Comfort Reading

Having gotten socked with the mother of all stomach bugs, this seemed like a good time to write about comfort reads, those books you turn to when you’re so thoroughly wiped out that turning a page feels like a major endeavor. Like the time I wound up reading J.R. Ward’s first three Black Dagger Brotherhood books in a delirious, feverish haze. That was more than a little surreal.

But I digress. My favorite fever reads are a rather eclectic bunch:

— Carole Nelson Douglas’ Fair Wind, Fiery Star, an over the top, no holds barred, high seas pirate adventure;

— Debbie Macomber’s Morning Comes Softly, a contemporary romance (well, contemporary as of when I bought it, circa mid-90s) about a Montana rancher trying to care for his orphaned nephews and niece who resorts to marrying a mail order bride (I’m a sucker for those Sound of Music/marriage of convenience plots);

— Jennifer Cruisie’s Welcome to Temptation, in which a film crew gets tangled up with a quirky small town;

— Patricia C. Wrede’s Mairelon the Magician, in which a Regency guttersnipe finds herself apprenticed to a magician with a mysterious background;

— and I’m sure there are others if only I could remember what they are. Or my own name.

What are your favorite comfort reads?


  1. Jessica Mac on November 18, 2011 at 9:37 am

    My favorite comfort reads would have to be Johanna Lindsey’s Malory novels. Such fun quick reads! My favorites being the first, Love Only Once. So cute how Uncle James affectionately calls Regina Reggie and how it annoys Uncle Tony! My other favorite being The Magic of You. As I type this and think of Amy Malory, she reminds me a lot of a one Miss Amy Balcourt!

  2. Joanne M. on November 18, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Oh, hope you’re feeling better soon!

    Comfort reads when I’m sick tend to be my beloved old-school historical romances — Lovesong by Valerie Sherwood, Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss, and The Black Swan by Day Taylor. Must be something about those fiery southern belles and their dashing hero that makes me feel better. 😉

  3. Tracie on November 18, 2011 at 10:27 am

    So sorry to hear about the nasty stomach bug, Lauren. Hope you’re better soon.

    When I’m sick, I like to read a romantic classic like Pride & Prejudice or something really funny, like a Stephanie Plum book by Janet Evanovich (when I had a sinus thing a couple months back, I reread Four for the Money and it lifted my mood considerably) or an Amelia Peabody mystery by Elizabeth Peters (they’re all fabulous and the Emersons always bring a smile to my face.)

  4. Julie L. on November 18, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Julia Quinn is my cure (Bridgertons) for all that ails you. Anything with humor. Hope you feel better, all that traveling around must have done you in!!

  5. kat on November 18, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Mairelon the Magician is one of my comfort reads as well! I still have the copy that I bought at my sixth grade book fair–that was probably right after it came out come to think of it. It has this cover ( I always have to read it with the sequel though now, because I thought the sequel was very good as well.

  6. Georgia on November 18, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    I just discovered Boris Akunin’s Erast Fandorin book series, and I am thoroughly hooked. I almost wish I could call in sick and read all day!

  7. Lauren on November 18, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Kat, I remember taking that one out of the library when I first read it! I bought my own in grad school, when the reprint came out:

    I got all excited just now, because I thought there might be a third in the series, but it turns out it’s just Mairelon under a different title. I hate it when they do that!

  8. kat on November 18, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Oh, I know! I had exactly the same reaction when I saw it. I would really love for there to be a third one. Wrede left the perfect little hook at the end of Magician’s Ward too, so perhaps she will come around to it in time. Sorcery and Cecelia is another one I love…but perhaps not quite enough to rank it in my comfort books.

  9. Bridget Erin on November 18, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    I always go back to Little Women…and I still bust out my Little House books when I need a pick me up.

  10. Lauren on November 18, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    Bridget, so funny, I was thinking longingly about the Little House books earlier today! Sadly, they aren’t in easy reach or I’d be way out in the Little House in the Big Woods by now!

  11. Elizabeth (aka Miss Eliza) on November 18, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    See, one day you have to make it to Wisconsin, so you can visit the Little House in the Big Woods for real! I got really overly excited when I was in Southern Missouri last summer when a large billboard said, next exit, Laura Ingals Wilder’s home. Needless to say, it was tons of fun! Not for my friend Matt, but I was going to the garden center, he was going back in time to Little House!

    As for my comfort reads, Jane Austen, Harry Potter and The Princess Bride… but any book can provide comfort, so it doesn’t have to really be anything other than printed words. The book that got me through 6th grade though was Matilda. So wonderful how a book takes you back!

  12. Leslie on November 18, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    There are 3 books always in my night stand drawer. When I feel ill or just a little blue I can easily grab them.
    “The Return of the King” Tolkien
    “Tamlin” Dean
    “Frederica” Heyer
    Lauren, I hope you feel better soon.

  13. Amanda on November 18, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    For me, it’s THE TRUE CONFESSIONS OF CHARLOTTE DOYLE by Avi, and EMMA by Jane Austen.

    Feel better!

  14. Lauren on November 18, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Leslie, I love Dean’s “Tam Lin”! My best friend and I read it religiously before going off to college. Such a good book.

  15. NikkiB on November 18, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    I tend to regress to childhood when not feeling well. There are a bunch of Avon True Romance Reads. Particular favorites are “Catherine and the Pirate” and “Miranda and the Warrior.”

  16. Susan on November 18, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Something from the Bedwyn series by Mary Balogh. I usually go for Freyja or Wulf’s story.

  17. Bree on November 18, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    I re-read the “Emily of New Moon” series by LM Montgomery when I’m sick. I spent the first 6 months of both pregnancies (constant nausea) reading Montgomery’s entire works, both the short story collections, series and the ultimate favorite, “The Blue Castle.” Love me some Valancy/Barney.

    Another favorite set of re-reads are Julia Quinn’s Bridgertons, and Mary Balogh’s Bedwyns. I come from a large family, so it feels so cozy to me.

  18. Lucy on November 18, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    My comfort reads tend to be books I read over and over when I was I was a teenager and love coming back to. Books like,

    These Happy Golden Years
    The Narnia series
    Seven Daughters and Seven Sons by Barbara Cohen and Bahija Lovejoy.
    Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw and
    Hawksong by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

  19. Lora on November 18, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Love Mara, Daughter of the Nile and anything by Heyer or Patricia Veryan.

  20. SusanN on November 18, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Hope you feel better soon!

    I recently read Patricia Wrede’s 2 (so far) Frontier Magic books. I have a number of other (including Mairelon the Magician) awaiting me to get around to them.

    When I’m sick, I don’t want to read something new. I want to reread one of my old favorites so I don’t have to think too hard.

  21. Allison (Allure of Books) on November 18, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    I really hope you get to feeling better!

    Comfort reads for me are those really cheesy Nora Roberts trilogies (the two set in Ireland, Three Sisters, Key & Dream)…

    Bet Me, Fast Women, Cinderella Deal or probably anything else by Jennifer Crusie

    Basically anything by Kristan Higgins

    The Lady Emily series by Tasha Alexander (Colin Hargreaves never fails to cheer me up!)

  22. Sheila on November 18, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Any of Marion Chesney’s old Regencies: light , quick, witty…how I wish she’d go back to them….but she told me in a lovely pre-internet note that the mysteries were doing much better….

  23. Vanessa on November 18, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Get better Lauren! drink lots of tea
    my comfort reads includes Victoria Holt, any of the harry potter books and pride & prejudice or sense & sensibility

  24. Gina on November 18, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    Feel better!!
    It’s been really hard not having my copies of the entire Tortall series by Tamora Pierce with me at college. I’ve read them almost annually since I was 9 and I adore them still.

  25. Jessica C on November 19, 2011 at 1:25 am

    Sorry to hear you’re sick Lauren – I hope someone is keeping you well supplied with chicken soup and hot tea!

    When stuck in bed when sick, I usually turn to Georgette Heyer or LM Montgomery. Books from the Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan. It’s a cute YA series, with castles and knights with a sweet relationship at its core between the grizzled old Ranger and the orphan who becomes his apprentice (oh, and their horses). Best of all, the author is an Australian! Very easy to read, so perfect for when you’re not feeling well.

  26. Sheila on November 19, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Thanks Lora for mentioning Patricia Veryan…her books chase away any aches and pains. Lauren have you read your book yet? A real treat is waiting….Veryan is one of the few I re-read ..too many tbrs (I don’t have pile, I have a houseful)

  27. AmyN on November 19, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    I’m not much of a re-reader but if I do it’s Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels or Lauren. Keep hydrated!

  28. Stephanie on November 20, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    My comfort reads are Harry potter and pink carnation books!

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