During the height of the pandemic, I became accustomed to seeking out Zoom interviews with authors. That habit has continued as the pandemic has changed courses and yet continues to rage. I watched a fascinating interview with Matt Haig about his work. I was primarily interested in learning more about The Midnight Library. At the same time, I found myself drawn into his discussion of his newest book, nonfiction, The Comfort Book.
I looked at some reviews of The Comfort Book and decided I needed to read it. The deciding factor came from this line from Metro, a London newspaper: “The literary equivalent of a steaming hot chocolate on a chilly day…. The idea read for dipping into whenever you need a pick-me-up or change of perspective.”
After more than a year of pandemic with frequent bad news and the continuing rage of a new variant of COVID-19, I needed what Haig is providing in The Comfort Book. The pieces range from a few lines to several paragraphs.
Here are some of my favorite short pieces:
“Nothing is stronger than hope that doesn’t give up.”
“Forward momentum is great. But we also need sideways momentum. For instance, I just sat down and ate a pear. I have no idea what the future holds but I am very grateful that I am alive and able to lie on a sofa and eat a pear.”
“You are here. And that is enough.”
I read a short piece about Nelly Bly that I found interesting enough to pursue other information about her. Haig provides an intriguing quote from Bly: “Energy rightly applied and directed will accomplish anything.”
On another page, Haig provides a recipe for peanut butter on toast. Now, I know how to put peanut butter on toast, yet Haig’s description is one that brought a smile to my face. One of the steps is “don’t rush it. Set the mood of appreciation by moving the knife at a steady, Tai Chi kind of pace.” I like that description.
We should be mindful of small acts whether they are in making peanut butter toast or interactions with our fellow human beings.
Near the end of the book, Haig reminds readers that “in troublesome moments, the beauty of life can come into sharper focus. And the things we learn in the bad days serve us in the good times. Just as the promise of good times helps us through the bad. Everything connects.”
The Comfort Book is well worth a reader’s time. Dip into it again and again.