Comfort Reads

In times of trouble I turn to comfort reading.  You know what I mean — books where the problems are understandable, humans are mostly kind to one another and much is resolved over a nice cup of tea.

First, a few requirements, these comfort books must be well written, the stories well developed and the characters multidimensional.  No insipid chick-lit or light romance for me (not that there’s anything wrong with that…).

In case you too, are feeling a bit down during these sad days, here are some suggestions.  These are my favorite comfortable read authors… many of whom I keep on my shelves to re-read when I’m gloomy.



41D0WtAIadL._UX250_Joanna Trollope writes sparklingly readable novels often centered around the nuances and dilemmas of life in present-day England. She is witty, with a truly acute ear for dialogue. Her novels are never long enough for me. I have read most all her novels — some more than once, because she makes me laugh, think and also sometimes groan, at the complexities of modern life.  Her novels take modern life head on; divorce, errant children, flawed friendships and fallen expectations – but all woven with great human resilience.  Recommended: A Village Affair

wp777aa1ae_05_06Marcia Willett is a veddy veddy English author.  Her settings are a major pleasure in reading her books — cottages or large manor homes in the English countryside.  Her plots revolve around the emotional pull of families and friends.  Her characters are always interesting.  The families are complicated, but loved. Friends are irritating, but cherished.   Secrets are revealed in aga-heated kitchens with a pot of tea and fresh baked crumpets. Recommended:  A Week in Winter

31qdr9tRCML._UX250_I’ve mentioned Bill Bryson before here at Book Barmy, but I turn to him to cheer me up as I snicker, snort and laugh out loud at his writing.  My favorite are his wonderfully descriptive travel books – from hiking the Appalachian Trail to traveling in middle American.  Mr. Bryson is a smart writer who has a knack of seeing the wry humor in just about everything. He is also a traveler’s travel writer — not content to follow well-worn tourist locations, but instead visits the obscure and calls out the wacky with often hysterical results.  Recommended:  Neither Here Nor There


5172WNNfVVL._UX250_Elizabeth Berg.  A recent author discovery for me.  I found a book of hers in one of those little free libraries up in Lake Tahoe.  Opened the book that evening and fell in headfirst, finishing it the next evening.  When I came home, I discovered I had several of her books languishing on my shelves, given to me by friends and my sister.  I had shied away, categorizing her as “woman’s lit”, which I often find trying.  But based on my good experience, I read through another one (sending it on to you Connie)  and am almost through a third.  I wholly agree with Andre Dubus who said  “Berg writes with humor and a big heart about resilience, loneliness, love, and hope. And the transcendence that redeems.”   Woman’s lit, certainly, but with intelligence, depth and heavenly writing.  Recommended:  The Year of Pleasures.


So, maybe it’s time to turn off the news, pull the curtains, light a fire in the fireplace, grab your favorite afghan and cuddle in with one of these comfort reads.  Shut the world away for a bit.


1 Comment

  1. sally allinger
    Nov 16, 2015

    Beautifully written and the Paris in the Rain picture needed no words….perfect.
    With appreciation for the introduction to some promising new authors try, hoping for a quiet, rainy day soon. A Fan

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