In honor of my little sick leave, I'm posting a short list of some of my favorite comfort reads (in no particular order):
1. Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone. The book that made me fall in love with the wizarding world. It will always be my favorite of the entire series.
2. The Chronicles of Narnia. My favorites are The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Horse and His Boy. Though Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader are awfully good. . . . okay, pretty much the whole series except The Magician's Nephew and The Silver Chair, both of which I found to be dreary and depressing.
3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. [Spoiler alert!] Elizabeth realizes Mr. Darcy isn't such a horse's ass after all, they fall in love, and all is right with the world. Sigh.
4. Persuasion. See #3 and substitute Anne Eliot and Captain Wentworth for Lizzie and Darcy.
5. Danny, the Champion of the World, by Roald Dahl. By far my favorite Roald Dahl book, and curiously, one of the few without magic. I love the relationship between Danny and his father. The great pheasant caper is pretty cool also.
6. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith. Poor Francie Nolan's life is so terrible, so why is this story so comforting?
7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. My favorite parts of this book are about the minutiae of life in a small town in the South. This book just gets better as I get older.
8. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. One of the best historical juvenile books ever. It even makes me want to go back to Colonial Times -- and I don't do so well without running water.
9. Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Dorothy's back in Oz after a shipwreck with a talking chicken. There are also trees with lunch boxes and dinner pails growing on them, a Hungry Tiger, and a princess with multiple heads -- what could be better? How about Dorothy standing up to the princess who wants to trade heads with her -- "I b'lieve you won't!!" You go, Dorothy!
10. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Is it weird that a creepy gothic novel is comforting? A young woman marries a much older widower and brings her back to his big scary house and creepy housekeeper, who's obsessed with the first wife. Still one of my favorites.
So, bloggers, which books do you turn to when you're sick or cranky? Childhood reads, mysteries, chick lit? I'd love to know what other people find comforting.