Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Comfort Books And Etc.

I was feeling a bit melancholy today. For two afternoons I've taken walks around our neighborhoods, walking mostly in the streets, rather than the sidewalks, so to be underneath fewer branches which are still hanging precariously after that killer storm. The saddest part is seeing the piles of branches lining both sides of the streets, some piles higher than 7 or 8 feet.

It's rather like a war swept through our town, a war which the trees lost and now find their golden-leafed arms and legs lying by the road, dead.

And well, one needs comfort when one sees such tragic things which ought not to be.

So even though God is still the God of all comfort, I enjoy reaching for the occasional comfort book during such times. Probably my favorite comfort books are those by vintage children's authors such as Elizabeth Enright, Eleanor Estes or Catherine Woolley (and many more similar authors whose books grace my shelves).

But instead, today I chose a book by Grace Livingston Hill, my 1930's dusty hardback edition of The Christmas Bride. It was just right.

Now, I know how some of you feel about Grace Livingston Hill's Christian romances--I've peeked into your blogs when you wrote about her. But I've read Grace's books off and on since I was 14 and generally, I still find them comforting. Oh, there was a time, some years ago I suppose, when I felt they were more annoying than inspirational, but I got over it when I just let myself overlook some of Grace's old-fashioned tendencies. Ones such as, if a woman wore her hair short and painted her mouth with lipstick, Grace considered her to be a naughty, naughty woman, indeed. After all, these books were written in the 1890's through the 1940's and times were very, very different (and yes, Grace was about as straight-laced as they come). But still... And even though most of Grace's books followed pretty much the same ol' pattern and you always know (from the beginning) who is going to end up with whom, still, in certain of her books, I still skip the entire middle and read the ending because the suspense is just too nerve-wringing.

So perhaps you've never heard of Grace Livingston Hill? Here are two great websites dedicated to her--just the old sepia-toned photographs, themselves, are enough to warrant a visit:

And here.

So what are your favorite comfort books?

And does anyone else have a current car book? As in, a book you keep in the glove box of your car so that, while you're waiting for your slowpoke spouse or activity-ladened children, you can have something to wile away the time. My current car book is Forty Plus and Fancy Free by Emily Kimbrough. She was the co-author of Our Hearts Were Young And Gay, in which she shared her hilarious adventures of visiting Europe in the 1930's (I believe) with her friend while they were just in their early 20's. In Forty Plus, she returns to Europe, but this time as a grandmother with three of her friends who, themselves, are grandmothers. A delightful, funny book, indeed. So much so, that I've been known to get perturbed with Tom if he returns to the car in a quick fashion. Often I've whined, "Couldn't you have taken longer?"

Oh, and just one more thing, non-book related. For those of you who printed a copy of my emergency supply list, I would add two things:

An old-fashioned telephone. Cordless phones will not work when the electricity goes out and cell phone batteries cannot be recharged.

And one or two battery-operated or wind-up clocks, at least one with an alarm. We have four battery-operated clocks on our walls and they helped to make life feel more normal during our electricity-less ordeal. Our battery-operated radio also had an alarm on it, so that came in handy since, because Tom had to still work each day, we both had to be up by 5:30 each dark morning (technically 5:15 for me).

Oh, and personally, I would never, ever just have an electric stove and an electric water heater... I was listening to our local news station again today, the one with the call-in shows, and one woman said her family has not been able to bathe or eat hot food since last Thursday when the lights went out.

Oh my.

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