In the face of economic crisis, war, and swine flu (not to mention a thousand other horrible things), life can get pretty depressing. 2009 is kind of a bleak year, don't you think? I personally know three people who've lost their jobs. And another two who are very, very sick. Our house isn't even worth what we bought it for eight months ago. It's hard not to get down about it. Some days the only way I can cope is by burying my head in the sand for a while – not because it solves anything, but because it's necessary to decompress.
My version of the sandbox is a good book. Steve's is a good movie. Both provide a good way to escape a crappy day.
I'm a writer, so clearly I'm biased, but I think books beat movies any day of the week. Because books allow me to invest a piece of myself. I can put any face I want to the characters. I can choose the way their voices sound in my head. I can put together my own soundtrack depending on the mood I'm in.
It's rare that I'll ever see a movie based on a book I've read and think the movie was better. (Except maybe for Interview with a Vampire. And the Shawshank Redemption, which was originally a short story.)
There are books I'll read over and over again because I get something different from them every time. Stephen King's IT, for instance. (This is blog post #9 – are you getting that I'm huge Stephen King fan yet?). I read that book every other year without fail, and I started when I was twelve. Each time it's different. When I was kid, I completely related to the kids in the book (who are eleven years old). I understood their fears, their friendships, their wants. Then they grew up – as did I – and now I relate to the story on a completely new level.
I've read Pet Sematary a dozen times, too. Same with Misery. What can I say, they're my comfort books. Why? Maybe because no matter how shitty a day I'm having, something worse always happens to one of King's characters. Nobody tortures their characters more than King does.... and what can I say, it's comforting.
Because as bad as the economic crisis is, wouldn't it be worse if a psycho nurse kidnapped you and chopped off your foot merely for acting like a cockadoodie brat? If your beloved pet got run over by a truck... then came back from the dead EVIL? If a photo of clown came to life and tried to kill you?
Nothing cheers me up like a good horror novel.
So tell me, what are YOUR comfort books?