Austen Comfort Scenes: The Reading Equivalent of Mac-n-Cheese by Marilyn Brant
I’ll admit it: I have a long list of comfort foods. Some are starchy, cheesy and savory (see photo on left!) and others are sweet, creamy, gooey and/or highly caloric in their own special way. Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil and Oprah may all caution against using foods to elevate one’s mood but, let’s face it, who hasn’t done at least a little of that on occasion? Particularly on those super-stressful days?
I was having one of those this month. And it wasn’t just a day…it was about a week’s worth of them. A combination of a short-term family crisis + a temporary physical injury + a huge work project + the unfortunate fact that my day seemed to have only has 24 hours in it = the need for a little comfort.
However, having spent the winter months developing a deep personal relationship with sea-salted chocolate caramels (see photo on right!), and knowing that the time had come to spend less time with them and more time with my gym’s elliptical machine made me think about my OTHER source of comfort: Great Story Scenes.
You know the ones… Those scenes we read or watch over and over and over again. The ones that never fail to brighten our day or improve our mood, no matter what may be going on in Real Life. Well, I have a long list of those, too, and they are (thankfully) fat free.
Many of my favorites are, of course, from Jane Austen’s novels. Some are those deeply romantic moments, like when Mr. Knightley finally puts Emma out of her misery and admits his longstanding affection for her, and the tension-filled scene of love’s revelation where Captain Wentworth pointedly returned to the room “to collect his gloves” so he could make sure Anne got his letter. *swoon*
Pride and Prejudice is like the fudge brownie + ice cream sundae of comfort reads for me — there are just SO MANY scenes in it that have this wonderfully soothing effect, even if they’re actually filled with conflict in the story itself. Like Elizabeth and Darcy’s not-so-harmonious dance at the Netherfield Ball. Or when Elizabeth is playing piano at Lady Catherine’s house with Col. Fitzwilliam and Darcy looking on. And, of course, when Elizabeth and Darcy meet by chance at Pemberley. Oh! Love that one.
I couldn’t help myself…I watched that scene again this week, and the one after, and the one after that… More addictive than even chocolate, I tell ya. But you all knew that.
What about you? What are your favorite comfort foods? Your favorite comfort scenes? Please share — I’d love to hear about both!
Marilyn Brant’s latest novel, A Summer in Europe, is the B&N General Fiction Book Club’s featured online read this month, and it’s not too late to jump into the discussion or to just read along with the Week One and Week Two chats (Week Three is coming up on Monday). There are lots of travel photos and, of course, desserts for all!