My ultimate comfort reread is the Pagan Chronicles series by Catherine Jinks, which I have read so many times that the spines of my books are split and cracked, and the pages are torn in places. I almost know them by heart, to the point that when I read them I'm no longer sure if I'm actually reading the sentences, or completing them myself in my head. This series is like the written equivalent of a warm blanket, and the best thing about it is it can be enjoyed on many levels.
On one level, it's a Monty Pythonesque piece of historical fiction, set in Jerusalem during the Third Crusade and Languedoc in the late twelfth-early thirteenth centuries, hilarious and poignant, and well researched. On another, it's a series of interrelated coming-of-age stories, about dispossessed, damaged, orphaned people mentoring and learning from one another and healing each others' brokenness. In fannish terms, it is the published equivalent of emotional hurt-comfort. Its characters are like old friends; they've been with me since I was ten years old, and I'm not embarrassed to admit that I've occasionally imagined them at my side during times of difficult, fear or anger. It's always helped.
In terms of TV shows, Buffy is the one I always come back to, for similar reasons. Over the years I've liked different things about the show, and learnt different things from it, and identified with different aspects, but it's always been a constant. I rewatched the whole series while writing my Honours thesis, losseniaiel and I picked out individual episodes to watch over the course of our MPhil year (and this was, in fact, how we came to be such good friends during that time), and the first thing I did when I submitted my PhD was sit on the couch and watch Buffy.
As I said before, I don't really reread or rewatch fanworks, but I do adore the fanvid 'Starships', because it's such a heartfelt celebration of fannishness — what it is to feel so deeply about stories that you seek out like-minded people to discuss, explore, and remake them — and it just makes me really happy. I rewatch it from time to time, and it always lifts my spirits.
Apologies for the lateness of this post. Life just caught up with me a bit, and before I knew it, it was the end of term.
This entry was originally posted at http://dolorosa-12.dreamwidth.org/232004.h