Comfort Books

After starting and stopping what feels like several thousand books, I’m pleased to report that I’ve happily settled into one.  I’m reading Second Honeymoon by Joanna Trollope.  Have any of you read her novels?  I’ll just say right now that she’s probably more of a women’s read (and oh, more on that later – some recent blog posts have my mind reeling), so her subject matter might not appeal to guys so much, but if you haven’t read her books you’re truly missing out.  Her books take place in England, usually in a small town – but they have a homey yet sophisticated feel.  She takes on everything from infidelity to sibling rivalry.  Second Honeymoon is about a mom whose last kid has flown the coop, and she’s freaking.  Her books are funny, smart and utterly charming.  She’s also written seventeen of them (last I counted), so it’s great to know there’s always another one on the shelf for you to read.

I'm positive that everyone in Joanna Trollope's novels lives in an adorable cottage just like this one.

I realized today that Joanna Trollope has become one of my “comfort reads.”  One of those authors you turn to in either times of turmoil – when you need a book to take you away from whatever is going on in real life, or on the flip side, when all is just swell but you’re not connecting with anything.  I open up one of her novels, sit back and am instantly  absorbed – don’t even try to talk to me.  So thank you Joanna Trollope!  I have a few authors and books that are on my list of “comfort books,” but I’d certainly like to add more:

  • Joanna Trollope
  • Laurie Colwin
  • Mary Cantwell
  • Carol Goodman
  • Cheryl Mendelsohn
  • The Great Gatsby

Do you have books or authors you re-read when things are rough?  I’d love to know!  Like I said, I’m always anxious to add to that list of mine.  It’s a little bit shorter than I’d like it to be.

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9 responses to “Comfort Books

  1. I want to go find some of those authors on your list. I’m finishing up a couple of nonfiction books and am anxious to get back to some comfort reading.

    A friend sent me an Audrey Howard paperback she thought I’d like for its Northern England dialect. I can’t wait to finish these other books I started so that I can get into Ms. Howard.

    I’m finding that my comfort books are all set in England. Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers.

  2. I LOVE Joanna Trollope! I’ve been reading her books for years (I haven’t read “Second Honeymoon,” but since I just sent my first off to college, it might be a good one to pick up!).

    A couple of my favorite “comfort reads” are Elizabeth Berg (oh, she makes me happy!) and Marne Davis Kellogg. MDK has written a series of light “mystery” novels featuring the best heroine ever–Kick Keswick, who is a jewel thief. The books take place in wonderful places, too, which is a plus. Start with “Brilliant” and read them in order–you’ll be glad you did. I re-read them every year.

    • Trollope is great isn’t she? Second Honeymoon is perfect for you. Honestly, I’ve had it on my shelf for years, but I don’t think it would have made such an impact if I had read it before I was a mother. I suspect “comfort books” find you at the right time! Okay, now I’m sounding sappy! I will check out MDK right away! What are your favorite Elizabeth Berg novels? I’ve only read one, and I think it was about CANCER. So might not have been the best representation of her work. Let me know! “Brilliant” sounds great. If you like Trollope I bet you’ll like Colwin. Especially if you like food. Her novels are great and then she’s got two books of essays all about food. . .

      • Berg’s at the top of my list, too. I don’t know if I could pick a favorite (although “Durable Goods” and her short story collection “The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted” are contenders). Her website lists all her books and gives you a snapshot of each plot. Pick up a few more from the library and you’re sure to find a couple you’ll love.

  3. I think I’ve read the Great Gatsby at least 20 times.

    Thanks for the Trollope tip (also said Thanks on previous post). I started listening to The Shining after finishing Stephen King’s memoir on writing and it is SO creepy — way more creepy than the movie — so I just downloaded Marrying the Mistress so I won’t freak out while working out :-).

  4. Hi. First, let me say, I like the new font here. How did you do it? I might have to bite your (font) styles.

    Next, I’ve never read Trollope. But I’m going to look into her and some of the others on the list.

    I’m actually *trying* to finish Gatsby now–part of some research for my novel that itself is almost finished. I remember reading this classic a few times throughout my student years. Definitely holds up. (Mind you, I’m ashamed at how long it’s taking me to read this since the book is so slim. But, wait…I’m a WAHM to a toddler. That snip you just heard? That was me, cutting myself from slack, man.)

    Enjoying this blog, too. More, please. (And, seriously, clue me in on how you fiddled with the font on WP.com!)

    • Okay, this is embarrassing, but my husband finally figured it out. I was totally baffled. I’ll ask him though and pass the info along. Glad you like it.

      I’m so glad you like the blog! TODDLER AND A NOVEL? You’re an ad hoc MOM. In other words, It’s nearly impossible to read The Great Gatsby. I have a thing for it I think because I’m from the midwest, and the entire book is essentially about midwesterners moving here and screwing up their entire lives by trying to be all super cool. It’s a big lesson. . .

  5. Sorry for the late reply; I only found your blog now (through the webinar last week – thanks again!), and reading through previous posts I found this one. Have you read Maeve Binchy? She’s one of my trusted go-to’s, more comforting than mac-n-cheese. I haven’t read Joanna Trollope (in Curacao, where I live, only the most mainstream of mainstream authors – think Ms. Steele – get here with any regularity), but I’ll certainly keep an eye out for her next time I’m in the US. I mention Maeve because, to me, she matches the description you gave: “funny, smart and utterly charming.” She has a brilliant way of positing tragedy into easy-to-process chunks of hilarity that leave an aftertaste of nostalgia. I love her!

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