Monday, June 18, 2007

Comforting Thoughts

Beth has suggested comfort reading for a blog topic and I, ever helpful, have jumped right in. What, you may ask, is comfort reading? Well it's like comfort food, except it's reading. Familiar, favorite books that you can go back and read when you're feeling blue or out of sorts. Makes you feel better just to read them.
For me, the ultimate in comfort reading is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. They never fail to cheer me. Holmes is the ultimate problem solver. The ultimate proof that reason can triumph over chaos. It doesn't matter if the Black Pearl of the Borgias is missing or if someone has stolen the Bruce Partington Plans or even if a loyal son has apparently bludgeoned his father to death. Holmes will sort it out and in the end the guilty will be punished and order will be restored.
See, that's the thing about Conan Doyle. He believed, at least early in his career, that order was the norm. That the world was basically a good place and that crime and evil were aberrations and once they'd been dealt with, things would go back to being the way they were supposed to be.
Then there's just the atmosphere and the setting of the Holmes stories. Holmes and his stalwart companion Dr. John H. Watson are constantly dashing about Victorian era London, hailing Hansom cabs and taking the steam driven Underground trains to crime scenes. I love the Victorian age. The clothing and the customs. I love the way people talked in that peculiarly circumlocutory way. "This is a case not without its singular points of interest." Mostly I just love the literature of the time. Doyle and Wells and Kipling and Stoker.
As I said, it makes me feel better just to read the stories. To spend time with the eccentric, brilliant Holmes and the loyal and brave Watson in a world where the careful application of deductive reasoning can still win the day.

1 comment:

cliff said...

Doc Savage books. The ultimate comfort reading for me--they may be constructed around a familiar formula, but the pacing and the tone and the mood are always right on target as far as I'm concerned!