When Books Are Like Jumpers

I have this jumper. It’s a cream Chanel number that’s two sizes too big for me and is about ten years old. It has a little Tikka stain on the hem that won’t come out, and it’s a little frayed around the neckline. I’d like to say that I’ve treated it well, but I haven’t. It’s been abused, stretched, covered in make up and muck and even, gasp, tumble dried.

So why don’t I throw it out?

Well, even in it’s less than perfect state, it’s still a quality jumper that’s comfortable and familiar and comforting. It’s my Go-to jumper.

And just like that Go-to jumper, I, like pretty much everyone else, have Go-to books.

Go-to books are those books that you keep going back to time and again. Those books that you reread when you need to be in a world that you know already. They are the books that you can pick up and open at any page and read.

This week I’ve been indulging in one of my Go-to books – Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy. For those of you who’ve never read it, it’s a great big 1950’s saga about friendship and love and ambition and betrayal. And, just like most of Binchy’s books, it’s sad and lovely all at the same time, and will require you to set aside several hours of your life.

Another book on my Go-to list is a little less sophisticated. It’s Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. What I like about this book is that it’s straightforward. There’s science, dinosaurs, some running and screaming and lots of people getting eaten. But I like the way Crichton writes. Simple and direct. When I’m in need of something straight, this is the book I go to.

Terry Pratchett’s Men at Arms and equally The Fifth Elephant are books that I keep coming back to. I think I can recite the first ten pages of TFE word for word. These are, despite the jokey covers and comic timing, not necessarily light works. They are deeper than they appear and, like much of Pratchett’s work, have the ability to make you think more about social issues, politics, racism, and, in the case of MAA for example, sexism, monarchy and original sin. Plus, I’m a tiny little bit in love with Sam Vimes.

My Go-to books aren’t going to be considered heavy, serious literature. A lot of people will look down on them because of that. But they aren’t meant to be heavy going, they are meant to be comforting, they are meant to be something I can slip into and relax and feel familiarity and peace in when I need a break, or to take my mind of the stresses of daily life.

Just like that jumper.

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