Saturday, November 20, 2010

Blogging Sick Leave and Comfort Reads

Sorry to have been away from the blog for so long, but, unfortunately I've been nursing a nasty ear infection for the past week.  I've managed to read a few comforting books, though I've been a little too foggy to put together enough coherent and insightful thoughts to write an actual book review.  (Though I have been gratefully reading lots of other brilliant and clever postings!)  Hopefully, I'll spend the holiday getting caught up and start posting again soon.

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 who brings her back to his big scary mansion, complete with a creepy housekeeper who's obsessed with the first wife -- sounds comforting, right? 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.


  1. Harry Potter, Maugham, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Rosy Thornton's books...yeah those are pretty much my comfort reads.

  2. Sorry to hear you haven't been feeling good. I think almost everyone I know is sick, is getting over being sick or about to be sick. This time of year makes me crazy.

    I agree with you about Harry Potter and Narnia. I'm not a big rereader but if I'm not feeling well, I will seek out Bill Bryson or Christopher Moore. "Rebecca" would not have occurred to me!

  3. I'm so sorry you've been ill. :( Hope it goes away soon!

    All of my favourite mystery authors are big comfort reads for me: Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Laurie King, PD James...I reach for them when I need some pure solace. My childhood favourites too (which include Narnia, though The Magician's Nephew is one of my faves from that series, The Children of Green Knowe etc., Anne of Green Gables etc., The Belgaraid). And classic authors like Jane Austen and Anthony Trollope, in which the plots are quite gentle and the books always end happily. :)

  4. That is a marvelous collection of medicinal books. There's nothing like Austen for getting over a cold, and Anne of Green Gables has got me through many a laid-up time. I also like mysteries when I'm not feeling well--they really can be good and distracting.

    I'm really looking forward to Tree Grows in Brooklyn--finally got my hands on a copy. Hope I don't have to wait until I'm sick to read it.

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery, and medicate (i.e., read) stat.

  5. Ozma is one of my OZ favorites. And now I need to go get Danny, the Champion of the World. I've never read it! My sick day reads are all over the place. I never pick the same thing.

  6. I didn't know you loved Oz!! Ozma was one of my fave chracters from lit ever, and reading the book that told her story is one of my childhood reading experiences that has stuck with me (I wrote about it... oh... somewhere). Roald Dahl I've hated more and more the older I've gotten. Even as a kid some of his books I didn't like, and now I read him and he just sounds like this bitter crabbed old man, obsessed with revenge fantasies and makign fun of those he doesn't like...

  7. I agree with you on Rebecca,To Kill a Mockingbird, Pride and Prejudice, but I would add E.F.Benson's Mapp and Lucia books, Elizabeth's German Garden by von Arnim and vintage crime esp. Sayers. Why is murder a cosy, comforting read? Maybe it's because you aren't the corpse!

  8. Emma by Jane Austen is my favourite comfort read and I'm very fond of JK Rowling's books, too. My favourite is The Prisoner of Azkaban. Hope you're feeling better, now.

  9. Sorry to hear that you've been feeling ill! I love to read picture books to comfort myself. When I'm feeling down, for whatever reason, I'll check out a stack of picture books.

  10. I'm sorry you've been sick, you poor thing! And I completely agree about The Horse and His Boy. That's my favorite one -- I love Lasaraleen.

    But I'm surprised you found The Magician's Nephew so depressing. (The Silver Chair is legitimately dreary.) I think Uncle Andrew is hilarious. I love it when he talks about his lonely destiny.

  11. Great list! There are some books on here that I will have to check out, like Ozma of Oz. I think one of my comfort books is "My Antonia" by Willa Cather. Hope you feel better! :)

  12. I know I've said this before, but I always love reading your lists! Novel-wise, Jane Austen's 'Emma' would be on my comfort list, and 'Alice in Wonderland', which always makes me laugh. I often tend to read poetry when I'm sick or depressed though - just lie in front of the bookshelf and leaf through my favourite anthologies, reading things out aloud that speak to me on that particular day. Hope you feel better soon (or enjoy the enforced reading time!)