Psst! If you’re looking for the new Literary Medicine Cabinet that I’ve expanded from a simple printable to a beautiful 35-page ebook, go here to check it out!
When life is crazy, do you reach for certain titles on your bookshelves? I definitely do.
During the year that we sold our house and moved from Florida to Texas so we could live on a farm and Daniel could switch careers and start a livestock internship, I struggled to read anything new. But I did re-read all of L.M. Montgomery’s Anne books, Jane Austen’s complete works, and the entire Harry Potter series.
Those are some of my comfort books–part of my self-care. They make me feel safe, happy, and sane even when life is throwing me for a loop and is full of upheaval.
But then just a few weeks ago, a lovely gal named Vanessa in our Fountains of Carrots podcast Facebook group (which is, by the way, the only thing keeping me on Facebook because it’s full of such delightful people) used the perfect words to describe comfort reads. In a thread about Little Women, she asked “what else is in your literary medicine cabinet?” and I fell hard for that phrase.
I’d heard of “bibliotherapy” before–healing (often from trauma) through reading, but Literary Medicine Cabinet hits the nail on the head for how I’ve come to find comfort in books and have them nourish me in times of crisis. I could name a dozen or so books that would certainly be in my LMC right off the top of my head, but I kept thinking on it and came up with well over 100 titles!
I compiled a list of those books that make up my Literary Medicine Cabinet, broken up into sections (classics, children’s literature, spiritual reading, etc), and made it a printable so you can easily take it to the library or make an Amazon order. I also included a section with spaces for you to fill in with titles that make up YOUR Literary Medicine Cabinet so you can curate your own.
While some of what I included in my list (like Little Women) may be comfort reading for many of us, there are certain books we may read as children or during special seasons in our lives that become comfort reads whether they’re heartwarming or not. The Violent Bear It Away is one of these books for me, even though it’s not exactly ahem…..lighthearted…with all the murder and such.
I would love to hear what you would put in your Literary Medicine Cabinet in the comments!
Jenna Jones says
‘The Princess and the Goblin’ George McDonald
‘The Horse and His Boy’ C.S. Lewis
‘Til We Have Faces’ C.S. Lewis
‘The Scorpio Races’ Maggie Stiefvater
The entire Harry Potter series
Can you find the theme? It’s all ‘there’s a bigger picture here…just have faith!’ theme in my Literary Medicine Cabinet!
I haven’t read The Scorpio Races! What’s it about?
Heather DelGiorno says
Its fantastic! Scorpio races it about water hourses and racing them they are mythical creatures from the sea kinda like silkies.
Anne of Green Gables and Jane Austen–YES! And not only Little Women but Little Men and Jo’s Boys as well. The Chronicles of Narnia, Jane Eyre, and The Scarlet Letter. The Velveteen Rabbit, Beatrix Potter, Dr. Seuss, and Shel Silverstein. The English Garden series by Lori Wick, The Atonement Child by Francine Rivers, and the Christy Miller series by Robin Jones Gunn. I grew up with Christy Miller and it delights me to no end that the author is still writing stories about these literary friends of mine! 🙂 This list could be endless! Wish I could see yours but the Bundle is not something I really need right now.
I LOVE Little Men and I remember loving Jo’s Boy’s, too, but it’s been forever! I’ll have to check out the Wick, Rivers, and Gunn books. <3
I’m not sure Gunn’s books would hold the same appeal for someone who hasn’t grown up with them, but I love them and always will. Your girls might enjoy them when they get a little older. 🙂
The Poldark novels
The Jalna books
Any and all of Lucy Maud Montgomery
The Scarlet Pimpernel
The Enchanted Chocolate Pot (and sequals) by Caroline Stevermer and Patricia Wrede
The Hunters Moon by O.R. Melling
I’ve been wanting to read the Poldark books! Better or worse than the tv series?
This reminds me of the Literary Apothecary in The Little Paris Bookshop… although not all of his “literary medicine” is comfort-related. But Anne, Jane, and Harry Potter are my top go-tos. Some others that come to mind for me:
Chronicles of Narnia
And for some reason these non-fiction reads, too:
French Kids Eat Everything (Le Billon)
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (Kingsolver)
Encounters with Silence (Karl Rahner)
Mere Christianity (Lewis)
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is such a comfort read for me!
First ones that come to mind this morning are:
Farmer Boy (Really any Little House book -excluding Rose years) – there’s such good descriptions of food in this one, though ^_^
The Trimmed Lamp – O. Henry
Anne of Green Gables books
Any of the kids books by Fr. Finn
Love Letters to My Husband – St. Gianna (This edition is out of print, but easy to find. Today is her feastday!) https://smile.amazon.com/Letters-Husband-Gianna-Beretta-Molla/dp/0819844934/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1493393608&sr=8-3&keywords=St.+Gianna+Beretta+Molla+Letters
When I was teaching I would read the Outlander series during my lunch hour. It let me “get away” with escapist fantasy, which refreshed me for the rest of the day.
Amanda Soltoff says
I love this idea, and I will be following along to find out what books I should be adding to my list!
all the Little House books, especially Farmer Boy
The Enchanted Chocolate Pot (and sequels) by Caroline Stevermer and Patricia Wrede
The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
all the Penderwick books by Jeanne Birdsall
the Chronicles of Narnia (especially Voyage of the Dawn Treader)
the Austin books (especially A Ring of Endless Light) by Madeleine L’Engle
the All of A Kind Family books by Sydney Taylor
and I had never read the Betsy-Tacy books until recently, but I FLEW through all of them and can tell they will be added to this list too! I think I take comfort in reading books about sisters and families and growing up!
Anything and everything by Astrid Lindgren:) I grew up with her books and reread something written by her every year. At the moment I`m going through all of her books in a row. They`re all wonderful though Mardie (Madicken in Swedish) is the one I most often read to children. I always prefer Astrid`s books with illustrations by Ilon Wikland if she has illustrated a given book.
Farmer Boy is always a pleasure to read.
My newest favorite book to read over and over again is The Awakening of Miss Prim. Found it through your blog and podcast and recommended to everyone I know:) Lots of underlining to be done there, probably every time I read it.
Amy Vail says
Anything by Elizabeth Goudge, but especially The Little White Horse
All the Mary Lasswell books
Angela Thirkell’s Barsetshire books
the Oz books
The Legend of Holly Clause
The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles
Maida’s Little Shop, by Inez Haynes Irwin
Make Way for Ducklings
Is there a way to get the printable and not have to pay for the eBook? Just looking for a simple list
Sorry Megan! I don’t offer the printable separately from the book.
I know I had a copy of the e-book somewhere (I read it a couple of years ago), but it’s not on my Kindle account and I can’t find it when I search my email. Was it a PDF? Any suggestions for further searching?
Yes, it’s a PDF! I’ll shoot you an email, Sarah.