SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: This photograph is of intrepid readers at a recently bombed Holland House, in Kensington, London, England, during World War II. It may or may not have been staged for British propaganda purposes, but the spirit of the British during the war — as well as the tenacity of readers even (perhaps especially) in hard times is unmistakable.
I love this photo, for so many reasons, but probably most because reading is what's helped me through so many challenging times. And books aren't illegal, immoral, or fattening! (Although often best enjoyed with a glass of wine or a cookie, in my opinion....)
For me, it's not just reading during these times, but rereading — comfort reading, in other words. Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, anything by Alice Hoffman, anything by Laurie Colwin, early Ken Follett.... And so-called children's books — by Philip Pullman, J.R.R. Tolkein, C.S. Lewis, T.H. White, Frances Hodgeson Burnett, and Louisa May Alcott — are standbys as well.
I'm assuming if you're reading this blog, books are important to you as well. What books to you turn to in times of crisis? What do you consider "comfort reading"? What books do you read again and again?
Please share in the comments section — we'd love to know!
Photograph reprinted with permission of English Heritage.