Let’s face it. 2020 has not been the easiest of years. And even if we’re in a place where we’re secure in the roof over our heads and our loved ones are well, it’s hard not to have moments when everything feels as if it’s closing in and we just want to curl into a ball. That’s when I turn to my comfort reading and viewing.
I have a few book series I turn to; Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar books, Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody mysteries. Notice the link between those two. Both whisk me away to different lands and times. Some of same issues we face today — illness, strife — figure in these, but they are brisk, entertaining, and take me away from my own troubles. If I’m really stressed, there is always my treasured collection of Winnie the Pooh, along with A.A. Milne’s poems, which I received for my sixth birthday. Sometimes you really do need to head back to Pooh Corner to refresh yourself.
More recently, I’ve been induging in some knitting while watching television. Rather, combing through my library of classic films and the streaming services. There’s Midsomer Murders, which takes place in the fictional British county of Midsomer, a place that has a higher per capita murder rate than London. Twenty-one seasons and still going, this is a delightfully weird, twisted, and sometimes creepy series that sometimes gets a bit too bizarre for its own good. Streaming on Acorn TV, Britbox and Amazon, if you haven’t tried it, I recommend “Death of a Hollow Man” (murder among the local amateur dramatic society), “Judgement Day” (murder during the “Perfect English Village” competition), “Sauce for the Goose (murder in a relish factory), “The Creeper” (murder to protect family secrets), and “A Tale of Two Hamlets” (a summer house is blown up with someone in it).
Sometimes, I’m not in the mood for murder, and I will binge my way through history documentaries, telling myself it’s research for future books. Historic Broadway, almost anything surrounding British history. I’ll confess to being a fan of Dr. Lucy Worsley, who not only has the cool job of a curator for the Historic Royal Palaces, but HAS HER OFFICE IN HAMPTON COURT. I wouldn’t mind going to work in Hampton Court. Would you? Your can find her on numerous streaming services, including PBS. Also, interesting things show up if you search her name on YouTube.
But when I seriously need to relax and rechargee, that’s when I turned to Hollywood’s Golden Age. Casablanca, The Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, just about any Fred and Ginger musical. Heck, almost any musical, really. The one I turn to the most, though, is Singin’ in the Rain, with Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynold, Donald O’Connor, and Jean Hagen as Lina Lamont. Two hours of pure fluff, wonderful songs, witty dialogue, and a black moment that lasts all of 90 seconds, this is a beautiful respite when things are down. I adore it, and it is always a pleasure to sink into its charms. Plus, it has my favorite fifteen seconds in all of cinema.
Hard not to smile while watching him, isn’t it?
So those are a few of my favorites. What about you? What’s your favorite “comfort” reading or viewing? Let me know in the comments, then visit Leslie Hachtel to find out what she enjoys.
In addition, the Once Upon a Twelfth Night anthology is being released today. So please join Claire Brett, A.S. Fenchiel and Christina Alexandra, as the honor of your presence is requested by The Earl and Countess of Stapleton at their house party to celebrate Twelfth Night. Festivities include: a titillating masked ball, ice skating, a romp in the local village, a naughty treasure hunt, midnight kisses in the garden and the Twelfth Night Ball where holiday magic brings about seven perfect matches
Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy.