June 25, 2010

Comfort Books

Do you have any books that you go back to when you’re feeling sick or in need of comfort? They are often books that you read as a kid or books that bring you a certain feeling. They create a safe place or remind you of a time in your life that was good.

For me, many of the books I read as a child are comfort books, and many of them are British. (That’s why I’ve always been an Anglophile.) The Secret Garden, The Wind in the Willows, Pooh, Alice in Wonderland, and I Capture the Castle. Also Harriet the Spy, Smokey the Cowhorse, Island of the Blue Dolphins, A Wrinkle in Time, The High King, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, Tuck Everlasting, and the Oz books. Many of these are Newberry Award winners.

Also other escapist books do the trick. Calvin and Hobbs comics. Terry Pratchett novels.

I am drawn to writing dark stuff, but I was thinking that I am so grateful that there is variety, that there are people who write happy endings and write lovely stories for children that create a world that is good and kind. And even if it isn’t good and kind, it ends happily.

I need to think more about happy endings and how to create them in my fiction. And by that I don’t mean cliché but happy in the nuanced, sometimes ambiguous way of real life. Ending on a moment of hope. After all, beginnings and endings are simply moments in time, and we have lots of happy moments.

What I’m Reading Today: Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes comics.

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