The Comfort and Joy of Books by Cathy Rentzenbrink
jeanniejeanniejeannie.co.uk BLOG Tuesday 29th September 2020
When comfort reading won’t cut it: books to restore hope in humanity
The most hopeful thing about books is that they exist. Is it not a miracle to look at a shelf and see the vast range of human experience laid out before us? How remarkable that someone picked up a quill or a typewriter or a laptop and set about distilling their thoughts and ideas into such a perfect delivery mechanism. Every first page functions as the wardrobe door that will open up and show me a new Narnia.
There are periods when I’m not up to the journey, when hope is too much to ask for and I am only fit for rereading Georgette Heyer in the bath or cowering under the covers with PG Wodehouse or Nancy Mitford on audio. But the comfort reading does comfort, and then I am ready to re-engage, to explore, to look for something new.
umankind by Rutger Bregman really did make me feel hopeful about humanity and reinforce my long-held resolution – under threat from the effects of consuming too much social media and news – that we should try to give our fellow humans the benefit of the doubt, and that it is better to be occasionally screwed over than move through the world full of suspicion and mistrust. Black and British by David Olusoga, an erudite exploration of racism and how it continues to mutate, is hopeful because it is exhilarating to read a fine mind at work, and because, as Olusoga says in his conclusion: “Knowing this history better, understanding the forces it has unleashed, and seeing oneself as part of a longer story, is one of the ways in which we can keep trying to move forward.”
I like reading about people who have witnessed the worst of humanity and found a way through. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl has kept me company through many a long night, and The Choice by Edith Eger, who survived Auschwitz and became a therapist, is generous and wise. Dr Kathryn Mannix lights the way with grace. I love this from I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings: “She comprehended the perversity of life, that in the struggle lies the joy.”
Being close to death can help us to notice what really matters. With the End in Mind by Dr Kathryn Mannix takes us into the world of palliative care and shows there is little to fear and much to prepare for when it comes to death: “There are only two days with fewer than twenty-four hours in each lifetime, sitting like bookends astride our lives: One is celebrated every year yet it is the other that makes us see living as precious.”
his is what I hold on to. What can I be doing now to make my deathbed reckoning more satisfying? How do we maintain a faith in humanity? Books help. The feel and the smell. That they exist, that people write them and read them. That always offers me a glimmer of hope on a dark day.
- Dear Reader: The Comfort and Joy of Books by Cathy Rentzenbrink is published by Picador.
DON’T FORGET TO LAUGH EVERYDAY
INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE FOR THE DAY
“There are only two days with fewer than twenty-four hours in each lifetime, sitting like bookends astride our lives: One is celebrated every year yet it is the other that makes us see living as precious.” – Dr Kathryn Mannix
Happiness is…comfort reading
GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY
According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.
Love is…knowing me…knowing you.
WHAT IS THERE A SEASON FOR TODAY TURN, TURN, TURN …
A time to read Dr Kathryn Mannix…A time to read Dr Kathryn Mannix…And even a time to read The Comfort and Joy of Books by Cathy Rentzenbrink
SOMETHING TO BE POSITIVE ABOUT & GRATEFUL FOR IN THE WORLD
I am so grateful for the joy of all the world’s books
SOMETHING TO LAUGH ABOUT
Tiswas (/ˈtɪzwɒz/; an acronym of “Today Is Saturday: Watch And Smile”) is a British children’s television series that originally aired on Saturday mornings from 5 January 1974 to 3 April 1982, and was produced for the ITV network by ATV.
It was created by ATV continuity announcer Peter Tomlinson (later to become a regular presenter on the show) following a test period in 1973 when he tried out a few competitions and “daft stuff” between the programmes.
Presented by Chris Tarrant, Sally James, Lenny Henry, Bob Carolgees, John Gorman & featured Frank Carson
No. of series 8
No. of episodes 302
VIZ MAGAZINE TOP TIPS
Cheer loudly at 8.00pm each Saturday to fool the neighbours into thinking you have won the Lottery.
TOTAL STAIRWAY TO EVEREST CLIMB CHALLENGE
Monday 28/9/2020 DAY 177 – 12 Times 120 Feet Cum Total – 21,240 Feet – (Goal 29,035 Ft)
AUDIT- Each day I have assessed the number of times I climbed the stairs. I have today done an audit and realised realistically I have been doing far less times walking up stairs. So I have adjusted from Day 1 and feel this is realistic and probably erring on the under estimate, but certainly realistic, now.
©2020 Phil M Robinson