Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Comfort Reads

After Dave's wonderfully clever post about getting it right in books. I thought I'd blog about something a little lighter.

Why do we keep coming back to our favourite authors and TV shows?

For the same reason we love love LOL cats. They are make us smile in a scary world.

One of the reasons the Harry Potter books did so well, was because they were familiar. We've all grownup reading boarding school books, mysterys and fantasy books. JK Rowling combined all these elements.

When I'm too sick to read, I watch the 1960s TV series Bewitched. As a child I wanted to grow up to be Samantha. If I need a change of pace, I turn to the first Lord of the Rings movie. The early scenes set in the shire are so soothing. I could retire there.

When I want a comfort read I turn to Georgette Heyer. Yes, the Queen of Regencies. I have my favourites, and I am gradually replacing the books that have fallen apart with new editions. She writes so effortlessly, knows her period so well and has such insight into human nature.

Another comfort read for me is Terry Pratchett. He can make me laugh aloud. I have to admire his insight and the way he satirizes our world.

What are your Comfort Reads and why?


Dave Freer said...

My comfort read is L Sprague De Camp's Lest Darkness Fall. Or Heyer's Unknown Ajax or Black Sheep. Or on occasions Lámour's Fallon... not a lot of obvious common threads, except they tend to be about clever, determined inviduals whose choices are right rather than always easy or wise... As to why... I think you'd need a better psycologist than me for that one!

KylieQ said...

Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. I read it in high school and re-read it just about every year. Strangely, I don't like any of her other novels.

Also Juliette Marillier's Sevenwaters books. They are just so beautifully written and evocative. I usually speed-read my way through a book but with her, I read slowly to savour every word. I can't think of any other writer I do the same with.

There are other books that I would read again given enough time but these are the ones I go back to again and again.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Dave, Georgette Heyer has such a wonderful feel for her characters and so much humour.

I should have read Lest Darkness Fall, but I don't think I have.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Kylie, I bought all of Jane Austen's books and read them last year. It made me realise I could never live in her world. The people were all consumed with status and women were so constrained!

I must look out for Juliette Marillier's books.

C Kelsey said...

Mike Resnick's Stalking the (Unicorn/Vampire/Dragon). I'm guaranteed to get a laugh an almost every page. Felina is the funniest character I've ever come across.

The old 70's Colombo mystery shows are my fall back. I get a sligh smile everytime Peter Falk asks for "just one more question".

Francis Turner said...

Kipling's Stalky and Co.

The latter half of LMB's Vorkosigan series (Memory->Winterfair gifts)

Wodehouse's Blandings books are also good.

Anonymous said...

My favorite shows as a kid were Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. I loved the magical element in them and desperately wished I had magic in me, too.

As I've gotten older, and technology has changed, my comfort TV is movies. Dazed and Confused for the time travel element, not that there's time travel in the movie, but it's set in 1976. I was fourteen at the time and I love to get all nostalgic about it. The Replacements, Dude, Where's My Car?, and Evolution are all other comfort viewing for the comedic element. They're stupid but funny, and I can leave them on while I do housework and other things that I don't want to do at the time. I never feel like I missed much when I wander back through the room.

For reading, I was a huge Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Trixie Belden and other young detectives novel fan. I still comfort read with Janet Evanovich for the Stephanie Plum novels which I find hilarious. For sf/f, I dig series since I know the characters already and don't have to put a lot of thought into them. I can just read them and have fun. The Weather Warden series by Rachel Caine comes immediately to mind. The Mercedes Thompson books by Patricia Briggs and the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher are big on my list right now. You can also tell by that list that I love the urban fantasy for comfort reading. Sitting around wondering what I'm not seeing in the world is a guilty pleasure.

Linda Davis

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Francis, I discovered Wodehouse about 30 years ago and loved him.

Lois McMaster Bujold is wonderful and I admire what she does with the Miles character.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Kelsey, I'll have to look up Mike Resnick's book.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Linda. Yay, another Bewitched fan.

I love Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books. I've noticed some of her characters appear in other books. Not in the sense but they have been direct steals, but more as homages to her.

I think you've really made it, when other writers start to mimic what you do. They say 'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery'.

C Kelsey said...


Mike Resnick is one of those authors who has really fascinated me. (He was up for a Hugo for a short story in JBU this year). But I tend to treat his books as my ultimate "impulsive buy". That is, I actively search for his books at book stores. When I find them, I buy them. It's always an unexpected treat.

IMO, he may be one of the most underrated scifi/fantasy authors out there. If I had my way he would be more famous than Asimov by now. :)

Kate said...

For me, anything Pratchett. Just Pratchett.

Every time I reread I find a new layer of humor I'd missed the last time through.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Wow, that's some recommendation Kelsey.

What would you say was his best? I'll order it from my local independent bookstore.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

When ever I do a workshop on writing in high school or with young adults, there will be a young male sitting up the back. As the workshop progresses he'll say something, clever/sarcastic and I'll say, I bet you read Terry Pratchett.

And his eyes will light up. Wow, a grown up who has heard of Terry Pratchett!

I think it is so sad that, in the past before the internet, people could go their whole life without finding other people who 'got' the things they got!

C Kelsey said...


I personally thought that Stalking the Unicorn was my favorite fantasy that Mike Resnick has done. I haven't had a chance to try his SciFi series' yet but from what I've read in JBU he's darned good at that too.

The Stalking the XXX series is a combination of old noir detective story and really whimsical modern fantasy. ;)

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

The Stalking the XXX series is a combination of old noir detective story and really whimsical modern fantasy. ;)

I Like the sound of that,Kelsey.