Comfort food? Try comfort reading

Kat McKay - Contributing columnist

Ah February …. love is in the air, winter is in the air, summer is in the air, then winter again … it is Ohio after all.

Between Mother Nature’s mood swings and the overdose of Godiva’s assorted chocolates, it’s enough to make anyone want to hide under the covers until April. Some might take comfort in cuddling up with a fluffy blanket, a cup of hot chocolate (or a pint of Ben and Jerry’s depending on which way the weather has swung) and binge-watching a Netflix show.

Some turn to the kitchen and whip up a batch of baked goodies. While I do enjoy my weekend flix and an occasional spoonful of chocolate-chip cookie dough when my husband isn’t looking (he’s the real baker in the family), my true midwinter blues woobie is a good book.

More specifically, four books from my favorite author, Jennifer Crusie.

The two I own, “Bet Me” and “The Cinderella Deal”, are so worn out from being read every year that they’re about to fall apart at the seams. The other two, “Agnes and the Hitman” and “Dogs and Goddesses” have wracked up a ton of checkouts on my library card and are definitely on my “to buy” list.

I’m blowing your socks off, right? This whole reading a book over and over again notion.

I’m going to knock loose the idea that you should only read a book once unless it’s something you use for reference. No, really, there are people out there who believe that once you read a book, that’s it, you can’t go back.

I don’t know if it’s because they think it won’t be as good the second time around or if they feel the book police will come and arrest them for not moving on (they won’t, I swear).

Whatever the case may be, I can tell you that the author wants you to read it over again, the characters want you to read it over again … heck, I want you to read it over again!

And be honest, after you eat that whole pint of B&J, you’re going to regret it later. But will you regret reading an old favorite?

Just think about it, it’s calorie free! And talk about endorphin rush, the book bliss is something that can last a lifetime, not to mention the fact that the act of reading itself covers more time than the two-hour TV fix.

And yes, I might be still obsessing over Netflix’s latest show “Russian Doll,” but much like that post-carb high, it won’t last long.

I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about a book that the characters become an ingrained part of you. I think of Daisy from “The Cinderella Deal” whenever I need a boost of encouragement. I invoke Agnes in “Agnes and the Hitman” for those times when I need a take no prisoners attitude and an excuse to cook with real butter. They’ve become dependable inspiration in this game of life.

The book itself is like an old friend you can count on to be there no matter what.

There’s also something more to sharing the love of a book with another person than there is in sharing the love of a TV show or Rocky Road. It’s a bonding point where you can make that human connection and realize that you’re not alone.

You can use it as an excuse to get out of the house and meet new people by joining a book club at the local library or even connecting online with other bibliophiles via Goodreads.

Still need another reason to try out comfort books?

How about your family.

How many times have you heard your kids say they’re bored this winter? When cabin fever kicks in instead of dragging them with you to Kroger or Walmart, save yourself some money and take them to the library instead. They can find a book (or 10) to immerse themselves in for the next few days and you’ve just found yourself some peace and quite for free.

It can also be a great bonding experience by sharing your favorite childhood book. When my daughter read “A Wrinkle in Time” and came into my room shouting “Oh my god! I can’t believe Charles went bad!”, I was kvelling!

The older they get, the harder it is to connect and the moments where you do are priceless. Books can be a connection your whole life. I have friends whose children are off to college and they’re still bonding over books.

So, when you find yourself in need of something to get your mind off of the rain/sleet/snow/whatever-Ohio-will-come-up-with-next, put away the mac and cheese, turn off the TV and grab a book instead.

I promise, you won’t regret it

Kat McKay is the manager of the Clinton-Massie Branch of the Wilmington Public Library in Clarksville. You can stay up-to-date on the latest library news and events on Facebook by following @CMBranchWPL.

Kat McKay

Contributing columnist