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Books as comfort food

It wasn't so long ago that my nightstand was literally tipping over from the stack of books piled upon it.

Most all of them I'd read before. So why were they there, threatening to push my bedside lamp right off the edge onto the floor?

I nearly always read at least a few pages before drifting off for the night. And right now I'm reading a fine literary mystery called Madapple by Christina Meldrum. But I've noticed that when I'm reading a new book, when it's good, engrossing and mysterious, it will keep me awake turning pages for too long. It will even involve my tired mind after I switch off the light

So for my bedtime reading, lately I've turned to my old favorites. The comfort food of reading. That's not to say they all have comfy subject matter, but they comfort me in their enduring enjoyability. Sometimes I read straight through from the beginning, but more often I dip into favorite parts, and skip around as my whim demands.

At the moment, my nightstand holds The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Other nightstand favorites include Breathing Lessons, Waiting to Exhale, Bella Tuscany, Love Always, and even the groundbreaking feminist book The Feminine Mystique. (Now and then I still need Betty Friedan to remind me that I'm not shortchanging my family to pursue my passion.)

Sometimes this backfires, of course, and my husband will come in at midnight wondering why I'm still awake, because I'm sunk deeply into an old favorite.

What are your "comfort food" books? And when do you crack them open?

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