I recently started reading again (Joe having moved to his own room). When I say reading, I mean proper reading - not just flicking through magazines or reference books from the library in those snatched moments when the baby's napping.
So what was my book of choice? Anne of Green Gables. Well, Anne of the Island actually. I've had the set (inherited from my mum) for years. I first tried reading them when I was nine or ten and couldn't get into the story but since then have re-read them so many times I can just dip into any book in the series and know exactly what's gone before and what's about to happen, to whom, and where.
This familiarity is part of why I find them so comforting. Yes, they're twee. But if I'm looking for escapism then that's where I turn.
This got me thinking about books. I used to keep all my books: read, unread, half-read then abandoned. Then I had a big purge and kept only those I'll re-read one day or which I particularly enjoyed. Other than those I read as a child (that's a whole other post or three) it's a pretty mixed bunch sitting in the bookcase.
There are a few shelves of reference books - mainly gardening and interiors - and a cupboard in the kitchen full of cookery books.
But in the living room are my all-time favourites: Cold Comfort Farm, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, most of Joanne Harris's novels, Jane Eyre, Rebecca, The Birds and Other Stories, Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber...
In my bedside drawer there are a few self-help books lurking (again, another post). But the Anne books live out on the top. They're perfect night time reading. Ultimately I think it's because they're so happy-making. In fact another series of books which make good bedtime reading - for me, at least - are the Mma Ramotswe (Ladies' Detective Agency) books. They're happy-making too.
I did something a bit silly as a teenager though - I threw away the dust jackets from the Anne books as I thought they looked nicer without. Originally they looked like this. I suppose this is just a case of It's What's on the Inside That Matters...