A while ago, I wrote a piece about Proper Tear Jerkers, much to my own surprise. I want to expand out on this and have a series of “Proper” and “Ultimate” book collections along various themes, so here is post number two is this planned set – Ultimate Comfort Reads.
Naturally comfort reading means something different to everyone. These books are the books I would recommend to people who were stressed and needed to unwind, who needed to lose themselves in a book or series, and who wanted maybe a bit of a throwback to happy mental places, be it childhood or last week.
With everything that us currently going on in the world, it’s important to have somewhere else to escape to, and when you’re stuck in the house, what better way than via a book? And, sometimes what we all need in life, pandemic or not, is comfort. So get your fluffy slippers, make a pot of tea (did I sound quite British then? Apologies), find a blanket, and get ready to read.
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
Like the most comfortable pair of pajamas that is also wonderfully refined, Pride and Prejudice is one of the best kind of books. A book you can sink into entirely, completely, and utterly, remaining captivated yet relaxed. Books that you can reread whenever you need to come in this shape. If I was to count it as a food, it would be a homemade Victoria Sponge cake with fresh cream and jam.
Note: I won’t be turning all books into food, that one just always works.
The Ten Thousand Doors Of January – Alix E. Harrow
One of my favourite books this year, and easily in my top ten of all time, I cannot praise this book enough. One of its best qualities comes in the form of a complete comfort read. It’s a deep happy sigh out in physical form, waiting to take you on an adventure from your armchair. Alix E. Harrow has a natural magic with words, and with her next book due out later this year, now is a great time to become acquainted with this perfect escapism.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass – Lewis Carroll
The sheer talent of creating such a bizarre universe is enough to help you relax here. You find yourself smiling at something so silly on every page, there’s nothing you can do but snuggle into the cushions, and get closer to the book. Knowing there will be upside down flamingos and walking playing cards and Unbirthdays… What more could you need?
The Animals At Lockwood Manor – Jane Healey
This is a book I’ve only read this year, but I already know that if I need a comfort read from now onwards, this will be one of the first books I reach for. As I talk about in my review, it has the magic of animals, a beautiful setting, and the most powerful, comforting thing of all: friendship between women. Given the circumstances especially, this friendship is all the more empowering, reassuring, and comforting.
Where The Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens
I haven’t yet reviewed this beautiful book, but between the combination of the elegant writing and the stunning story, this is a go to comfort read. It is one that you do get more emotionally invested in than maybe some of the others, but it is well worth it. You get lost in the pages, and become totally absorbed in the narrative. I strongly believe this will be a modern classic, and what better time to read it than when you really need something to relax with?
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Whenever I picture my ideal time curled up without a specific book in mind, it’s one of these that fills the gap. Filled with adventure, amusement, and mystery, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes take you everywhere you ever thought you needed to go and more. From the safety of a book, you can travel back in time to solve murders, disappearances, and come face to face with the villain Moriarty. Perfect.
Obviously the ideal comfort read comes from what comfort you need (oops, I’m a poet and didn’t know it), but these are those that spring to mind when I thought about wanting to share some comfort. I hope it’s a useful list, and I’d love to hear what ultimate comfort reads you would put on your list. Let me know!