author to become immersed in, if i really, really had to name a favorite, would be the late, great Maeve Binchey. You're probably all familiar with her, but if not, you'd be in for a treat if you read her.

  4. Oh, Marceline, I loved Maeve Binchey. Which reminds me of another of my favorites ... Rosamund Pilcher. Gosh, I loved those books.