Monday, October 20, 2014

Coffee and Comfort Reads

This weekend, a tremendously craptastic, downright terrifying thing happen thing to a friend of mine that affected the entire blogging community. I debated writing my own post about and the author who instigiated it and my friend who was harassed and intimidated and stalked, but I didn't for several reasons. One, other blogs and bloggers wrote really excellent write-ups about the facts (here, and here, here, and here) and the feels (here and here) of the case. Two, I'm just tired and heart-sad, to be honest. I'm filled with righteous anger, and I'll be tweeting righteously and angrily for weeks and months to come, but I hit a point on Sunday where I just got tired and needed solace.

So I turned to coffee and comfort reads.

Bloggers start blogging about books because they love books. Authors start writing books because they love books. We interact online and form a community where we discuss books and take pictures of books and cuddle books and cry about books together because we--you guessed it--love books. This online community is a safe haven for so many of us, a cozy microcosm of nerdery where we can talk about things most of the rest of the world doesn't truly get. That sense of safe haven was horribly, dangerously violated. We're all reeling. A person I have talked to nearly every day for a year may have been forced out of my life, and I'm crushed. It felt like this whole mess had taken away the two things I loved best about book blogging--my blogging friends and community, and the love of books.

So yeah--emotions. I was drowning in them. I was barely able to muster the energy to toss a haul post up yesterday, so I knew doing any actual review reading or writing this weekend was never going to happen, but I was starting to lose my sanity a bit, sitting on the couch and walking twitter as the entire world slowly descended into shit. And I remembered what I used to do to make myself feel better when I was younger, and that was rereading.

I reread all the time as a kid and a teen. I re-walked the same fictional paths over and over and hung out with the same fictional friends until they were worn in and cozy and familiar as a childhood blanket. I hardly ever get to reread now that I'm a blogger with a schedule, but this weekend I decided to hell with it. I need a comfort reread, and I need it now. And a heavy duty comfort reread, at that.

My heavy duty comfort rereads are bright, sunny, romantic, zany Sophie Kinsella novels whose plots I have memorized, whose romances make me swoon, and whose quips make me laugh. They are Harry Potter books, with their endless mini stories, jokes, and characters I know by heart. I reread choice sections of Jane Austen novels, or reread the ends of Meg Cabot books, or find all the very best of Tamora Pierce's kiss scenes. I go back and inhabit the happy young Gillian who first read those scenes, and it's seriously the best soul-balm there is.

Wee Gillian was not the coffee addict that Grown Gillian is, but another thing that brings me pleasure is coffee. So I poured myself some coffee (okay, a whole pot of coffee. I AM A GILMORE), cracked open I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella, and reread the entire last 100 pages, aka all my favorite romantic bits. And I felt lighter and freer and more like myself, the book-loving girl who started blogging in the first place. Coffee and comfort reads, man. They can end wars.

Coffee = love
Except for Saturday night, when I was brimming with fury and darkness, and Christina and I video chatted and had an evening of rum and kdrama--which also was a huge help, let me tell you. And it highlighted what was basically the ONLY good thing to come out of this utter swampy shitpit of a situation: that this community and the people in it (minus the few EXTREME OUTLIERS) are awesome and kind people. We speak out when bad things happen, and we support each other. Bloggers and authors have rallied and spoken out. Even those of us too crushed to keep speaking, who want to do nothing more than sit on our beds and watch Korean teenagers almost kiss, will do it together. Metaphorically and literally.

I want to have a soothing cup of coffee with you in a rainy coffee shop while we both read books that make us feel better. If you need rum and kdrama, I want to do that with you, too. This weekend brought out the very worst of this community that I have ever seen in my two years on the bookish internet, but it also revealed the very best. This weekend fucking sucked. What happened sucks. You, my lovely bookish nerds, do not suck. There are steps we can take and measures we can enforce and apologies we can hope for, and I will yell and fight on my twitter feed until i'm blue in the face, but here on the blog, i wanted to take a moment to leave the shitstorm of the twitters, have a soothing cup of coffee, and read a comfort book.

So... that was a fun post. Let's pretend we're all sitting in a cozy coffee shop with and infinite number of comfy chairs and couches, Wifi, blankets, and pillows. There's rain outside and a crackling fire inside. What are you drinking? What's your comfort read?

I'm drinking blackblackblack coffee and reading Sophie Kinsella, as I said. Come join me.


  1. awe i love this post :) I will be having peppermint tea (no coffee lol) and reading harry potter for the billionth time (: thank you

  2. This is such a wonderful post. I'm not a blogger, but I am an avid reader and casual reviewer on Goodreads, and that whole incident shocked and horrified me. I follow many book blogs and trust so many bloggers' opinions, and it's so sad that this may have driven out not only someone whose reviews I respect, but other bloggers and reviewers as well. My heart goes out to the reviewer and everyone else affected by this.

    Oh, and I'd be drinking some kind of sweet, flavored iced coffee and probably rereading the best Tamora Pierce kissy scenes ;)


    But at the moment I'm rereading Anna and the French Kiss. A coincidence, because it was on my schedule, but exactly what I need.

    I feel ya Miss Gillian Berryyyy *hugs*

  4. Apperantly I live under the rock because I just found out about the whole drama. Thanks for this post, it's amazing!

  5. I have my TuTu Tea Mug filled with Tazo Zen Tea with just a spoonful of sugar in it. In my head is my beloved book Anna and the French Kiss because it makes me feel good about the world and life in general. It is made of magic and we all need some magic in our lives.

    Cheers for this post Gillian!

  6. I'm drinking either hot chocolate with marshmallows or Twinings English Breakfast tea, both options in a Disney mug! :)

    I love Sophie Kinsella and I've Got Your Number is one of my favorites! I should reread that, great idea. Have you read Twenties Girl? That was another standalone that I liked.

    I used to reread alllll the time. For comfort and for destressing. Harry Potter is at the top of the list but I've also read Wuthering Heights six times. Anna and the French Kiss is a recent reread favorite! And I love that you read swoony/kissing scenes too because that's my favorite thing to do. Sometimes I'll fold down the page or add a bookmark so I can find it faster. Like in The Art of Lainey :D Or Meant to Be. The Nanny by Melissa Nathan is one I read kissing scenes for also. I probably watch more Jane Austen than I read it but I can see how that would be the perfect comfort read.

    Hope you feel less blue soon <3 (But more blue tomorrow because BLUE LILY LILY BLUE. Eeeeee.) Lots of good drinks, fluffy books, and Disney movies methinks!

    (Perversely, when I was ever really upset in high school or college, I would watch Gladiator to make myself feel better. It's so violent but because I knew every word and loved the movie and story so much, it felt familiar and comfortable to me. It was like my movie security blanket, like HP was my book version. People give me funny looks when I tell them that haha.)

  7. So that's pretty much my exact reaction when things upset me too! I'm still a big rereader, but Tamora Pierce, Jane Austen, Garth Nix, Philip Pullman, and JK Rowling are serious almost yearly rereads for me. Also K-Dramas (watching teenagers almost kiss HAHAHAHA - speaking of, have you watched I Can Hear Your Voice, Secret Garden, or Heartstrings? Those are definite favourites for me these days, although nothing will ever touch Coffee Prince), and coffee, which I basically need to exist, but definitely use as an emotional crutch. I'm glad that despite all the drama that went down this weekend (I got so upset that I banned myself from twitter for the weekend) that it hasn't destroyed the close-knit community that we've made and that most book bloggers have been really supportive of each other.

  8. I'm so glad I was blissfully unaware of that raging shitstorm, because this weekend I gave up coffee (and literally every single other one of my comfort foods) as a last-ditch effort to turn my health around, before I end up like a character in a John Green novel.
    But I have lots of rum on hand (which I can no longer drink) if you need any again. And although I avoid Twitter like the plague, I am adept at revenge, chilled.
    If your friend needs anything we the anonymous bloody few can provide, let me know (including stuffed animals, cocoa, and steps to filing a restraining order).

  9. I would be drinking hot chocolate (because I dislike coffee and tea, and although I'm addicted to mountain dew, that's not a "comfort" drink). So yes, a mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows, please and thank you. I've never actually been a fan of rereading books, unless it was Harry Potter. I've reread the first 3 like 3 times each (because they're the only ones I own of the series). But I've come to appreciate rereading, especially when I'm in reading or blogging slumps. They're so wonderful to relieve the stress and bring you back to that happy place you were in when you read them for the first time. Since then, I've only ever reread one series completely, and that was the Circle Trilogy by Nora Roberts. I love that series so much, and I feel like rereading it again soon. Also, The Raven Cycle would be a fantastic comfort reread, if my books would just come in the mail already.

    I love, love this post! :)

  10. I draw so much comfort from this post, Gillian! I think it really hits the mark when you talk about how books are a comfort to you. When I was younger, a bit of a loner, I turned to stories and fictional friends to keep me company - and they still do. It's definitely very comforting to know that, in spite of the craziness that went down, books and the wonderful people I've gotten to know through the book blogging community are still going to remain two things I can count on.

  11. mmmmm....COFFEE! you've committed some serious coffee porn scandals on this post Gillian.

    Yes, unfortunately. I'm so sorry for everything that has happened to Blythe. I certainly hope she's doing alright. I haven't interacted with her much online, but she's always the kindest person. I don't see why people have been calling her a bully at all. It makes no sense to me.

    It's time for Coffee and Fluff. I'm in the mood for fluff. I love high fantasy. It's my love, my heart, my everything. But eh...the drama has caused me to want something relaxing and not as complex. I'm thinking of a favorite re-read or a romantic YA like Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan or Catching Parker by Miranda Kenneally.

  12. Gillian, this is such a fabulous post in response to everything that's happened. I love this. My comfort reads include anything by L.M. Montgomery, but it will probably include re-reading at least some segments of Anne of Green Gables. I also love her short story collections! I love a good latte or cappuccino, a good cup of coffee (with milk), or a cup of PG Tips tea. In spite of everything that has been happening in the blogging world, it is amazing to see the blogging community come together and to see the encouraging interactions between bloggers and authors in response to this. Thank you for this post! Sending Blythe lots of good wishes!

  13. I'll be drinking some magnificent black coffee with some Plain Cream and a little bit of sugar. I'll be reading something off of my favorites shelf such as Plus One or Stargirl :)
    I really really really like this post. It's beautiful :)

  14. I am drinking the blood of my, just kidding. 1. gross, 2. so not the spirit of this post.

    Right, so, I will join you with a pot of coffee, also maybe some cookies (or cake) (or pie) (or gelato) (sugar, the key is lots and lots of sugar) and I will read *suspenseful drumroll* Nora Roberts. They require zero percent of my brain, they always have a happy ending and idk, I started reading them in like 6th or 7th grade and they just sort of take me back to burrowing into my bed on a sick day and being taken care of and zero responsibilities or real life. If I don't feel like reading (shocking, i know, but it happens), same thing but with Buffy.

    So much love for both you and this post and also you again because you are the best. I hope your Sophie Kinsella did the trick and you're feeling at least a wee bit better. Gigantic hugs forever.

  15. Honestly, I've found that if I'm overly emotional, I can't focus. I can't handle more feelings, good or bad, and I can't follow even the simplest of plots. So if I'm feeling overwhelmed and can't escape outside for a walk with my headphones, I curl up on my couch with a good comic strip collection. Foxtrot and all its nerd jokes work best, but Get Fuzzy, Far Side, or Dilbert will do as well. I'll ignore everything else going on and spend the next hour or two giggling over hijinks and science puns, and by the time I'm done, I'll be just a bit more centered.


  16. While the events that inspired this post are awful, I love and appreciate this post because it reminds me of my first true love-- reading. Comfort reading to me is being nestled under an electric blanket on a cold and drizzly day. I would be sipping peppermint tea and re-reading the Harry Potter series for...oh gosh, I lost count. This helps wash away all the negativity in my life, even if it's just for a little while.


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