Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Comfort Reads

RHYS BOWEN: Yesterday we talked about going back to a much loved place and whether we were disappointed or not. Today we're going to talk about revisiting a much loved book.
 Do you re-read books you've enjoyed? Do you have particular favorites you revisit again?

I love the feel of a real book in my hands, but on trips I've come to value my Kindle. I have it loaded with the complete Jane Austen, the complete P.G. Wodehouse and Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christies and Dorothy Sayers. These are my go-to comfort reads when flights are delayed, when I'm too tired to read anything new and complicated.
Of course my Kindle is also loaded with newer favorites: our Debs, my friends Jackie Winspear and Tasha Alexander and Louise Penny and several non-mysteries.
I've become a huge fan of Kate Moreton (The Secret Keeper) and I sometimes like to indulge in the light-hearted froth of Sophie Kinsella.
So I'm wondering what books are your go-to comfort reads.

ROSEMARY HARRIS: I don't have too many automatic re-reads but I can always take a spin with Pride and Prejudice, The Golden Bowl, The Razor's Edge, Howard's End or The Age of Innocence. Confession here..I read far fewer mysteries than the rest of the JRs. I tend to throw myself into a time period or subject matter. Right now it's the 19th century and it's morphed into the world of the victorian lady travelers.

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Ro, I'm fascinated by Victorian lady travelers! Give us your reading list!
Rhys, I'm trying to downsize paper books, so putting comfort reads on my tablet is great idea.  I do go back to Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes. Would love to reread Austen. And James Herriot. Right now I'm rereading The Hobbit, but in a gorgeous 75th Anniversary edition. Sayers, yes; PD James, no, although I love her books, they're not comfort reads.  Some odd choices: All Barbara Peters Amelia Peabody's. And Vicki Bliss. Susan Conant's Holly Winter books. Dick Francis. Christopher Fowler's Bryant and May books. Laurie King's Mary Russell books. Charles Todds' Bess Crawford's.
I like Sophie Kinsella, too, but my real British guilty pleasure/comfort reads are books by Katie Fford. They are funny romance/comedy of manners, and the characters always do ordinary things that I like; cooking or gardening  or living on narrowboats... Now I have to see if I can get them on my tablet as I don't think they are readily available in the U.S.

LUCY BURDETTE: I always THINK I'm going to reread so I don't get rid of books I love, but I find it very hard to go back and not forward. And since we have a big trip coming up in October, I'm already worrying about reading material. It may be that I'll have to read some on the Kindle or Ipad, but I'm still smarting from the occasion in which the Kindle failed as soon as we got abroad. Panic! Panic! Panic! I had to madly borrow books from other travelers...

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Huh. I can't remember the last book I re-read. (Which does make me look at ALL THOSE BOOKSHELVES in our house in a different way...yikes. What are they FOR? But maybe that's a different blog.) If I loaded my Kindle with things like Agatha and Conan Doyle and Grafton, I would be delighted to know they were there, but I wouldn't read them.
Funny, yesterday we were talking about being disappointed when you go back to a place from the past. In reading, I'm a "go forward." I'd rather read Sue's new "W" than "A" again.

HALLIE EPHRON: Rereads for comfort? Anne of Green Gables. A Wrinkle in Time. The Little Princess.  Or one of the novels of Booth Tarkington (Magnificent Ambersons, or Alice Adams.) Or something by Barbara Pym. Or a Stephen King book of short stories. Or Early P.D. James (the Cordelia Gray mysteries).
And speaking of Sue Grafton... it would be very interesting to read "A" and "W" back to back. Maybe I will.
HANK: OOh, yeah Hallie, it would. I'm doing it, too. (I'm interviewing her next week, so that'd be fun.)

RHYS: So let's hear from you. Who re-reads old favorites? And what are your old favorites?

66 comments:

Joan Emerson said...

There’s so much new that I want to read [and my teetering tower of to-be-read books doesn’t include anything I’ve already read], but I tend to turn to series books when I reread, mostly because I’ve enjoyed them so much and there’s something quite compelling about going back and starting over, meeting those characters for the first time again . . . . Julia’s Clare and Russ books . . . J. D. Robb’s “In Death” stories . . . anything Isaac Asimov . . . .

Ramona said...

What a fun topic. My comfort reads are anything from my Nancy Mitford collection, or Harry Potter. I also love The Age of Innocence and have read it multiple times.

Two contemporary books that go into my storm case (when we have hurricanes/tornadoes), both contemporary: Barbara Vine's The Brimstone Wedding and Elinor Lipman's The Dearly Departed. The latter has the most adorable cop character. I count on him to keep me safe.

Mary Lockhart said...

The novels of Victoria Clayton are such fun, and so beautifully written, that they will always have a place of honour on my shelves. Part romance, part delicious social satire, they involve characters getting into sticky situations and making things better by doing all those cooking and gardening things that you describe, Deborah. And they are on kindle now. I hope she is still writing!

Kristopher said...

There are two books that I re-read every few years. I'm not sure I would call either a "comfort" read, but perhaps. It is more about knowing that I am in the hands of a master storyteller and basking in the beauty of the language.

Those books are:

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Not much needs to be said about this choice. Everyone knows it and many love it.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt. On any given day, if asked my favorite book EVER, TSH is usually my go-to choice. I think it is because I was so blown away when I first read it. You know the type: a book by a first time author, you sit down to enjoy, but occasionally that book is so incredible that you come away a changed person. The Secret History is the book for me. And every time I read it, I find something new.

This fall Donna Tartt has a new book (after a decade-plus wait), so I can't wait!

Ramona said...

@Kristopher, I LOVE The Secret History! Bunny's family and that funeral--truly the mother from hell.

Sandi said...

I never thought about re-reading as comfort, but that's exactly what it is! When I want to escape but not work for it, I re-read Anne of Green Gables or a couple of others by L.M. Montgomery, including Kilmeny of the Orchard and The Blue Castle. I've read every Dick Francis book at least twice, and some five or six times. If I REALLY need comfort, I've gone back to my old Trixie Belden books.

Hallie Ephron said...

The Secret History -- and I've never read it!

Ramona, Harry Potter's on my list, too.

Kristi said...

Oh, you all have good ones! I agree across the board. Hallie, I had forgotten Cordelia Gray! Must re-make her acquaintance. I would add Margery Allingham, and Betty MacDonald's books (non-mystery!) especially "The Egg and I." Nothing in life can seem that bad when you are reading and laughing about her misadventures on a chicken farm in the Pacific Northwest.

Jesse Cassell said...

Interesting topic today. I own a lot of actual books and e-types on my computer. The only one, so far, that I would consider a go-to for re-reads is a very old copy of the Complete Works of O Henry. Not exactly on any ones list, I know, but I really love his stories.

Brenda Buchanan said...

Comfort reads - with the rain streaking my office windows, it is so nice to be discussing comfort reads! I wish I was home curled up on the couch with a cup of tea and a comfort read right now, but alas . . .

The novels of Tony Hillerman and Robert B. Parker easy to dip back into from time to time, specially, as you say Rhys, when you are waiting for a plane or too tired to focus on something new to you.

On a day like today, if I was curled up on the couch, Willa Cather's My Antonia, perhaps? Or maybe Sarah Orne Jewett, whose novella The Country of the Pointed Firs is set not far from where I live.

But the writer I re-read the most has got to be E.B. White. His children's fiction is charming, but his essays (there are several good collections, including one recently out, edited by his granddaughter) are compelling, beautifully written pieces that stand the test of time.

Jack Getze said...

I read THE GREAT GATSBY every few years, usually after someone tells me first person fiction doesn't work anymore, and I have doubts about my work. I have always envied the style and wit of Fitzgerald's novel, how the first-person account is so essential to understanding the character and the story. Someday I'd like to write a book half as good.

Tammy said...

Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, and Dick Francis. And Nora Roberts for when I want a feel-good moment (kind of like ice cream).

Denise Ann said...

Nice topic! And Trixie Belden! I haven't heard that name in a very long time.

I once said to a friend that I wondered, if I were told I had one year to live, if I would read new books or re-read the ones I love.

I go back to "Gift From the Sea" frequently, and I have one of the few books I owned as a child, a lesser known Louisa May Alcott called "Jack and Jill." I spend time looking for and rereading poetry.

Comfort, pure comfort.

Marianne in Maine said...

I'll admit it. I just re-read all of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series in anticipation of the latest book due out later this year. I did the same thing with Deb Harkness' A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES and SHADOW OF NIGHT. I love long books.

I never used to re-read anything. But I can escape with Georgie and Darcy and Gemma and Duncan very easily. So I go back to those.

One of my all-time favorites is OUR HEARTS WERE YOUNG AND GAY by Cornelia Otis Skinner and Emily Kimbrough. It made me laugh when I first read it eons ago and it still entertains. I have the most ratty, dog-eared paperback and I'd love to find an old hardbound version.

Rhys Bowen said...

Oh yes, Tony Hillerman,one of my all time favorites. And Harry Potter too. But if I add any more from your lists, I'll have no time to read the new books in my TBR pile.
Oh and Byatt's Possession is another one I'll re-read from time to time, just to admire the richness of that poetry

Lysa MacKeen said...

I have always been a rereader - sometimes closing a book only to reopen it and immediately start over. Usually, this is because the book is wonderful and I've been racing to the end and want to see what I missed in my mad race to the conclusion...but sometimes, it is just to get lost again. I am preparing for a long trek into Asia this summer, so my kindle will be my very best friend as I have to carry whatever I need through many many airports. Loading on my comfort list for the trip? Laurie King's Mary Russell series; Jill McCorkle's short story collections; Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon series for utter distraction; Laurie Garrett, Jared Diamond and Dan Ariely to remind me to think occasionally and my true blue must reread once a year somewhat odd choice - Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising series for children because I still totally relate to the idea of an eleven year old who saves the world.

Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib said...

I don't know THE SECRET HISTORY either--will have to go look it up!

Anonymous said...

When I'm sick or worried I reread the Angela Thirkell Barchester books about life in countryside England--there's over 30 of them so it takes a long time to cycle through them. They're wonderful because each one is written in the moment--the carefree 1930s, the war, the years of rationing. I dare you to read just one.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Rhys, I'm a confirmed re-reader, and especially for comfort. I have a lot of nights when I'm up unable to sleep due to pain.

That's when I turn to Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers (in particular Gaudy Night), anything by CJ Cherryh or the late Olivia Butler (two sf/f writers from whom any writer could learn many lessons), my beloved Dickens (especially David Copperfield), Jane Austen, Tony Hillerman, Elizabeth Peters, the Harry Potter books, and Margaret Drabble (for the sheer beauty of her prose). And Lysa, I thought I was the only grown woman to be a fan of the Susan Cooper THE DARK IS RISING books!

Deb Romano said...

I re-read OUR HEARTS WERE YOUNG AND GAY so many times that my copy fell apart! When I found another one at a tag sale, I grabbed it. That copy, too, is getting somewhat ragged around the edges.

Barbara Pym is one of my other favorite "go-to" authors for comfort reading. I own all of her books. My favorite is EXCELLENT WOMEN. I think I have it memorized! My copy is in tatters, and I haven't been able to find another one. I also frequently return to NO FOND RETURN OF LOVE, also by Pym.

Mary Roberts Rinehart's Tish books are hysterically funny, and I save them for my vacation reading.

I have all the Betsy-Tacy books and reread them frequently. I will forever be grateful to the librarian who recommended them to me when I was in third grade.

Karen in Ohio said...

Oh, gosh, so many. But like Hank, I look at all the bookshelves bulging with sometimes two-deep stacks, then at the towering piles of TBR, then at the 200+ books still to be read on my Nook, and I wonder when in the world I'll read them for the first time, let along reread any.

However, before I got carried away with the Nook and how easy it is to add books (like I just did this morning), I had some go-to favorites. Mark Twain's "Innocents Abroad", which I've read at least four times; "Anna Karenina"; the Outlander books (not sure I'll reread these this time, though); and the various Bronte and Austen titles.

One of my very favorite books in high school was "Mrs. Mike", about a young bride who went with her Canadian Mountie husband to an outpost in the wilderness. I recently found a copy at a used book sale and immediately took it home to revisit it, now from an adult perspective. Some of the events didn't happen quite as I remembered, and I could see other parts very differently, but it's still a wonderful tale.

Bev Fontaine said...

Ahh, the joys of re-reading. I read Jane Eyre at least once a year, The Blue Castle (L.M. Montgomery) often. I just finished re-reading one of the Amelia Peabody books and the Vicky Bliss ones are wonderful when I really need a laugh. And I've re-read every single Dick Francis book at least once and some as many as 8-10 times. And Lord Peter Wimsey is always comforting and amusing. I recently discovered Deborah Crombie and have all her books on my iPad and that Georgie! What a gal.

Marianne in Maine said...

Karen, I remember MRS MIKE. I liked it a lot. I remember the cover was blue and from that book I first learned what laudanum was.

Isn't it funny that we can remember the things we learned in certain books?

Howard Shrier said...

Anything by Elmore Leonard. Certain books by Michael Connelly. Early Robert B. Parker. If they're good the first time, they're even better the next/

Karen in Ohio said...

Marianne, yes, indeed.

I bet that's where I learned about laudanum, too. And pleurisy, and several other things.

Do you remember the scene where they passed the cup around the table and when it got to her she saw a bean floating in it? It was funny and horrifying at the same time, but perfectly captured that rugged era.

PlumGaga said...

My mother always said that people who didn't reread books were like those who drop old friends when they meet new ones.

I reread many authors, Angela Thirkell (at least once a year, Dorothy L Sayers, Deborah Crombie. Need to go back to Margaret Drabble, haven't visited her in quite a while.

Deb said...

Oh, Harry Potter, yes. Have reread the entire series, would love to find time to do it again...

Lysa, I still have my paperback copies of The Dark is Rising series. Would love to read them again but there weren't on acid-free paper. May have to put on Kindle.

I also reread a strange little book called The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner. He also wrote (I think) The Owl Service.

Would love to reread LM Montgomery...

Anonymous said...

There are several characters I enjoy rereading. Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum, J.E. Robb's Eve Dallas, Charlaine Harris's Aurora Teagarden and Sookie Stackhouse and Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson. Many Jennifer Crusie stories are also on the list.

Triss said...

For Marianne in Maine- the (much missed) Common Reader put out a reprint of Our Hearts Were Young and Gay about 10 years ago. Original illustrations and all. I snatched it up!It was just as charming and funny as I remembered.

For comfort reads, I turn to books I loved as a child and teen and read my favorite sceness: Alcott,Lovelace, Wilder, and oddball lesser known ones I've managed to find here and there-Van Loon's Lives, The Sherwood Ring,The Amazing Vacation, The Thirteenth is Magic(Am I ringing any bells?) From when I was older, Sayers of course. I've tracked down some Norah Lofts and Rumer Godden, who have held up well, and even Elswyth Thane, who hasn't held up so well but is wonderfully nostalgic for me. Mary Stewart. And Georgette Heyer's romances, a genre I don't read otherwise. She was funny, and - putting on my writer hat- boy, could she set up a crackling, hilarious climactic scene.

Anonymous said...

I just reread Helene Hanff"s 84, Charing Cross Road and Duchess of Bloomsbury, both delightful comfort books for book lovers and Anglophiles.

Anonymous said...

Alice Hoffman books are my guilty pleasure. I love escaping into her magical settings. A different kind of writer I also consider a comfort read is Sara Paretsky. I've re-read many of her novels and not because I don't remember the endings. They are worth re-reading because I love the descriptions of the Chicago neighborhoods. It is like a trip home for me ...

vikingwhistler said...

I am a confirmed comfort reader. Tops on the list are Dick Francis and Georgette Heyer (an interesting pair!), but I also go for Deb's books, JA Jance's JP Beaumont books, Terry Pratchett, and Mary Stewart.

Recently I've been re-reading kids books like The Secret Garden and Alice in Wonderland. But my all-time favorite author from my middle school years is Sally Watson and my favorite of hers is Jade. How can you resist a teenage girl in 1620s Williamsburg who can't quite follow society's norms for girls? She learns to fence on the sly, hits the obnoxious boy next door over the head with a footstool, gets sent off to her uncle in Barbados, and cuts off her hair and cuts up her stays in rebellion. My kind of girl.

Grandma Cootie said...

Just when I think I am the only one . . . I go to Jungle Red. Comforting to see others love many of the authors and books I do, also have bookshelves stuffed to overflowing with unread and to be reread books (and probably family shaking their heads but who are never at a loss as to what to get you as a gift), load up the nook with (really) hundreds of books, and always give me something to add to my TBR list. Yes, my copy of Jane Eyre fell apart too, I started reading Harry Potter to stay ahead of grandkids and got hooked myself, brought all the Dorothy Sayers books I could find home with me from a trip to England many years ago because I was afraid I couldn't find them here (pre-internet and tablet), reread the Jungle Reds, Nora Roberts, Sue Grafton, etc., etc. -- but just realized while reading these posts that Stephen King's IT is also one of my comfort reads. Must be the friendship those kids have, because it sure isn't the clown!

Rhys said...

Oh Deb--Our Hearts were Young and Gay! I too loved it so much that my copy fell apart. I still can't stop laughing every time I think about the time on the ship!

And the Lord of the Rings--I used to read it every six months when I was younger. Now I know it by heart but may still re-read once again.

Anonymous said...

My best comfort book is "Charlotte's Web".

--Marjorie of Connecticut

Lisa Alber said...

Kristopher, has it already been a decade since Tartt's second novel came out? I loved her first, THE SECRET HISTORY, too. In fact, that might indeed be a re-readable novel.

That said, I'm more like Hank--not much of a re-reader. Except, of course, when I'm a third of the way into a novel and realize that I've read it before! When that occurs I often don't know whether to continue on (because I obviously don't remember it well) or set it aside. I just did this with Sarah Waters' THE LITTLE STRANGER. I love that book--wow. So well done.

I have re-read Jane Austen, however, and I'll re-read a novel for educational purposes for my own writing.

Deb, James Herriott! I loved his books when I was a teenager. I'd forgotten about them. In the same animal-lovin' vein, I also loved Watership Down and The Plague Dogs.




MsWormwood said...

The Harry Potter Books. Bailey White. Maigret. Austen. Certain Dickens. Judith Merkle Riley (r.i.p.) and King's Mary Russell.

Lexie's Mom said...

I'm with Joan. When I'm looking for a comfort read, or my book budget is tapped out, I return to favorite series, particularly J.D. Robb's "In Death." Also, Sherlock Holmes, Sue Grafton, and Agatha Christie, and even the Chronicles of Narnia once in a while. (I also tend to re-read when a new book in a series comes out--yes, I've really read book one of the "In Death series" more than 30 times. What can I say? The OCD kicks in. Its fascinating to see character growth that way.) Harry Potter is usually worthy of a spin every year or so. I love to re-read.

Rosemary Harris said...

Angela Thirkell and Margaret Drabble! OMG, almost forgot about them...must google.

Susan D said...

My all-time comfort read author is D. E. Stevenson. Hands down.

A wonderful storyteller, she wrote from the 1930s to the early 1970s. Her books, filled with warm humour and familiar insights, feature ordinary, endearing people dealing with everyday life, particularly on the Home Front in WWII.

http://destevenson.org/

Joan Emerson said...

Lexie's Mom:
I am SO glad to know that I am not the only one who has read and re-read the "In Death" books [in order, of course!] a gazillion times. It's truly like visiting an old and dear friend. Same goes for Julia's series . . .

Susan D said...

Like Sandi and others, I also keep going back to
The Blue Castle
Trixie Belden
Jane Eyre
Mary Stewart

Plus
Our Lady of the Lost and Found
Welcome to Temptation (or almost anything by Jenny Crusie)
Testament of Youth

And now I must try
Donna Tartt
and go back to
Our Hearts Were Young and Gay (and Through Charley's Door)

WENDY said...

Super topic and what fun to read these comments! Ahhh, BetsyTacy... my first memory of reading. And Our Hearts Were Young and Gay...haven' thought of that in years! My comfort re-reads are not very original: Jane Austen's Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice.( My grown children still taunt me with "Oh, Mister Bingley!" in falsetto voices) A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy gets read every few years, as does much of Agatha Chrisite.. Glad for the P.G. Wodehouse reminder, I'll pull that one down from the shelf right now.

Pam said...

I've been working my way through Ellen Hart's Jane Loveless mysteries. I've read most of them before, but this is a situation in which having a lousy middle-aged memory is a bonus; everything seems new.

I reread Little Women every few years.

Triss said...

Sally Watson??? A great childhood favorite, much loved. They were reissued a few years ago, actually due to the efforts of some librarians who met Ms. Watson. Imprint Image Cascade.Yes, I bought the ones I remembered so fondly. Mistress Malapert and the Scotland books.

Kristopher said...

Lisa,

It is hard to believe it has been that long since the second Donna Tartt book (The Little Friend), but it has. I did not enjoy the second book as much as The Secret History, but the stellar writing was still evident.

I would certainly recommend re-reading The Secret History. I am continually amazed that it was a first novel (published novel anyway). Before the second book came out, I was thinking she might have been like Harper Lee (only writing one book, but a masterpiece at that).

The new book, The Goldfinch, sounds excellent. If only I could get my hands on an ARC of that book.

Lisa Alber said...

Kristopher,

The Goldfinch -- I like the title. I read that she writes one sentence at a time. Polishing polishing polishing a sentence before moving on to the next. Not sure this is true, but it would sure explain why it's been a decade since her last. :-)

Darlene Ryan said...

Like Hank, I'm a "go forward" except for one book--Vonnegut's Welcome to the Monkey House. I re-read those short stories a lot.

I'm going to look for The Secret History. You've all piqued my interest.

lil Gluckstern said...

Since i have too many books in my house that are tar, I rarely re-read anything. That said, I read many "heavy" books, and every once in a while I reread Georgette Heyer, and I find myself smiling as I did many, many years ago. Btw, I read The Secret Keeper, and could not put it down for many reasons. A view of England in the blitz, imperfect but wonderful characters, just very compelling and pleasurable.

Susan C Shea said...

Persuasion by Austen, Galsworthy's wonderful Forsyte Saga (especially the first trilogy), and some Anthony Trollope - the series about the clergy. I love the rhythms of their storytelling, the way they take their time building the characters so we are ready to accept their actions - or lack of action - when the crisis occurs. It's hard to reread mysteries if I remember the ending, but Agatha Christie and Dick Francis are fun.

Allison Brennan said...

I don't re-read books, but I'm behind on a few series, so when I have time and need to de-stress, I'll pick up the next JD Robb (I'm now SIX behind!) or scan my mom's bookshelves for a Linda Barnes or Nora Roberts I haven't read (need both mystery and romance!)

I also have been reading classic books that I missed, like last year I read The Talented Mr. Ripley. The pacing in the older classics is slower, but the writing is sharp and the authors very talented in crafting a story.

P.S. My mom recently read all the Sue Grafton's from A to U? V? (or whatever the last book was) in anticipation for the newest.

Anonymous said...

Little Women, The Aunt Dimity Series, any Phyllis A. Whitney

Julia said...

Lois McMaster Bujold is my comfort read/re-read author. I think I've read every one of her Vorkosigan Saga books at least four times - several of them I'm up to double-digits.

I also love to reread Mary Balogh's regency romances. Well-developed characters, tons of emotion, and a guaranteed happy ending - that's my definition of a comfort read.

Reine said...

For comfort reading... not sure why my re-read list is comforting, but I do return to certain authors and series. I used to think this was for greater understanding but, Rhys now that you have interjected the element of comfort to rereading I question my self explanation.

Really. What would I be seeking out in a close reading of Tony Hillerman, JK Rowling, Robert B Parker, or Louise Penny? Okay, Louise Penny I can see. She's my favorite practical philosopher.

I think what they have in common is... pfffff... I don't know. I was about to say simplicity, but that is not it. They appear simple, but hidden behind the simplicity the words evoke experiential-like understanding that complicated thoughts on life and feeling cannot deliver.

SJ Barnsley said...

Rereading any Gene Stratton-Porter book (most written between 1900 and 1929) - Freckles, Girl of the Limberlost, and others, take me back to my childhood when I would read them because they were my mother's favorite books.

Anonymous said...

I reread Gone With The Wind every five years or so along with To Kill A Mockingbird. Mockingbird isn't quite "comfort," but it's one of those books that you feel sad after reading it for the first time because you'll never read it for the first time again. Also Little Women, The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy, and Georgette Heyer's The Grand Sophy.

Amy said...

I used to reread a lot of books growing up. Now there just seem to be too many I want to read. Having said that there are times when you don't want something new. Rosamund Pilcher's September, the Shell seekers and Comng Home are comforting. Agatha Christie is another go to of mine. I have read all of the Harry Potters multiple times too.

messisue said...

If I am rereading because I need to relax or get my mind off something major, I read Anne George. That series is one of the very few that I have reread several times. I can completely escape in them. I also find I do that with Denise Swanson's Skye Dennison series. And if all else fails, I "travel the world" with Helen MacInnes.

Pam F said...

Such an enjoyable read today. Many of my favorites and rereads were mentioned. I have never met anyone who read The Egg and I or Our Hearts Were Young and Gay. As I was reading, I had many internal comments. I started rereading almost as soon as I started reading. Tops for me-Anne of Green Gables series, all Agatha Christies, Judy Bolton series(girl sleuth!) and the Grace Harlow series. Grace went to college in the 20's I think!

Patti J. said...

Sleeping Tiger and Snow in April by Rosamund Pilcher when I am greatly distressed, and Harry Potter when I feel totally destroyed. I work on my Patronum and identify the dementors in my life.

Cea said...

Margaret Fraser, Dick Francis, Rhys Bowen's Evan series, Charlaine Harris' Sookie and Harper Connelly stories, Tamora Pierce, Alice in Wonderland, and Tolkien. I have read LOTR and the Hobbit over 75 times, which, when I see it written down, looks somewhat scary. But, the way I look at it, I can't always get away in person. And I read very, very, fast.

Liz P. said...

Deb Ramano - I first discovered Barbara Pym on tape of No Fond Return of Love. Cherish her books.
Hoping to visit her grave this summer.

PlumGaga said...

Susan D, I didn't think of mentioning DE Stevenson, but I agree, very comforting. I reread several of hers last month.

vikingwhistler and triss, Sally Watson is a cousin of mine and living in Santa Rosa. I've forwarded your comments to her. And she's more recently written some adult books that are available in e-book form.

Linda said...

I'm an incessant re-reader of the Outlander series and even the Lord John series by Diana Gabaldon and will re-read them all again before the eighth one comes out late this year or early in 2014; friends say I know more of the Fraser genealogy than I do my own LOL.

Then there is LOTR and The Hobbit and the Harry Potter books. And I can't just pick up one of any of these--they have to be read in order from beginning to end.

The Anne of Green Gables series is the same way but thankfully it is shorter than all the others so if I need "quick" comfort reading, I go there.

I've also noticed that no matter how many times I re-read a title, I can find something new and different every time. It's almost as if my mind is looking for a new experience with an old friend ;-)

Elizabeth Tierney said...

Summertime is perfect for re-reads! My favorites are Margery Allingham, DL Sayers, Patricia Wentworth, Georgette Heyer (mysteries and romances), and DE Stevenson. I think the best part of getting old is that you can re-read a mystery and not remember who dun nit!!

Susan D said...

Golly, Pam F. Grace Harlowe!! I haven't thought of her in years.

I had the 4 high school books (Grace Harlowe's Freshman Year, etc) when I was a kid. Very old, handed down from an aunt. I so enjoyed dipping into the past like that, because they were contemporary when published.

Sadly, I purged a lot of my old books when I reached the mature age of 16.