Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Thoughts on Comfort Books

with 6 comments

Folks, over the past several weeks, I have been struggling with a wide variety of things.

To wit…does my writing matter? Does what I’m doing as a person matter? Are my perceptions accurate, and will I be able to turn them into some decent-to-better quality writing in the not-so-distant future?

I don’t know if these questions would’ve hit me quite so profoundly without the ongoing housing crisis, mind. (That remains unresolved, by the way. I probably will be writing about that again…but not today, yes?) But they have…and in a big way.

That said, I have found a lot of comfort reading and re-reading my favorite books and authors. Some of the books I’ve read over the past couple of weeks include Katharine Eliska Kimbriel’s Night Calls series, Lois McMaster Bujold’s THE CURSE OF CHALION and PALADIN OF SOULS, Patricia C. Wrede’s CAUGHT IN CRYSTAL and Enchanted Forest chronicles…and, of course, my go-to standby, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s wonderful Liaden Universe (TM), most particularly the stories featuring Daav yos’Phelium and Aelliana Caylon.

What reading these stories tends to do for me is twofold. One, it takes me away from my immediate problems and reminds me that others, too, have faced adversity (even if fantastical and unusual — then again, I like that sort of thing, as you might’ve guessed). And two, these stories are life-affirming, they often make me laugh, and they always make me feel better after I’ve read them.

In short, these comfort books remind me of why I started writing, oh, yea many moons ago…I wanted to tell stories like that, that made people laugh, and maybe gave them an hour’s ease from life’s burdens…and if I did my job superbly well, maybe someone would find my stories life-affirming, too.

I can’t be certain I’ve done that as of yet. But I’d like to think that in the not-so-distant future, I may well yet attain just that…ah, well.

Anyway, what are your favorite comfort books, and why? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments section.


Edited to add: Mind, there are so many great storytellers out there, and I’m only naming a fraction of the people I’ve read over the past few weeks that I’ve enjoyed…so if your name isn’t on this list (yet), please don’t despair. (No need for that.)

Written by Barb Caffrey

June 1, 2016 at 3:51 am

6 Responses

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  1. “The Witches of Karres”, by James Schmitz and “Little Fuzzy” by H. Beam Piper are the first two to come to my mind.

    Ryk Spoor

    June 1, 2016 at 6:58 am

    • Those are great examples, Ryk. 🙂

      Some other really good ones…the Oz books (near and dear to your heart), C.S. Lewis and his Narnia Chronicles…many of the Andre Norton juveniles, too.

      Barb Caffrey

      June 1, 2016 at 6:51 pm

  2. I think that when we are going through a crisis it’s natural to question everything about ourselves. How wise of you to find comfort in words that have also inspired you through the years. Thanks for sharing such important insight! You’ve managed to successfully answer one of your own questions – perhaps the most important one: “Does what I’m doing as a person matter?” It most definitely does!


    June 1, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    • Thanks, Dar. I appreciate your kind words and thoughts.

      Yes, I try to go back to things that I know have given me comfort and inspiration before. And fortunately for us, we live in a literate society and there are many wonderful books and stories out there…imagine how much the poorer we’d be without it.

      Barb Caffrey

      June 1, 2016 at 6:52 pm

  3. Reblogged this on Kate McClelland and commented:
    I always reach for my Terry Pratchett books if I feel a bit low. A bit of Myth, Magic & Mayhem always cheers :0)

    Kate McClelland

    June 2, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    • Terry Pratchett is an excellent choice. 🙂 Thanks, Kate, for the reblog.

      Barb Caffrey

      June 2, 2016 at 5:40 pm

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