Comfort reading

In yesterday’s digital edition of the NY Times, Celeste Ng, Ann Pathett, Min Jin Lee and other best-selling authors write about books that bring them comfort. It is encouraging to know that they and we can find solace in reading.

My go-to re-read is “Pride and Prejudice.” There’s just something about Austen that calms me. When Elizabeth and Darcy finally declare their love, well…what can I say? And the humor, too. Lizzie’s nutty mother, her father’s bon mots, the sisters’ bantering–though familiar after umpteen readings, never fail to amuse me.

Reading the article in the Times nudged my memory of other comfortable books, too. I was reminded of “Watership Down” that rabbit adventure which I had forgotten all about. How I loved that book when I read it. Why haven’t I reread that one?

Also, “The Enchanted April,” a delightful story centered around four British women who discover friendship and themselves in Italy. It was a popular movie several dozen years ago. Loved both the movie and the book. That doesn’t happen often.

Want a laugh out loud read? Try Bill Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods.” That, too, was a movie, but as usual, the book is way better. His descriptions are priceless. If you’ve ever considered doing the trek on the Appalachian trail, read this.

Ruth Ware, that wonderful writer of mysteries, suggests “Love in a Cold Climate” by Nancy Mitford. I, too, enjoyed that book and am glad to get reacquainted with Mitford, who can make me laugh (and cry).

What are your comfort reads? We have plenty of time and we desperately need a break from the news.

17 thoughts on “Comfort reading

  1. Oh gosh, I’m not sure I have any comfort reads. If I had to choose one, it might be Tolkien’s The Hobbit. “There is more in you than you know” is a mantra I try to remember when things become difficult. Always enjoy your appreciation for the finer things in life! Thank you!

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  2. Rebecca is one of my comfort reads. Now I am wondering where my copy is. Loved Pride and Prejudice and I have read it multiple times. I think I will see if it’s on the list of free books at the NYPL app. Starting a “want to read” comfort list. Thanks for the idea!

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  3. Love the idea of comfort reads. I finished Kate DiCamillos Edward Tulane a month ago and I would certainly add that book to the list! Thank you for this lovely idea! More reading, less news watching!

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  4. It’s fun to think about potential “comfort books” (a new to me concept) and look at the titles shared in the comments. I’ve been trying to figure out what I want to read next, and yesterday saw several Anne of Green Gables books on our bookshelves. I’m not sure I have the first one, but now I’m seriously considering searching for it and diving in. Thanks for sharing this idea!

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  5. I had to read all the comments before commenting because I knew I’d want to add them to my TBR pile. My comfort read as a teen was “The Persecutor” by Sergei Kordukov (not sure about that spelling). My father was very ill and bear death. That book showed me suffering and celebration of faith. I rarely reread books as an adult, but “Love in the Time of Cholera,” “Bel Canto,” and “Vanity Fair” comforted me when I read them. I’ve been thinking about rereading all three. These days I read poetry for comfort. Carolyn Forché’s new collection “In the Lateness of the World,” Jericho Brown’s “Tradition,” and of course “Mary Oliver’s “Devotions” are on my nightstand. Great post. I’ll check back later to see what books others add.

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  6. I love the idea of naming books that are comfort reads. Tops on my list are “Pride and Prejudice” and “Jane Eyre”. I reread both of these books once every year or two. Among more recent books, I would include “All the Light We Cannot See”.

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  7. Wow…I’ve never heard the term “comfort reads”. I love it and will give some thought to what mine are. One of the replies above mentioned Anne of Green Gables. If anyone is looking for a great series to watch, check it out. I loved it! Not sure which channel…might be Netflix or Amazon Prime, but it’s worth the search. Stay well!

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