Books are my Solace

Whenever life gets me down or kicks me in the face, books are my solace.

The British writer Ruth Rendell once said      “Some say life’s the thing, I— prefer reading”

That statement although a slight exaggeration, has a lot of truth.

Books rarely let you down. Even if, for whatever reason, they don’t appeal to you, you can always find something

enjoyable about them. The cover, the smell—– whatever. A book is boring? You get another book. No feelings are

hurt– there are no misinterpretations.  Books never think you’re cold or cerebral , they set forth stories, ideas, theories—that you “buy” or not.

Over the years a few  books stand out  in the bringing of solace and pleasure.

Anything by John Irving, most especially The World According To Garp.

My top book for old sweater comfort by a roaring fire is,  84 Charing Cross Road.     

I first discovered this book in a way I often do,  through a really good movie.

84 Charing Cross Road,  was a intelligent feel good movie starring the great, and sorely missed, Anne Bancroft and the very touching Anthony Hopkins. I saw this movie, loved it, and went on living my life.

Years later, I came upon an article that delighted over the book   (which enjoys a small cult following)

and the same week a customer of mine, who has impeccable taste, mentioned it. I went out the next day and bought a copy.  I have read it at least twenty times since. The book is a correspondence between a New York writer, Helene Hanff and a London bookseller, Frank Doel. Frank works for Marks and Co. booksellers located at 84 Charing Cross Road. Their correspondence spans over 30 years, it is delightful, humorous and irresistible to the lover of books.

I have since read Hanff’s other books, I liked them, she’s funny and well-read, but, Charing Cross is to me unique in it’s warmth and succinctness. It’s a small book, novella length and thus can be read and re-read, it is not a massive undertaking. A couple of hours spent with an old “friend”. 

I can’t tell you how much it has helped me over the tough times over the years

Later girls


this post also appears at bookishinmtl

Author: Bookish Butch

I am a bookish butch in my mid early fifties. I live in Montréal and always have. I used to run a small used bookstore. Reading keeps me sane. My latest jiggie is photography, book project in the works, living the dream

One thought on “Books are my Solace”

  1. I know what you mean about books being both old friends, and in finding solace within their pages. I do that regularly, especially as I live alone and, it looks like that will be a more permanent state for the future. YOu can never go wrong with a good book, and time and again, when I need cheering up, I’ll choose and old favourite and have a re-read. Sometimes, it’s the old ones that are the best.

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