Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Company of Good Books




"What one wanted when exhausted by the noise and impact of physical bodies was not no people but disembodied people; all those denizens of beloved books who could be taken to one's heart and put away again, in silence, and with no hurt feelings." The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge

I immediately knew what she meant when I read the paragraph above. Sometimes when I'm weary of life's clatter and noise, I retreat with a favorite author who feels very comfortable without requiring anything of me. I don't usually long for the comfort of favorite book characters as I do favorite authors. Some writers just give me a good feeling and take me to places I long for.

Some favorite authors that I reach for over and over again are Elizabeth Goudge, D.E. Stevenson, Pat Conroy, Jane Austen, Rosamunde Pilcher, Miss Read, Patrick Taylor, George MacDonald, and Anthony Trollope.

The places I usually like to retreat to are the British Isles, Italy, or the American South. I feel most comfortable in these places because they take me to a place like home where I'm most nurtured and soothed. Is it a coincidence that my ancestors are from these places? I don't think so!

What about you? Do you have favorite authors you turn to for comfort? If so, who are they? Or is it book characters you most often like to meet?

7 comments:

Pom Pom said...

I love Rosamunde Pilcher, too. I haven't had a dip into one of her novels for a while and I'm missing her.
I like Beverly Cleary. I adore Louise Fitzhugh's Harriet the Spy. Lucy Maud Montgomery comes to mind. Laura Ingals Wilder, for sure.
I love Wendell Berry's work and I wish I had all of it.
Louisa May Alcott. SO many! Great post. Great thinking, Debbie.

M.K. said...

(I love seeing that wonderful photo in your banner again!!)

Yes, some authors seem to have that gift, of warmly welcoming their readers. Trollope does that for me, and Miss Read.

Writers have various strengths. When I was a child, I wanted PLOT, and I loved re-reading a book to enter into the events again, and experience them. Now as an adult, I value setting and characters more. I think that's why I love Trollope; he's very light on plot :) I adore setting, though, and I re-read a book in order to go to a place again. Like you, I enjoy meeting the characters again, b/c I find them non-threatening. I can observe (like an introvert) and not weary myself with interaction.

Left-Handed Housewife said...

I often turn to Wendell Berry when I need to visit a world that makes sense to me and gives me deep pleasure.

I need to read Trollope! I never have, and I suspect it will be a treat.

xofrances

M.K. said...

(I love seeing that wonderful photo in your banner again!!)

Yes, some authors seem to have that gift, of warmly welcoming their readers. Trollope does that for me, and Miss Read.

Writers have various strengths. When I was a child, I wanted PLOT, and I loved re-reading a book to enter into the events again, and experience them. Now as an adult, I value setting and characters more. I think that's why I love Trollope; he's very light on plot :) I adore setting, though, and I re-read a book in order to go to a place again. Like you, I enjoy meeting the characters again, b/c I find them non-threatening. I can observe (like an introvert) and not weary myself with interaction.

wayside wanderer said...

Oh, that quote resonates with me. I feel that way at the end of just about every day when I do the most of my non-devotional reading, except on Monday. Monday I needed rest from the Easter weekend so took the morning to lounge around and read.

Right now I am reading about two people: STILL on the letters of Flannery O'Connor and also started reading Wild a memoir of a gal who walked the PCT. I like getting to know new people like this without having to talk (ha) and also entering into their world/lives a bit of a distance.

Happy to see that memorable picture/banner, too.

GretchenJoanna said...

I'm reading Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry right now - slowly getting used to the style. Is this what Places in the Earth was like...? I read it years ago...

debbie bailey said...

MK, my feelings exactly! Well said.