Sometimes when I'm feeling down, angry, or have a need for familiarity, I turn to one of my comfort books. These books are ones that I can read over and over and still enjoy, they're like family members. Generally mine fall into the category of fantasy fiction, with alternate worlds, differing dimensions, secrets & make-believe. I know I'm not the only one with books like this, we all have special books that we turn to in times of torment – or even just because they're so damn good that they need reading again – but here is my list of comfort books.
Without a doubt the Harry Potter series has to rank pretty high. The shorter ones are especially good for rainy weekend days, best read curled up in a chair with a coffee and a sleeping kitty. Above you can see a combined effort of all the Harry Potter books that exist in this house. I started reading Harry Potter books when I was young, and I've re-read the series several times. The final book came out on the day I graduated from University, I was more excited about that than graduating – in fact I was gutted that I had to waste a day going up on stage in a stupid outfit when I could have been curled up at home reading Harry Potter – I finished reading it just in time to get on a plane to America, I finished it in the car on the way to the airport.
This book. I love this book. I first read this book in Florida on a family holiday, being in a car-crash of American consumerism was a great setting to read it, since then I've re-read it time & time again. Without a doubt Neil Gaiman is in my top 3 favourite authors, and American Gods is a masterpiece. If you've never read this, please, PLEASE go and take a copy out at the library. Adam first leant me his copy that came from Canada (it's okay, they mainly spell the right way), it's now signed by the author (we took it to a Graveyard Book signing in Manchester). I bought another copy (with the cover as above) because I have other Neil Gaiman books in the same cover artwork style. I have a thing for book covers, thus the duplication of several books on our shelves.
I only recently (within the last few years, before the film) started reading His Dark Materials, but they placed themselves into my comfort book category almost instantly. They're enchanting, fantastical, and an amazing escape. The mingling of scientific theory with outlandish fiction makes these books rank high for me. The lead characters are vulnerable & human, and not everything turns out with a happy ending... oh I was heartbroken. Take these books as you will, either as a set of great fiction, a commentary on religion or an envisioning of unproven theories, I'm sure you'll still get something from them. I received some amazing hard back copies of the books for Christmas last year so I'm reading them again, and loving them again, and feeling at home again.
I'd love to know what your comfort books are, please leave a comment if you have some :)
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