Jan 4, 2016

January is for comfort reading

And so here we are again, back at that dreary time of the year when, for some of us northern hemisphere residents, the cold dark months seem to stretch on indefinitely without even the promise of Christmas break to get us through them. I struggle a lot with January and February, and one thing that’s helped considerably over the past few years is devoting this time to comforting reading — mostly in the form of books I’ve long since been looking forward to but keep putting aside for one reason or another. I’m especially in need of it this January, as sadly my 2016 started with some bad news I really could have done without.

It’s time, then, for books I’m fairly sure I’m going to love. Some of you might recognise this project as Long-Waited Reads Month, which is what I used to call it back in the days when it was easier for me to organise things. My co-host Iris will likely have more to say about it in the near future, but for now: please feel free to read along with us if you so wish, to combine it with Andi’s Read My Own Damn Books, to adapt it to your own purposes, or what have you. I might not currently be able to offer more in terms of structure than “I’m doing this thing; come do it with me”, but I do know that reading projects are usually more fun with company.

“But”, you ask, “what will you read?”. Here are the current contenders — this list is no more than the first few books that came into my head when I wondered what I felt like reading right now. On this occasion I shall refrain from photographing them in what passes for an aesthetically pleasing pile, as most of my books and I are still in different countries (not that I’m complaining, since that means I have a few days to enjoy before I have to go back to work):
  • The Islands of Chaldea by Diana Wynne Jones
  • The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan
  • Gullstruck Island by Frances Hardinge
  • A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee
  • Troubling a Star by Madeleine L’Engle
  • Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones
  • Lila by by Marilynne Robinson
Who knows, though; I might end up reading something altogether different. What do you read when you need comforting? Also, I have leftover Christmas gift cards that still need spending, so please feel free to tell me which books to buy.

20 comments:

  1. Totally agree-January is for comfort reads and sorry to hear about your bad news. Gullstruck Island is my absolute favourite Frances Hardinge so hope you enjoy it. I'm planning to go back to a regular Christmas reread (The Hogfather) which I somehow didn't get to this year.

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    1. It's the only Hardinge I haven't read yet, so I think it's about time! Hogfather is also a great book for the cold months - it's been a few years since I revisited it, but one of these days. And thank you.

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  2. *warm hugs*

    I am so looking forward to this, thank you for doing it again this year, in whatever form it takes. Funny how we need "permission" sometimes?! I've started Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac and love it already. I love good nature writing, and this one is a classic. And then I have a Colin Cotterill, Disco for the Departed on standby. That's one I've taken out of the library four times and have yet to crack the spine. Enough of that already!

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    1. Thank you <3

      And yay, so glad you're reading along with us! I hope all your picks prove wonderful.

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  3. February is a leap year... It is going to DRAG.... Snow, snow, and lots more snow. Good luck keeping above the blahs.

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    1. Thank you - I think I'll need it :(

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  4. I tend to read fairytale retellings when I'm looking for something comforting. I love Diana Wynne Jones. I might need to do a re-read of "Howl's Moving Castle" this winter.

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    1. Fairy tale retellings are one of my go-to comfort places, too. That's a wonderful idea!

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  5. Comfort reading for me is Agatha Christie, Austen or Elizabeth George!

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    1. I've been meaning to read Murder on the Orient Express, especially since Robin Stevens' First Class Murder (which pays tribute to it). There's no time like the present...

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  6. I reread Sherlock Holmes when I need comforting. Sometimes children's books are good too--anything without much ambiguity. I need to find a copy of Lila soon, too.

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    1. Perhaps I'll borrow The Penderwicks when I go back to work later this week. It sounds like one that might fit the bill.

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  7. I guess I did my comfort reading in the last days of December when I read 3 David Mitchell novels in a row. But I love Frances Hardinge and Madeleine L'Engle. I will add them to the winter list for 2016. One of my favorite L'Engle books is The Small Rain. It is sad in a way that makes you feel not so all alone when you are sad.

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    1. I've added The Small Rain to my book order, because that sounds perfect and very much like what I need. Thank you so much for mentioning it.

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  8. I am also looking forward to some comfort reading. In particular I am looking forward to delving into the cosy crime series Agatha Raisin by M C Beaton.

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  9. I'm not exactly sure what books are my comfort reads - maybe romance books by authors like Courtney Milan? I like that I can get lost in them for a few hours and just really zip through them. Hope you enjoy Suffragette Scandal - it's one of my favorites by Milan.

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  10. Sob sob, I still can't bring myself to read The Islands of Chaldea. It's on my shelves but will I ever read it? MAYBE NOT. (Seriously, I may never. Would that be insane?) I have so many books out from the library today that I probs can't do Long-Awaited Reads despite good intentions -- as it is there's no chance I'm going to be able to read the bulk of these damn books before they fall due. AND my libraries won't stop sending me email notification about ebook holds arriving, eek! (It's a good problem to have. Of course.)

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  11. I'm sorry to hear your year got off with some bad news. Sending some good vibes your way and hope things get better. Comfort reads are so important to me. Whether I'm stressed or just down a good comfort book is definitely a must. Oddly enough for me comfort books tend to be the mysteries. I think it's because I go back to characters I like and I sort of know what to expect. Hope your comfort books bring you joy!

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  12. Hello Ana, I'm sorry to read that you've had bad news and I hope that things improve for you.

    I read and reread children's books for comfort, mainly fiction (and by the way, I must thank you for introducing me to Frances Hardinge's work, I love it!) and often the books I read as a child, fantastical ones, but I also enjoy 'children's' poetry too and recommend the anthology 'Come Hither' which has lots of magical poetry in it, tiny, beautiful stories.

    I used to read Golden Age detective fiction, something bloodless by Ngaio Marsh or Margery Allingham et al., with oodles of ridiculous slang and rude aristocrats. I think the appeal is the same: strong narrative, straightforward form, sense of being separate from the 'real' world and its concerns.

    Happy new year, despite the bad beginning: may the rest of the year be better.

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  13. Well, I only read 8 books from my TBR pile last year, so DEFINITELY want to turn that around! Or maybe get rid of all these books that I am unlikely to read... I have Patricia McKillip's The Bards of Bone Plain (The Bones of Bard Plain? One of those is the correct title) out to read! It made me think of you because McKillip. (Hopefully it's not as hard for me to understand as our buddy read!)

    January is always a fantasy-heavy month for me. Or, winter is a fantasy-heavy season for me.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - interaction is one of my favourite things about blogging and a huge part of what keeps me going.