Book Club Friday: Comfort Reads

Friday, October 14, 2011
Of Woods and Words

I've posted about comfort food before. (Mmmm, oatmeal.) But today, I'm thinking about comfort reads.

Yesterday, we had an entire day of rain. Although the inch + of rain we got was much needed right down to the very last drop, the grey, chilly weather signaled a decided turn in the weather. Good-bye sunshine and balmy highs in the lower 70s; hello autumn's windy gusts, chilly rain and highs in the low 40s.

Drizzly weather always makes me think one thought: time to make some warm beverage (preferably mint tea, cocoa or cocoa and Baileys) and cuddle up with a good book.

Granted, when I say "good book," let us not get that term confused with "great literature." Rainy days are good days for books I like to refer to as "fluffy puppies." Kind of like how whenever I was sick when I was little, the only books I could muster the strength to read during my ailment were The Boxcar Children, when the weather's grey and chilly, I don't want to really have to think about anything while I read, I just want to be transported to whole different place through the turning of pages.

On the way home from the wedding last month, we swung by my parents' house and I loaded up my tote with a bunch of what I call comfort reads.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants quartet. By Ann Brashares 
Technically I'm far too old to still enjoy these books. While I didn't much care for the movie renditions of these, (I love you Alexis Bledel but you don't even look Greek let alone like Lena.) I will always have a soft spot for these teenage novels. Through the eyes of Tibby, Lena, Carmen and Bridget, you get an honest look at confusion we feel about a myriad of topics our entire lives: love, family, friends, work, death. Without falling victim to being a solely romance driven novel, I give Brashares big props for talking about the full spectrum of life experiences and taking these novels well beyond the "there's this boy . . ."  cliche.  Besides, at times these are snort through your nose funny. And I still like to remind people at work of Duncan Howes rules for customer service: "Rule #1: the customer is always right. Rule #2: if the customer is not right, please refer back to rule #1."

The Anne of Green Gables series. By L.M. Montgomery.
If ever there were books that were meant to be paired with a rainy day, some hot tea and maybe a buttery cookie or three, Montgomery's classic Anne books would be it. I've read the entire series of eight novels, not once, not twice, but three times.  A couple summers back, I decided to go through the whole series again, but only got through novel #1. (Damn you adulthood!) Anne's life on Prince Edward Island is by no means idyllic -- she comes from a place where you're expected to work for what you have and her life is punctuated by mishaps and tragedies, both big and small. And maybe that's why she's so likeable; because her world seems so very true. I'd like to think Anne and I are kindred spirits. (But apparently I share one love with Montgomery's other main heroine - Emily - that of italics.)

44 Scotland Street books. By Alexander McCall Smith
I've only read these books once and I've only read the first three, back in 2007, when there only were three. Set in Edinburgh, Scotland, the novel covers the antics of the varied inhabitants of 44 Scotland Street which include a University student, an anthropologist, and an overbearing mother.  This is fluff at its finest. The plots are never fully realized and the characters are missing that one final touch that would truly bring them to life. But there's good reason for the basicness of the books: although they reads like a novel, the books were first published in serial form in an Edinburgh newspaper.  And something about those Dickens-ish roots (or Anne of Green Gables-ish for that matter) makes it all the more appealing.

What's your favorite comfort read?


  1. Oh, I am so intrigued by the words" traveling pants" guess this I will look into. Anne of Green Gables has been suggested to me before.... didnt go into it - yet. Maybe the Winter is long and snowy and I might just love Anne"s company!

  2. Oh... I adore the Bridget Jones books, and the Shopaholic series. (the first three anyway)... I also love Jane Austen. I love rainy reading days!

  3. Hi Ada! I'm stopping by from FTLOB. I read Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants years ago, and absolutely adored it! Here I am in my mid-20's, and I'd still re-read the entire series :)

  4. Pride and Prejudice is my go-to comfort read. I'm such a sucker for Jane Austen books.

    xoxo, Nali

  5. I'm so glad you got some rain! Let's see... comfort books. Historical fiction would be my first choice - when I was younger I read Secret Garden over and over and over. And of course, Nancy Drew is the ultimate fluff! Love her!

  6. ---Love your comfort reads-(fluffy puppies)

    One of my fave. comfort authors ( I call her my hot fudge sundae ) is Elizabeth Berg. She's written --The Day I Ate Whatever I wanted, The Pull the Moon, Talk Before Sleep & many others.

    Perfect reading for rainy days.

    btw, I'm from MN, too. I've been to the Boundary Waters once. Nice to meet you. :)

  7. I LOVED The Boxcar Children books! Oh my, that brings back memories. Like Inner Chick, I adore Elizabeth Berg! Totally recommend her.

    The one book I will read over and over is "Winter Solstice" by Rosamund Pilcher. I don't know what it is about this book but it just soothes my soul. The Shell Seekers is one of my fav books, also by Rosamund Pilcher but it doesn't comfort me like Winter Solstice.
    44 Scotland St. sounds really good! Thanks for the recommendation.

  8. Anne for sure,then the Sherlock Holmes series. I have read both of these series 2 times.
    I also reread the O'Malley series by Dee Henderson. And books by Mercedes Lackey


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