Weekly Reading Round-Up

This week, I’ve been resorting to some of my favorite comfort reads. Every now and then, you just need the literary equivalent of a fuzzy old afghan, warm and comforting. Here are my bookshelf security blankets:

Tam Lin, Pamela Dean

This book was my touchstone in college, and I still re-read it whenever I need to be reminded of the important things in life: poetry, philosophy, good friends. And, of course, fairy tales.

Beauty, Robin McKinley

A beautiful retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I’d never thought about it before, but Beauty and Tam Lin, despite entirely different settings, have a lot in common: lyrical prose, bookish heroines, and the intrusion of magic into the every day.

The Blue Castle, L.M. Montgomery

Even better than the Anne books.

The Ladies of Missalonghi, Colleen McCullough

Essentially The Blue Castle all over again, but with a bit of a twist.

Walks through Napoleon and Josephine’s Paris, Diana Reid Haig.

Okay, so this one isn’t a comfort read, but it is preparation for my upcoming research trip to Paris, so it counts as a necessary interruption.

What are your comfort reads?


  1. Rebecca on October 9, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    I’m not going to lie, but when I was in high school I discovered a line of teenage/young adult romance novels (the series was called “Love Stories”). They’re corny and cheesy, but every now and then I go back and read them for a pick me up. They remind me of the good old days!

    Has anyone else heard of/read these?

  2. Stephanie W on October 9, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    When I was in Grade 8 my teacher introduced me to “The Princess Bride” and I fell in love with it. If I have nothing else to read I pick it up and start where I left off last time.

  3. Jennie on October 9, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    Oh, there are so so many comfort reads. I would have to say some of my tops are On the Way to the Wedding by Quinn,When I Fall in Love by Kurland, and From This Moment On, also by Kurland. But the top book I always read when I don’t know what to read, one of the fifteen or twenty books I can fit in my dorm room, and the book I take on every vacation with me even though its hardback and big, is The Deception of the Emerald Ring. It is my all time fav 🙂 I <3 Geoff!

  4. lAUra on October 9, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    if you like Tam Lin, you should read Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones. it’s a new twist on the Tam Lin story. she likes to take myths and legends and folklore and put them in a modern setting.
    one of my favs is Howl’s Moving Castle.

  5. Kristen on October 9, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    “Summers at Castle Auburn” by Sharon Shinn is pretty high on my list. Really, anything by her works for me, but that was the first read one I read and it’s a stand alone novel so I don’t feel like I need to keep going if I don’t want to.

    “Eight Cousins” by Louisa May Alcott is another one that I like to visit again and again.

    I agree with Jennie- your books are comfort reads for me too. I started rereading them all for every new book release, but I think I’m up to re-reading them at least two or three more times a year. 🙂

  6. am7 on October 10, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    My favorite Alcott is Little Women.
    I love L. M. Montgomery. I think sometimes Anne is a little childish, which is one reason I like the later books. (Although I love Matthew; of every fictional character I know he’s the most like my dad.) all Montgomery is comfort lit. Particularly the Pat books or the Emily ones. I love the Pat ones, because Pat reminds alot of myself, and Emily with the gothic twists and her mystic powers, particularly Emily’s Quest. Also both the characters struggle with greater Angst than Anne.
    I think the reason you, Lauren love the Blue Castle the best is because its a romance. Its also important to remember that Montgomery wrote the blue Castle as an attempt to write a book geared for adults. The critics at the time dismissed it at the time as a romance, and with almost all of her other novels centering around children it was classed as children’s lit.
    Her second attempt at adult fiction is called A Tangled Web, or what Aunt Becky Began. It’s more of a drama/ soap opera. Kilmeny of the orchard is another straight romance b Montgomery although not as satiric as the blue Castle.
    finally if you are looking more adult type Montgomery fiction try to hunt up the most out of print short story collections. Edt by Rhea Wilemhurst (not sure of spelling), who discovered in the 90s I think stories Montgomery had written for magazines published them in about seven collections.
    My other favorite montgomery are last two Anne books chronological order, not in the order published. I think Rilla, is not only drastically different form the other montgomeries, but it left me fascinated by WWI.
    Other comfort reads include P&P by Jane Austen, Divine Secrets of the Ya-ya sisterhood, and anything Agatha Christie, but probably not Miss Marple and not And Then Were None
    oh, for some odd reason lately Hamlet, I have no idea.

  7. Sonia on October 11, 2009 at 2:18 am

    So being in China for the year meant that I brought along a lot of books that were comfortable and familiar (including the Pink Carnation series!). “An Old Fashioned Girl” by Louisa May Alcott has always been a favorite. Polly Milton embodies the loneliness, awkwardness, and innocence that any girl can emphasize with. To me, “An Old Fashioned Girl” is just as good as, if not better than “Little Women”.

    “An Edible History of Humanity” is a fascinating look at the archeological and anthropological effects of food on human history. No focus on tastes or processing, but it definitely is a different take on food history.

    Also, I just finished “The Tale of Briar Bank” by Susan Wittig Albert. It’s a part of a cute, cozy historical mystery series featuring Beatrix Potter at the height of her publishing career, and her ever endearing animals. Just a note: Anything Susan Wittig Albert writes is amazingly good!

  8. Amy N. on October 11, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    I don’t usually read books a second time but I have re-read some of Barbara Mertz’ many books. Especially those with heroine Amelia Peabody or Vicky Bliss. And the Pink books are certainly very tempting for reconnecting with the characters and their stories. Just finished Jasmine after a string of fiction books and it was a very welcome change of pace — all warm and fuzzy as the forementioned afghan. Can’t wait for January 2010.

  9. Lauren on October 11, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    Amy, she’s one of my favorite authors, too. I was just thinking of re-reading “Naked Once More” (the last Jacqueline Kirby book) today.

  10. Lauren on October 11, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Sonia, I love “An Old Fashioned Girl”! It’s one of my annual re-reads. There are so many good moments… and such clever social satire under all the sweetness.

  11. Amy N. on October 11, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    I meant “…after a string of non-fiction books…”

  12. Gina on October 11, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    I recently read Rapture of the Deep by L.A. Meyer, which is book #7 in a series I’ve been reading for a long time…I love them so much! The first one is called Bloody Jack. They are by no means classic literature, but they are lots of fun, if a tad unrealistic. Very much for comfort reading.

  13. Joni on October 11, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    If you’ve never read “The Tea Rose” by Jennifer Donnelly, you should. It’s been out for awhile and has a sequel that it out now too called “The Winter Rose.” I haven’t read the second one yet, but “The Tea Rose” is amazing.

    Some of my favorite comfort reads are Danielle Steel’s “Zoya”, Colleen McCullough’s “The Thorn Birds”, and of course, “Pride and Prejudice.”

  14. Tina on October 13, 2009 at 6:03 am


    I definitely remember Love Stories books from when I was younger. They were my first romance novels and I still have a few…and will admit to re-reading some of the better ones. Though I still have a soft spot for the “Sunfire” series of historical romances. They were from the 80s and about a decade before my time, but I was able to find them at library sales and on ebay

  15. Beth on October 16, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Just finished listening to …Night Jasmine – tho I love all the books, Charlotte was the only one who made me cry! What a deep thinker. Can’t wait for Lily!!

Leave a Comment