Books That Enchant

A few years ago, when I was grieving my mother’s death, a friend sent me a link to an article on the fine art of re-reading.
Emma cover
The gist of the article was this—re-reading a favorite book in a time of stress is another way of providing comfort to ourselves while we’re deep in the healing process.

My husband often jokes that he knows when something’s really bothering me because I reach for my Jane Austen. I’m not sure if I can explain why I love those books so much but I readily admit that they are my idea of the ultimate comfort food.

Grilled cheese and tomato soup for my head, I guess.

I’m sure that part of this is the peace I feel when I’m immersed in something familiar when everything around me is stormy and painful. But another part of this pleasure is the sensation of enchantment that accompanies opening the covers of certain books.

I think this enchantment is the kick—the high—that readers experience when they connect deeply with another human being through the written word. To me, it’s a sensation like no other—which probably explains the large number of full book shelves in my house and the number of library cards in my wallet.

Part of this reader’s high is a desire to share these special books with others so I’ve decided to launch a weekly series called “Books That Enchant” and I’m asking everyone who would like to participate to plunge right in and share your close-to-the-heart-enchanted specials.

The definition of enchantment is up to you. It could be a book you read as a child that still makes you smile when you think about it. It could be a full-immersion piece of non-fiction with prose so juicy, you want to ingest it slowly. It could be something philosophical that made you think and change your way of seeing the world. It could be something that conjured up such a powerful emotion (Old Yeller comes to mind here), that just hearing the title squeezes your heart. Or it could be a story so fascinating, the first paragraph grabs you by the collar and won’t let go.

Books that enchant. Let’s make a list and share it with one another, shall we?

6 thoughts on “Books That Enchant”

  1. One of my favorite books is “Parnassus on Wheels” by Christopher Morley. It has mistaken identity, chases around the countryside, and lots of crazy stuff along with philosophy of why books are important. I pick it up for a lift every now and then. I also pick up an Austen once a year and revisit Georgette Heyer and Miss Read’s Thrush Green frequently. I’m curious to see what response you get here!

  2. I have a few that I’ll rotate through depending on my mood. The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness, which is a great escape from everyday, the Harry Potters books because they’re such an easy read and a great distraction from the craziness of the world and lately I’ve been going back to the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon but I think that has more to do with the tv show than anything else.

    1. Oooh, good choices, Marie. I cycle through Harry Potter as well. In fact, I’ve been feeling the approach of an HP mood lately. Must be something about winter. I haven’t read the others but am adding to my list. Thanks!

  3. Books I reread regularly are “Snow on Cedars” by David Guterson, “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens, and “Tess of the D’Ubervilles” by Thomas Hardy—all unrelated but each wonderful in its own way. What I love most about Snow on Cedars is how it transports me to a snowy island on the west coast where I’ve never been and submerges me in the events taking place there. The other two are so complex, that new things are revealed to me each and every time I pick them up.

    1. Oh I love Snow Falling on Cedars. Just the title is so poetic. And I generally love Dickens all the time (though Martin Chuzzlewitt is a drag!). I’ve never read Tess though I have read other books by Hardy. I have a tendency to like books from the end of the 19th through the early 20th centuries such as Room with a View, Age of Innocence and The Forsythe Saga. I’m getting a great list here!

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