I’m sure many people will have been thinking of comforting things recently – for me, one of those is books.
Making a list like this has been on my mind for a while; I encourage everyone to write their own list of comfort reads – it’s the kind of tag we need right now!
This was incredibly soothing to write, as I essentially reminded myself about the books I love that spark joy.
The Goblin Emperor – Katherine Addison
Synopsis: Maia, the youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father is killed, he has no choice but to take his place as Emperor.
I wrote about this book in a whole post I did about rereads. It’s a comforting book mostly because it’s about good things happening to good people. It gives you a fantasy setting with human kindness helping characters overcome bad situations; with a lot of progress towards an equal society thrown in there too.
Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch
Synopsis: My name is Peter Grant and until January I was just a probationary constable in the Metropolitan Police Service. Then one night, in pursuance of a murder inquiry, I tried to take a witness statement from someone who was dead, and that brought me to the attention the last wizard in England.
Although it’ll probably be a while now til I can pick up the newest addition, these books about police officering the magical world in modern day London, are equal parts hilarious and a damn good mystery. The characters are complex and diverse and although you can just read this first, it’s nice to know this is an ongoing series with eight-plus books so far!
Assassin’s Apprentice – Robin Hobb
Synopsis: The kingdom of the Six Duchies is on the brink of civil war when news breaks that the crown prince has fathered a bastard son and is shamed into abdication. The child’s name is Fitz, and he is despised.
There is an entire universe beyond this one book that I read pretty fondly tbh, but again, the first is the most comforting. This is the book that really opened my eyes to how well an author can build character. Although the plot is intriguing (and occasionally heartbreaking), it seems almost secondary to the story of the main character growing up, and the relationships he builds with others. Trust me: when you read this one, you will be hooked.
Want a comfort read? Comic book. I think I’m going to do a whole post about why everyone should be reading comics, because there’s almost nothing more peaceful than seeing your fave characters in ridiculous scenarios saving the world and coming out okay at the end. Plus… reading art is so much easier than reading words.
Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
What’s more comforting than a classic? Excellent writing that’s withstood the ages and spurs continuous adaptations besides. That’s probably true for all of Dickens’ works, but I hold a special place in my faves for Great Expectations. It was one of the first works of the literary canon that I read, and it’s become easy to dip back into the characters plights at any time, revisiting heartbreak, mystery and Victorian society.
The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem
Hear me out: an anthology of the best prose poetry from across the globe. Prose poems are those paragraph-style ones you’ve probably seen a lot recently, but they’re not new – this book spans 150 years of them.
I haven’t read this from cover to cover, mostly because I like to dip into it at random when the urge strikes. What’s more of a comfort than poetry? Read poetry. This has been a PSA. (Also this book has a great cover).
What are your comfort reads? Let me know if you write a list!