When I was in high school (or was it middle school?), I discovered the book "Clan of the Cave Bear." The book and the sequels that followed chronicle a young girl growing up in "caveman" days who is separated from her family by an earthquake and is taken in by a different, older species of human. She grows up in a world that should have been completely foreign to her and doesn't understand why she is so different. There is so much detail in these books on how early man made tools, kept fire, hunted game, used herbal medicine, and how he may have evolved into different species. It sounds utterly boring reading about it here, but the book is fiction and is written well enough that you forget how much history/archeology may actually be embedded in the story.
There is a fantasy element to the books, but I think what most appealed to me was the heroine, Ayla. She defies all odds over and over again and becomes this extraordinarily strong, amazing, independent woman who discovers flint can make fire, tames a wild horse (and then a lion cub and a wolf), and teaches so many lessons to those around her. But she is also very human, making mistakes, falling in love and suffering such devastating losses. For my 18th birthday, my parents gave me hardbacks of the series and they are still one of my most prized possessions. So much so that even though I read the books over and over again, I read the paperbacks so that I don't damage the hardbacks.
The other series that speaks to me in the same way is the Outlander series. There's definitely a lot of fantasy in these books in addition to steamy sex scenes (come to think of it, the Clan series has that too), but at it's core, it is a love and destiny story. The love and destiny of a wife, lover, and then a mother. And the underlying theme throughout of family. There is another strong heroine in this series, Claire, who is just written so real she seems to jump off the page at you. You feel like you know her, or that you are her in a way.
There is something about both of these series of books that speaks to me and I can read them over and over again without getting sick of the stories. They have become something of a security blanket for me-comfort books. When I feel lost or disconnected from myself, I go back to these books and lose myself in Ayla and Claire's stories again. It is like an old friend who reminds me of who I am.
Since we moved into our new house almost a year and a half ago, we haven't bought bookshelves and my old friends, the books, have remained packed away in boxes in the basement, untouched. I think it might be time for me to dig them out and pay them a visit.
What books are your "comfort books?"
AF arrived today. She was quite the congenial visitor for a change, with very little flow and very minor cramping. I go in tomorrow morning for my suppression check (U/S and BW).
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