Comfort Reading

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I’m sick with a cold. Drat. I know there are worse things than feeling so rotten that you need to lie abed with your handmade handkerchiefs, endless cups of tea, a good slug of Nyquil every now and again, and a book (gosh, I am almost making a cold seem appealing!), but, still. I’m a busy lady! Alas, everyone knows that your cold lasts twice as long if you don’t read one of your favorite-est, most comforting books when you’re sick. No amount of soup or even toast with butter (not even butter, cinnamon AND sugar) can make me feel as good as one of my comfort reads.

For this cold, I’m choosing A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

A Little Princess cover.jpg

I’ve read this book so many times I’ve lost count. Sara Crewe’s kindness,¬†perseverance, self-control, and most overwhelmingly, her imagination have been so important in my life. I can’t tell you how many times Sara has come to mind before I do something rash or ungenerous. I think about her when I feed the birds and squirrels outside my window, help the students at work, and so very much when I make things:

“What is that?” she exclaimed.

Sara got up from the floor and answered quite dramatically:

“It is the prisoner in the next cell.”

“Becky!” cried Ermengarde, enraptured.

“Yes,” said Sara. “Listen; the two knocks meant, `Prisoner, are you there?’”

She knocked three times on the wall herself, as if in answer.

“That means, `Yes, I am here, and all is well.’”

Four knocks came from Becky’s side of the wall.

“That means,” explained Sara, “`Then, fellow-sufferer, we will sleep in peace. Good night.’”

Ermengarde quite beamed with delight.

“Oh, Sara!” she whispered joyfully. “It is like a story!”

“It IS a story,” said Sara. “EVERYTHING’S a story. You are a story– I am a story. Miss Minchin is a story.”

And she sat down again and talked until Ermengarde forgot that she was a sort of escaped prisoner herself, and had to be reminded by Sara that she could not remain in the Bastille all night, but must steal noiselessly downstairs again and creep back into her deserted bed.

Gosh, now I’m crying. Good thing I have all those handkerchiefs.

Added bonus – did you know Burnett’s story was partially ¬†inspired by Charlotte Bronte’s last fragment of writing, Emma? It really is all frighteningly, magically connected, huh?

Do you have a favorite comfort read that you grab again and again? I’d love to hear what it is!

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12 comments

  1. joon*ann

    I’m sorry you’re sick, but I agree you do make it sound appealing. Your handkerchiefs are lovely–did you make those yourself? You know, I’ve never read A Little Princess — it sounds wonderful. My comfort book would have to be The Education of Little Tree — I just love all the warmth and love between Little Tree and his grandparents. Hope you feel better soon.

  2. jackiemania

    The flowery one is hemmed with embroidery and monogrammed by me, and the others are tea dyed and embroidered by me. If you like to embroider, try these: http://www.purlbee.com/herringbone-handkerchiefs/ My absolute favorite ones are made in this way but with a script initial in chain stitch. P.S. Old, a thousand times washed cotton or cotton/linen shirts that have seen better days make great, soft fabric for handkerchiefs. Some of my favorite ones are make from my husband’s shirts that are too frayed at the seams to wear any more. Yikes, that’s a lot of handkerchief talkin’!

    I’ve never read The Education of Little Tree! I have to look it up. Anything with grandparents always gets me – I was pretty much raised by mine :)

    • joon*ann

      Thanks for the link. I’ve been wanting to learn embroidery — I’ve bought the supplies, but just need to take time to do it. Those handkerchiefs on The Purl Bee look like the perfect beginners project and pretty to boot.

  3. Eszter

    Get well soon, Jackie! My comfort reading would be anything by Agatha Christie or Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster because they are easy reads; so, you are able to read them with a headache. :-D Btw, you should try to drink onion tea. It really helps. I know because I have the cold every time when seasons are changing…

    • jackiemania

      Do you make onion tea by steeping minced onion in hot water? How much do you use? Anything else like honey? I’ll try it :)

      I still have yet to read an Agatha Christie book, and I suspect that I’d enjoy it greatly!

      • Eszter

        You can find a good recipe of a onion & ginger tea recipe here: http://www.enjoyingtea.com/tearecipes.html. However, according to my mother’s recipe, I don’t mince the onion; I just cut it in half, poor hot water over it and let it stay for 10-15 minutes. And, I drink it with honey. Some people say, one should drink it without anything, but I simply can’t. Do you like P.G. Wodehouse? If yes, your first AC should probably be The Secret of Chimneys. I enjoyed this very much. It’s a very clever yet funny (“Wodehouseian”) crime.

  4. Patty

    Poor little thing – hope you get well soon! I’m myself trying desperately to keep a cold at bay, as I’m a very bad patient!!! I didn’t know about the link with Emma, so I’ll check A Little Princess (I’m intrigued…). As to comfort reading – I have to agree with Eszter, a little Poirot never hurt anyone, especially when ill, when my brain shuts down completely!!!

  5. mrawlins2

    Since my sinuses are a bit out of control, I think I may have to start my own comfort re-read of Jane Eyre. Hope you feel better soon!

  6. Wallace

    I LOVE those handkerchiefs! I SWEAR I hadn’t seen this when I wrote my post about having a cold, but how similar were these posts?! I love that. I hate that I am so late to the party with your blog – I had NO idea for the first couple of months that this wonderfulness existed! Am sure you are better by now, but for next time, I found some amazing remedies!

    Books (of course)
    Cat to cuddle with (and act as natural heating pad)
    Masterpiece Theater (preferably Cranford)
    Argan Balm for chapped lips and noses
    Zand Decongest Herbal (natural decongestant, won’t dry you out like a drug store brand)
    Xlear Xylitol Nasal Spray (natural, non-adictive)
    Simplers Botanicals Sinus Oil (natural)
    Olbas oil (to add to humidifier and/or put on chest)
    Zand Elderberry Zinc herbal lozenges
    Throat Coat and Nettle Tea combined (2-3 times daily)

    Sounds like a lot, but gets you WELL faster, while still helping with the symptoms.

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