Reading Is Good For You

Book Reviews, Literary News, and Thoughts on Life

Comfort Reads

While I was looking back on the books I have read so far this year, I noticed that I read twelve of those books more than once, either since the start of the new year or sometime in the past. While four of these books were titles and/or authors that were new to me, the remainder were from authors, like Megan Whalen Turner and Melina Marchetta, that I find myself turning to again and again when I find myself in need of a guaranteed good read. 

Titles like Marchetta’s Jellicoe Road and The Piper’s Son and Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief series have quickly become my comfort reads, those books that are as cozy and familiar to me as a fuzzy blanket and bowl of homemade macaroni and cheese (I’m not much for chicken noodle soup). I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read each of these books, but I don’t think I’ll ever tire of them. Both authors have a way of spinning a plot and creating characters that are at once accessable and engaging and make me feel. And let’s not get started on the humor. Melina Marchetta is one of the few authors that can make me bawl like a baby one minute, but in the next , she’ll have me nearly wetting my pants over something incredibly hilarious that one of the characters has said or done.* I’ve learned not to read any of these books in public or I’ll find myself constantly fielding the “What’s so funny?” question.

This little reflection got me wondering what books and authors other readers turn to again and again because they are in a reading slump or are simply looking for something guaranteed to be awesome. Out of thirty-one people I surveyed on both Facebook and LibraryThing:

  • 8 people turned to classic female authors like Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte (six of those votes were for Pride and Prejudice alone).
  • 6 people cited Robin McKinley as one of their go-to authors (most votes were for her Damar books).
  • 4 people listed C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series as a favorite.
  • Megan Whalen Turner, L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables series), and Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games trilogy) were tied with 3 votes each.
  • Tamora Pierce, Diana Wynne Jones, Harry Potter series, The Dresden Files, The Secret Garden and A Little Princess all received multiple votes as well.

So what are your comfort reads and what makes them so appealing to you? Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments section below.


* Case in point — this funny exchange between Tom Mackee and Ned in The Piper’s Son:

“Ned?” he says after a while. “Oi, Ned?”


“If someone says to you that the guy they’re going out with doesn’t have to prove how smart he is, what’s your response?”

“That he’s dumb.”

“And if he has a six-pack?”

“Dumb jock.”

“Not too intense.”

“Dumb jock with no personality.”

“And they see eye-to-eye?”

Ned pauses. “With the spitfire from Dili?”

Same,” Tom corrects him.

Ned holds up a hand to where Tara would reach him in height.

“Dumb jock with no personality and short-man syndrome.”

“Thanks, Ned.”



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This entry was posted on July 12, 2011 by in Reader's Advisory and tagged .
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