Sunday, August 24, 2008

Comfort reads

Comfort reads. We all have them, those books we turn to time and again like a worn, nubby security blanket. They are the books that fill our hands in times of stress and soothe our anxieties by wrapping us in the comfort of a familiar world. The characters live in our minds and our hearts, old friends to be revisited. These are not always the best, most well written books we have in our collections. There is just something about the writing or the characters or the plot that worms its way into our beings. These are books that will never be thrown away (blasphemy!), given away or sold to a UBS. These are keepers, but with a special distinction: they have the most creases in their spines and folds on their covers. Pages are dogeared, corners are frayed, but they do not lose value for this wear and tear. No no, quite the opposite. These imperfections are badges of honor, a sign that they are well and truly loved.

I just cracked open a book this morning that I have not read in years. I had to pick up a copy at a UBS yesterday (which is a whole other fabulous event that I will blog about!) In the first paragraph I felt myself sinking deep into the comfort of the words. This made me chuckle a bit. You see, I have realized lately that most of my comfort reads are full of action, guns, and sometimes blood. I think I may be weird. I wonder what it is about the actiony bits that pulls me in. But I digress, this is not a post about actiony bits, or dangly bits.... mmmm, manly bits. Ehem, yes. Back to comfort reads. My list is ever evolving, but the core of it includes:

- Mr. Perfect (and most of Linda Howard's "classics" like After the Night and Open Season)
- the Troubleshooter series by Suze Brockmann
- The Bride and the Beast by Teresa Medeiros
- Patricia Briggs werewolf books (Mercy's series and now Anna's book)
- Red Rose by Mary Balogh (a great little category she wrote years ago and I have since lost. NOOOO!!!!)

What are your comfort reads? Which books do you turn to over and over despite having passages memorized? Which titles, characters, plots do you crave when real life knocks you around a bit?


Wendy said...

I love my comfort reads, I never get tired of reading them - Kresley Cole, Rachel Gibson (especially See Jane Score - sounds familiar? lol), Patricia Briggs, and tons more.

Bridget Locke said...

Oh, comfort reads! :) I have a lot of those, but my biggie is and will always be Years by LaVyrle Spencer. I've probably read that book 20 times at least and I still love it. It's a beautiful historcial and I love it so.

My others are anything by Lisa Kleypas, especially Secrets of a Summer's Night and Dreaming of You. Also, Julia Quinn, Patricia Briggs and Mercedes Lackey. :)

Nikki said...

I reread of whole lot of Linda Howard's--starting with Mackenzie's Mountain, Mackenzie's Pleasure, and Open Season. But I also reread Nora Roberts's Perfect Neighbor, a series novel that is part of the Donovans, Brockmann's early Troubleshooters, Lisa Kleypas and Julia Quinn stuff, and some of Susan Elizabeth Phillips. And finally, Susan Andersen's Present Danger and Anne Stuart's Ice series.
I'm sure I've left out something important, but there you have it.

MaryKate said...

I love Comfort Reads and have a ton of them:

The Windflower by Tom and Sharon Curtis is a twice a year (at least) re-read for me.

Dying to Please by Linda Howard
Sea Swept by Nora Roberts
True Betrayals by Nora Roberts
Honest Illusions by Nora Roberts
Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas
The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn
Lover Eternal by JR Ward
Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh
Over the Edge by Suzanne Brockmann
Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs

Oh, I'm sure I can think of more, but that's a start.

Rowena said...

I don't have certain books that are comfort reads, I have more of a comfort author thing going on. If I'm in a certain mood and I need something to get me through to my next read, I turn to Judith McNaught, Julie Garwood, Linda Howard or Suzanne Brockmann. They can jumpstart me out of a reading slump or comfort me when I need them.

JenB said...

I've re-read THE AWAKENING by Kate Chopin nearly every year since having to read it my senior year of high school. It's just a gorgeous book.

That is the only book I have actually ever re-read, but I have several on my DIK shelf that I would definitely re-read if I had the time:

anything by Jennifer Crusie (except Manhunting and Strange Bedpersons)
ANGEL by Johanna Lindsey
CHARM SCHOOL by Susan Wiggs
THE DEMON YOU KNOW by Christine Warren
THE TIN STAR by J. L. Langley

Nicola O. said...

Funny, I rarely re-read romances. Lately I've got such a TBR stack I can't imagine stopping for a re-read.

But if I really want a comfort read, well... would have to be anything from the Laura Ingalls Wilder series. I like the earlier ones the best. (Big Woods, Plum Creek.) ;)

Tracy said...

I don't have specific comfort reads, but if I'm in need of one I just kind of peruse my shelves and try to figure out what will work with my mood at the time! :)

Great post!

Stacy~ said...

Oh, I have so, so many, and a few I found again this past weekend at the UBS. Some of them are:

The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn
When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn
Vows by LaVyrle Spencer
Troubleshooter series by Suz Brockmann
Body Language by Suz Brockmann
Kiss & Tell by Suz Brockmann
Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard
Something Wonderful by Judith McNaught
Where Dreams Begin by Lisa Kleypas
Daring in the Dark by Jennifer LaBrecque name a few.

What's the name of that Italian restaurant you were talking about at my blog?

Shannon said...

MK- All of your books (except Slave to Sensation) are ones I have read and loved. StS is in my TBR pile, though, so it should be soming up soon.

Stacy- Great list. Wasn't that UBS amazing? I really wish it weren't so out of the way. The restaurant I mentioned is called Da Luciano's. Best lasagna ever. Everything I have had is great. They have a huge gluten free menu for me, and tons of "regular" menu options. It tastes so good you end up eating way too much. :)

Zeek said...

Many of Linda Howard's oldies ...

A Heart So Wild by Johanna Lindsey
The Velvet Saga & A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux

To name a few!

MaryKate said...

Ooooh! Shannon, I can't wait for you to read StS, you'll see why I love Lucas so much, and why he's hanging in my hut. :wink:

I loves him. He's my precious.

Katie Reus said...

Pretty much anything by Linda Howard is a comfort read. I pick up All the Queens Men & Mr. Perfect once a year. And, I love the Midnight series by Lisa Marie Rice. Both authors write alpha heroes that aren't a**holes :) They're just manly enough! If I need a pick-me-up, I pick up one of those books.

ames said...

Jennifer Crusie's Bet Me is a comfort read and a de-slumper. Agnes and the Hitman just joined the ranks as a comfort read too.

Kate said...

Anything Jennifer Crusie, any old Jude Deveraux but particularly Remebrance or A Night In Shining Armor, some Nora Roberts trilogies but particularly the Irish trilogy, and maybe not a comfort book but this time of year when the weather starts to chill and the leaves turn, I *have* to read The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.

Kara said...

I have comfort authors more than books...Nora Roberts, Jude Deveraux, Barbara Delinsky, Luanne Rice, and Kathleen Woodiwiss to name a few.

But my all time favorite book is a historical...The Devil's Love by Lane Harris. I lost the book a long time ago and was absolutely crushed - however - I was looking through romances at a library book sale and came across a copy - did that ever make my day!!!