Comfort Reads

discussion

I’m currently listening to this mellow, instrumental, folksy playlist and it’s dark and rainy outside, Kiddo has gone to bed and what I’d enjoy most would be to burrow under the covers with a previously unread Jill Shalvis book. I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while and now seems to be the right time!

I read a lot. Hey, it’s one of the requirements of being a book blogger (I guess?) but I also read for work. I read contemporary romances, fantasy, some sci-fi, classics, paranormals, historical romances, comics – pretty much anything in both YA and adult variety except for crime and horror. I read children’s books to my kid and I read non-fiction stuff like feminist theory for my studies.

But I find myself returning to the same (type of) books whenever I’m feeling tired and just want to turn off the day’s worries for a while. You know that feeling when you’ve been around the whole day and your feet really hurt, or maybe you’ve got a cold that has you feeling fuzzy, or you’ve heard too many bad news that day, or the idea of going out just seems too much?

Whenever I feel like that, I go for romance. Not necessarily fully-fledged romance, but something – a YA fantasy, a historical novel, anything – with a happy ending and a bit of smooching. It makes me feel better when I read about other people getting their happily-ever-afters – I don’t think it has anything to do with unfulfilled fantasies or whatever, it’s just comforting to read about good stuff instead of listening to the awful things happening around the world. Is this a very escapist thing to do? Yes, of course, but I find this particular form of escapism to be beneficial.

srcek

I often re-read old favourites, like Harry Potter or Jane Austen’s novels, but here’s a list of books I found to be perfect for a pick-me-up (you know I can’t resist making a list…):

srcek

What are your go-to reads for when you feel uncomfortable in your own skin? 

Or do you do something completely different when days get rough?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

  • I’m the same way, Kaja. A little romance always perks me back up. I think, too, it’s because you don’t really have to think while reading. They are much easier to fly through. I’m currently listening to the audiobook of Fangirl. Whenever you’re ready for a re-read, I highly suggest the audiobook. It’s awesome!

    • I’m glad you’ve picked up Fangirl! I’ll be waiting for your review. :)
      Yes, that’s it exactly – I want something that doesn’t require a lot of brain power, where I essentially already know the ending (a HEA) and I’m just waiting for it to happen.

  • Greg Hill

    Nothing wrong with that. For me comfort reads used to be fantasy… traditional stuff, like high fantasy, although lately a lot of those don’t hold up as well as they did when I was younger. So I’m not really sure what my comfort read would be these days- but with the explosion of YA titles, maybe some of those would qualify. There’s a lot of good stuff out there…

    • Yeah, fantasy is a great comfort read genre because it’s the definition of escapist literature. I read a lot of those, too, but I rarely re-read it (except for Harry Potter and LOTR), mostly because the books are SO LONG! :) I can skim through a romance re-read in one evening, just for a short pick-me-up, but fantasies take up a lot more time.

  • I don’t have comfort reads. When I really need to escape, I go for new books because those are the ones that are really going to suck me in. But my comfort genre would probably be urban fantasy simply because that’s what I love most. And I think, when I’m down, it bothers me more to see characters’ lives being too perfectly perfect in ways that real life never will. I guess misery loves company, haha.

    • Yeah, that’s definitely one way to look at it – reading about happy couples CAN be depressing. :) I like reading new books by favourite authors, for example, so I have at least some comfort in knowing what to expect. Thanks for stopping by, Kristen! :)

      • I just realized my first comment sounded really bitter. I actually do like happy endings, I just don’t like things too cutesy and perfect leading up to it. And the worse the struggles, the better the happy ending feels, you know? I agree that new books by favorite authors would be great comfort reads, except it seems like every author I love only has one fantasy series and the rest are all COMPLETELY different and not my thing. Just my luck :-P

        • Naah, not bitter, just realistic! :) I like my pick-me-ups sweet, but not cheesy – but then that’s my taste and it’s definitely not for everyone.
          But yes, I get what you’re saying – I like characters who WORK for their happy endings!

  • Mary Stewart and Susanna Kearsley are my go-to reads at the moment. Dorothy L. Sayers, too, when I feel like something a bit more brain-engaging.

    • Alright, I’ll have to check those out, I haven’t read anything by them! Brain-engaging sounds cool but some days I just need a total switch-off …

  • I don’t really need to look for comfort reads, because I would pick fantasy & fairytales and I read those 90% of the time already, haha. For me, there is nothing better than a book with at least some magic in it :)

    • :) Yeah if you know what always makes you feel better, that’s great! I like reading new books by favourite authors so I know what to expect, at least in general.
      But sometimes romances do nothjng to pick me up becausr they’re just too silly and I have to have a wider repertoire of books/genres for all occasions.

  • It’s funny – I read this post and the Order of the Phoenix review and they very much tied together for me :)

    Because Order of the Phoenix is like the opposite of a comfort read. It’s realistic emotionally and it’s well written. But it’s not a lot of fun to read. Umbridge is a well developed, terrible character. Harry is in a bad mood the whole time and Dumbledore is practically not in it at all.

    Comfort reads are the books that make you feel good – for me that’s mostly books from when I was a teenager or in college. Or some of my favorite YA, mostly because they’re fun and have a little bit of romance :)

    • Ha, you’re so right – Order is definitely not my go-to HP book to re-read. It doesn’t have that hopeful feeling that the first two or three books in the series have; I need a bit of hope to lift my mood.

      YA (especially fantasy) is usually a good choice, that’s true, but so many of them fon’t really stand up to a re-read for me :/ Do you have any specific favourites?

      • Scarlet by AC Guaghen
        Enchanted by Alethea Kontis
        A is for Abstinence by Kelly Oram – it’s kind of a guilty pleasure but I’m a sucker for a cocky rock star with a good heart
        The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
        My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison is pretty cute
        Mistwood by Leah Cypess isn’t necessarily a warm fuzzy reread but is really interesting and different so it’s fun to reread for that
        The Season by Sarah MacLean

        I know that’s a lot – I wasn’t sure which of them would be available for you (I think Enchanted isn’t completely international) so I figured a longer list might be more helpful. And also fun to come up with!

        • Aahh thanks for this, Annie! If I can judge by the first item of your list (I read Scarlet and loved it!), it will be really handy for picking my next comfort read. :)

          And I can’t believe there’s a MacLean novel I haven’t read yet! I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

  • I really miss rereading old favorites but I feel like since I started blogging, I’m never ahead enough in my reading to go reread favorites. I need to fix that soon! Of course, rereading HP was always a favorite thing of mine to do. I totally understand the comfort reads though, but I feel like for me, I’ll just return to favorite authors – like Sanderson, Maas, Stiefvater and rediscover why I fell in love with them all over again through something of theirs that I haven’t read before. Sometimes though, when I feel that I need a pick me up, I’ll return to paranormal romances. I know what you mean about romances bringing comfort, but you know me: I always have to have some magic or supernatural aspect to my reads XD

  • When I reread it’s almost always for comfort. Some of my favorites I don’t reread much. I love rereading Julie Garwood. And How to Marry a Marquis by Julia Quinn is a favorite reread of mine. I also love rereading Lori Foster. I haven’t reread any Jill Shalvis, but some of her books would make great re-reads for me.

  • Maraia

    Harry Potter is a definite go-to whenever I need a little extra comfort or feel myself slipping into a reading slump. The same can be said for any of my oldest favorites. I don’t read straight-up romance, as you know, but I do turn to YA contemps that are full of feels as well. Fangirl would definitely make my list, or anything else by Rainbow Rowell. I’m saving my re-read of Simon vs. for a “rainy day.” A comforting read is something I don’t have to think about but that I can just FEEL. (In other words, I probably wouldn’t turn to Robin Hobb if I were having a terrible week, as much as I love her books. :P)

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  • LOVE this. Kiss of Deception is such a great choice. If I had the choice, I would reread The Hunger Games. Nothing makes me escape better :) I think a fantasy is usually a good choice, because the world is SO different, and likely their problems are pretty different than what is going on in your day. Like, in a fantasy, they’re running from assassins or having problems with magic, not worrying about paying the water bill or whatever hahah.

  • Mary Deka

    I loved this post, and your recommendations! When days get rough I usually like to pick up books I haven’t read yet, but that come highly recommended. Fantasy and romance are usually my favorite genres to read on those sorts of days.

    Here are a few books that have swept me up into their worlds, and that would be great reads for when you’re feeling down or lonely:

    Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
    Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
    The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
    Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
    The BFG by Roald Dahl
    The Red Tree by Shaun Tan

  • I think we all know I’m with you on this one, romance is my ultimate of comfort reading. It can be romance in any genre as well, a good YA contemporary book of fluff is just as comforting as reading another of Shalvis’s books and there are certain authors I will continually go back to of I want to unwind. Be it Austen or Harry Potter when I’m feeling the need to curl up in a blanket and hibernate for a couple of days, or if I want some easy romance and grab basically any author of my shelf. If I really need a good comfort read I tend to reread Sarra Manning’s adult book series because she is an author I’ve been following forever and her adult romances are perfection. And Jennifer Crusie is another comfort author, I can pick up literally any book by her and fall into a content little reading world after a bad day.

    Everyone needs a comfort read now and again, how could you not? There are certain books that act as some kind of security blanket for me, I need to know I have them within reach, they travelled to uni with me and they will be the first books I put on my shelf when I move out.

  • This is such a great post Kaja! I think we all have those books that we lean to when we need a bit of cheering up. For me personally, that’s the Percy Jackson series and Flipped by Wendelin van Draanen. :) Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous discussion! <3

  • This post makes me want to go home, crawl in bed, and re-read The Daughter of The Forest and Son of the Shadows, back-to-back. I recently re-read Fangirl because I bought the special edition and it was so nice to get back into a sweet story I love. It is dreary outside right now and I can’t wait to get home and crack open a book, preferably something with romance. I love it when the weather’s foul. :D

    • Hey, sorry it took three weeks to answer this … Ooh, The Daughter of the Forest is beautiful and I’m sure I’ll be re-reading it at some point.
      I never understand what people who don’t read do on foul days – it seems to me like reading is the perfect choice for a day like that. :)

  • It looks like I’m similar to most of the commenters here – my comfort reads are nearly always fantasy-related! I plan to re-read some of my childhood comfort reads (e.g. His Dark Materials; Sabriel)… a book can be really different when you read it at different points in your life, and I reeeeally hope these stand the test of time.

    Also, in my recent quest to read more ‘classics’, I discovered two non-fantasy books I would read again for comfort: ‘Cannery Row’ by John Steinbeck and ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte.

    • Ah, yes, I like re-reading childhood favourites, too. I have a kid now (he turned 1 in September) so I’m happy I’ll be reading books to him – and sharing my favourite stories with him.

      I have had Jane Eyre on my tbr for AGES but I was recently spoiled with a pretty major plot twist so my enthusiasm for it kind of dropped. But I’ll probably get to it someday. I’m checking out Cannery Row! :)

      • I hope your son ends up sharing your love of stories, so you can connect on that level! When my brother was born (he’s way younger than me), I was all excited to share my favorite stories with him… but then he turned out to dislike fantasy, and not be much of a reader : At least we both love videogames, haha.