Discussion: Do you have a comfort book?

This discussion is late in coming and it’s inspired by recent events in my life. You see, I realized today that when anything happens that really shakes up my life a bit, I don’t read. For some reason, I just can’t handle books. I tend to turn off everything and withdraw deep into myself until I can handle whatever it is that’s bugging me. 
I’ve been through a lot recently health wise, and every time I have been hit with something, I’ve pulled away from the world and just internalized. I did it when I was diagnosed with cancer, found out I was pregnant, learned that my baby may have a terminal illness (she doesn’t, thankfully) and had my back go out in its most fantastic way. All of this totally sucked, and I’m still dealing with all of it. When it all happened, or if it flares up, I turn the world off – books, television, the internet – everything. That’s just how I cope. Thus, I don’t have a comfort book, though I wish I did. 
What makes me think this is somewhat odd, is the fact that I read online, and know through talking to friends, that often times when life hands people complete crap, reading is what gets them through. Everyone seems to have a “comfort” book of sorts that helps them or eases them or something like that. It may be something nostalgic or maybe not a book at all but a genre. 
Thus, my question(s) this week: 
  • Do you read when you need “comfort”? 
  • If so, what is your comfort book/genre/magazine/whatever? Why?
P.S. Forgive my various typos/punctuation issues in this post. I’m hopped up on pain medication and can’t quite grasp the concept of proofing.

P.P.S. I’m starting to feel up to reading again, and hope to have a review posted by Friday/Saturday – hopefully I’ll be back to my “normal” schedule after that – unless any other wonderful health surprises crop up…. 

8 Responses

  • D-man

    I have a tendency to gravitate towards the following authors during times of stress: Robert J. Sawyer, Charles de Lint, and John Scalzi. There's just something about the way they write that helps to lift me out of the muck. If you're into short fiction, de Lint's Newford collections are truly wonderful.

  • Jared

    David Eddings. The Belgariad is definitely a comfort book but my super-secret (well, not so much now) comfort read is his "lit-fic": High Hunt. It is a sort of uber-masculine tract on hunting & beer-swilling & brotherhood & responsibility and I loooooove it. I must re-read it every year, a great book for a dull winter day.

  • Salt-Man Z

    I don't read for comfort per se, but my "comfort book" is easily Richard Adams' Shardik, just from the comfort I get every time I reread it; it's like hanging out with an old friend.

  • Stefan

    Yes, I do read for comfort. I'm a big re-reader, and in times of stress I like to go back to one of my old favorites and just escape into the book for a while. My favorite comfort read is George RR Martin's "Tuf Voyaging". I also often go back to Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos books. Sometimes I'll just grab a random Discworld book from the shelf.

  • Laura Fitzgerald

    Totally, but there are different books for different emotions. I tend to go back to the Recluce novels for comfort because I love the division of Modesitt's magic system between order and chaos. They're calming when I'm stressed, confused, or feeling overwhelmed. My other comfort book is a slim little thing called Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto that I can read in a couple of hours. I reach for that when I'm sad or grieving.

  • Gina

    Nothing too inspirational here, but every break between semesters during college I was voraciously reading Harry Potter. Any and all of them. Since graduating though, I've read Name of the Wind several times. I can just get lost in Rothfuss' prose.

  • Melita

    When I was much younger, Anne McCaffrey and Marion Zimmer Bradley, some Andre Norton. Books that I'm still likely to pick up frequently include Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword and Beauty, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's Liaden series, and few favorites by Lois McMaster Bujold. Recently, my comfort reads tend to be authors that are (relatively) more recently discovered and that I'm rereading every few months: Megan Whalen Turner and Martha Wells.

    I find that I have trouble reading new works when traveling.

  • Anonymous

    mine's clavell's shogun. simple yet soo effective.

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