Tag Archives: comfort reads

The Rereading Dilemma

I don’t dare to do a count, but the current state of my TBR is, well, pretty bad. These days, not only do I have a physical TBR:

Part of my physical TBROne of my TBR stacks

I also have an ebooks TBR, an audiobook TBR and a Scribd TBR. Not to mention the library holds I pick up every week.

When your TBR piles are so big you know you don’t have much of a chance of getting through them all unless you swear off adding new books to your to-read lists for the next ten years or so (and I know lots of you know exactly what I’m talking about here), what do you when you feel the urge to reread a book?

Every now and then, this happens to me. Despite all these new, unread books beckoning to me, calling out my name, almost but not quite reaching out to wrap their bookish arms around me, I suddenly think of a much loved older read and I want nothing more than to cuddle up in my reading chair, snacks at hand, and re-read to my heart’s content.

Sometimes I give in. And sometimes I resist. But it’s always such a dilemma every time this happens.

And that urge to reread? Anything can trigger it. Here are some books I’ve found myself wanting to reread over the past three months or so, and the reasons why they came to mind:

Emily of New Moon, by L.M. Montgomery. Because I was on Twitter the other night when the #womeninfiction hashtag came up and I immediately thought of Emily.

The Forever King, by Molly Cochran and Warren Murphy. Because I was reading The Camelot Kids for a book tour, and The Forever King is one of the best urban fantasy King Arthur novels I’ve read.

Pride & Prejudice, by Jane Austen. Because I always want to re-read Pride & Prejudice, at least a few times every year. Despite this, it’s been nearly ten years since my last re-read of it.

Make Way for Lucia (The Mapp and Lucia books), by E.F. Benson. Because I received an email a while ago from author Guy Fraser-Sampson who has written some sequels to the Mapp and Lucia books (and this reminds me, I never emailed him back—this was way back when I was at inbox 1000 and non-essential emails were getting lost all over the place). What really bugs me, though, is I went hunting for my copy of Make Way for Lucia and couldn’t find it. And I suspect it accidentally got placed in the books-to-give-away pile when we made our big move to the city four years ago.

Any of the Bill Bryson travel books (I have all of them). Because I read this post from the Guardian Books blog about Bryson’s forthcoming new release, The Road to Little Dribbling, and suddenly I wanted to sit with one of his books and spend the night smiling and laughing with his words.

The Good Soldier, by Ford Madox Ford. Because I read an article about this book recently (I can’t remember where or even what the article was about specifically) and this happens to be one of the few classics (that’s not a play) that I really enjoyed when I was in school.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple. Because Candace happened to mention on Twitter a few weeks ago how amazing the audio version is, so now I really really want to listen to it in audio.

So there you go. My ongoing rereading dilemma. Out of all these books I’ve just mentioned, I know I’m going to do a reread of Where’d You Go, Bernadette in audio (I put a hold on it at the library as soon as I heard how good the audio is), and I am *this* close to rummaging around for the first Emily book. And the others? They’re still tugging at my heart.

What about you? Do you like to re-read books? Do you ever feel that re-reading dilemma?

Audiobooks on Holiday: Comfort Re-reads for the Drive

I’m off on a weekend trip to Montreal with my sister – it will be a real foodie weekend, and I’m looking forward to good eating and some nice sisterly bonding. My sister and I have never travelled together before, so I’m really looking forward to our weekend away. Plus, she’s an event planner, and as you might expect, everything’s all arranged – room booked, reservations made, market and shopping plans in place!

We’re driving there (I say “we” but of course, I mean my sister’s doing the driving) and while we’ll be doing a lot of chatting along the way, I plan to spend a bit of time listening to audiobooks, too.

After I put together my list of potential listens, I realized I’d selected “Comfort Re-reads”. Which makes sense, because I’ll only be listening sporadically, and I don’t really want to be in the middle of a thriller of a read and have to keep stopping to, you know, be social and talk. But with a comfort re-read, it’s easy to turn the iPod off when necessary, and just as easy to turn it back on and slip right back into where I last left the story.

I seem to be in a real fantasy mood right now, as you can see from my list:

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

My son and I have been listening to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban at night before he goes to bed, which has made me really want to reread the rest of the books in audio – again.  I actually started Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire tonight, while I was packing. It’s a great comfort read, and so nice to be back in the world of Harry Potter.

The Golden Compass

But if I get tired of Harry Potter (okay, not likely to happen but I want to be prepared), next on my list is the first book in the His Dark Materials series: The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman. It’s been a while since I’ve read the series, and I’ve never done them in audio, either. I’m thinking they’ll make a good re-read in audio.

Nine Princes in Amber

My final pick (only three books, I know – but I’m only going away for the weekend!) is a bit problematic. The last time I read Roger Zelazny’s Amber Chronicles was many, many years ago, when I was still in university – as in, pre-kids (and my two oldest are both in university themselves now, so it was really quite a few years ago). I’m not too sure it really counts as a comfort re-read – I suspect, my memory being what it is, it will feel more like an almost new read.

I actually intend to read all the Amber books this year: I recently bought them all in this wonderful omnibus collection:

The Big Book of Amber

The Great Book of Amber contains all ten books in the series; I was thinking I’d get to it this summer, but we’re already halfway through the summer and I haven’t even started yet. So maybe I’ll get started with the audio version of the first book.

Although, I probably won’t, not this weekend!

What about you? When you go on holiday, especially holidays involving road trips, what kind of audiobooks do you like to bring along for the ride?

Pinning My TBR (And Other Fun Bookish Ways to Use Pinterest)

I fell in love with Pinterest a few months ago, and have been madly pinning away ever since. In addition to lots of other, non-bookish things, I have a board called Bookish Things where I pin all the awesome bookish stuff that delights my little bibliophile heart.

But recently, I’ve discovered a few more fun bookish ways to use Pinterest. My favourite so far? Pinning my TBR!

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Check out my board, The Ever-expanding TBR Pile. Isn’t it a great little bookish board? What I love is being able to see my to-read list visually. It’s SO beautiful!

And best of all, I pin a lot of books directly from my favourite book bloggers’ review posts – this means when I write about the books I’m reading or have read, I can link directly to those who are to blame for adding to my TBR pile the reviews which persuaded me to add the book to my to-read list. I’ve tried many ways in the past to keep track of who recommended what, as I like to give credit where credit is due; pinning my TBR pile does this fabulously for me.

I also have a Pinterest board for books read (or currently reading) in 2012. It’s on the sparse side right now, but just being able to pin a book on my board once I’m done is proving to be very motivating when it comes to my reading goal.

And just yesterday, I started boards for Rave-Worthy Reads and Comfort Reads. I’ve only pinned a few books so far, but it’s been fun thinking about what books I’ve loved in the past few years, and what books qualify as comfort reads for me.

Bottom line? I think Pinterest is such a great way to spread the news about great books!

What about you? Do you use Pinterest for bookish pinning?

Comfort Reads (42nd Bookworms Carnival)

imageI’m just tickled to be hosting this 42nd Bookworms Carnival! Thank you to everyone who sent in their links on such short notice.

I chose the topic of Comfort Reads because there are always those times in life when a much-loved, well-read book is exactly what I need, and I’m hoping you all feel the same, too.

The desire for a spot of comfort reading hits me most often during the winter: usually at night, when it’s toasty warm inside and bitterly cold outside. I look at my special reading armchair and thoughts of a good, familiar book and a mug of hot tea come to mind.

I’ve enjoyed seeing the titles my fellow bloggers turn to when they’re up for some comfort reading; there are many old favorites of mine in the group, plus some new titles that of course I’ve now added to my list of books to get my hands on. All I can say is, it’s a good thing Christmas is just around the corner!

Classics

Ah, the classics! I have quite a few classics on my own list – especially Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, A Room with a View, by E. M. Forster, and The Good Soldier, by Ford Madox Ford. Only one person submitted a classic, but it’s a lovely one for reading on a cold night, all warm and cozy in front of the fire.

Heather from Age 30+ … A Lifetime of Books submitted Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë. If you’re like me, whenever you think of Wuthering Heights you think of Heathcliff. I also tend to think of dark and glowering brows, too! Heather has included a great detailed list of the cast of characters that does a wonderful job of refreshing your memory about this classic if it’s been a while since you’ve read it.

Fantasy

There’s something about a good fantasy that gives that old favorite one an edge when it comes to being a comfort read. I think it’s because the world you dip into is so different and all-encompassing (with the best fantasies, anyway), that you literally are swept away for those few hours you’re re-reading.

Heather submitted as another comfort read, Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley, one of my own favorite reads. I’ve always had a fondness for retellings of the King Arthur story, and I read this when I was a teen and just adored it. Heather says, “I guess I’d have to say that if you DO find it challenging, it is VERY worth the effort you put into it. For me, this is a “must read” for just about everyone.” And I agree totally!

Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series is another series I turn to in my own comfort reading, so I was pleased to see it showing up in the submissions. Zee at Notes from the North recommends listening to the Dragonsinger series in audio, which sounds like a great idea. Jemi at Just Jemi has also included the Pern series in her list of comfort reads, and I am in complete agreement with her! I recently bought the first three books in the series in ebook format, so that I’ll always have them to dip into.

Zee also includes in her list a fantasy series by David Eddings, the Belgariad and Mallorean series; I’ve read a few books by Edding, and she’s reminded me it’s time for a revisit.

Jackie at Literary Escapism submitted three urban fantasy books that sound like fantastic reads; I haven’t read any of them, and have added them to my list. There’s Friday Night Bites, by Chloe Neill, a novel about the Chicagoland vampires, and Destined for an Early Grave, by Jeaniene Frost, another novel about vampires. And I’ve had the Riley Jensen series, by Keri Arthur, on my list for a while now; the latest installment, Bound to Shadows, sounds so good.

Sheila, from One Person’s Journey Through a World of Books, picks The Three Sisters Trilogy, by Nora Roberts as her comfort reads; I haven’t read very many books by Nora Roberts, but as soon as I read Sheila’s post, I immediately added these books to my list – I love the concept of three independent women who are all witches. In her email to me, Sheila wrote, “These three books are favorites of mine and are always a “go to” series if I need to just sink into characters that are like old friends to me. Even talking about them now makes me want to go visit them between the pages of these books.”

Mysteries

There’s nothing more perfect than curling up with a good mystery, and with the passage of time, I find that my memory of exactly whodunnit has dimmed enough for old favorites to be just as enjoyable as they were the first time I read them.

For Aarti, at Booklust, Footsteps in the Dark, by Georgette Heyer, is a favorite read. She says, “Footsteps in the Dark is a thriller mystery of the first order, complete with secret passageways, priest holes, skeletons and a cowled monk.” She definitely has me sold on this one! I’ve never read a Georgette Heyer, and one of her mysteries seems like a good place to start.

Candace, at Beth Fish Reads, submitted a book from one of my new personal favorites: the Hamish Macbeth series by M.C. Beaton. In her review of Death of a Travelling Man, she notes that she started this series in audio mainly because of the narrator, Davina Porter. Candace likes to read her series in order, but I tend to grab hold of whatever I can find; I seem to have started the series at the opposite end, and the majority of the ones I’ve listened to have been narrated by Graeme Malcolm. I like Porter’s narration a bit better, but Malcolm does some great accents.

Zee’s picks include J.D. Robb’s In Death series. This is a series I’ve been meaning to read for a while; Zee writes, “This series makes me laugh and the characters feel very real …”

And I’m very glad Jemi included Agatha Christie in her list. She says, “Agatha Christie’s mysteries are kind of like chocolate for me,” and that’s such a perfect description of how the Christie books feel to me, too. My memory isn’t as good as Jemi’s, though – I’ve been rereading Christie in audio, and I find that I’ve forgotten who the culprit is in most of the novels!

Children’s Books

The books I read as a child will always hold a special place in my heart; one of the first things I did as a “real grown-up” holding down a job (ie finally having a bit of money to spend) was to start buying copies of all the old favorites that I’d borrowed time and again from the library when I was little.

I grew up with Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery, so I was so glad to see that Jessica, of The Bluestocking Society, and Jemi both chose Anne Shirley as one of their favorite comfort reads. I have read and reread the whole Anne of Green Gables series so many times, I can quote whole sections from the book. Jemi writes, “As a shy, serious girl, I wanted to be Anne’s friend.” I could have written that! I remember wishing I knew someone like Anne, too; the term “kindred spirits” will always hold a special place in my heart.

Jemi also includes The Hobbit in her list of comfort reads – another one of my favorites! I couldn’t decide whether to put this under Fantasy or children’s books, but since I’ll always associate The Hobbit with childhood, I decided this was the proper place for it. (I read The Hobbit long before any of other The Lord of the Rings books.)

Food Writing

There’s something just so comforting to me about reading about food; I go on occasional food-writing splurges, during which time I’ll read nothing but food writing. I also come out of these splurges with a few extra pounds, I think, because one thing about good food writing – it makes you hungry!

Margot, of Joyfully Retired, has submitted a book that’s one of my personal favorites: Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen, by Laurie Colwin. As Margot points out, “Her tone is strictly conversational – just as if you are sitting in her kitchen talking about food.” That’s what makes this book such a charming book for me; I loved Margot’s example of having a conversation with the author as she was reading it!

General Fiction

A lot of the books in my own comfort reading pile fall into a general, non-genre category. When I look at them, I see that a charming, cozy feel is a common element.

I loved Jessica’s review of 84, Charing Cross Road, by Helene Hanff. This is a book that has long been on my “I really want to read that” list, and her review is a good reminder that I really do need to get to it.

Amy, from Amy Reads Good Books, submitted Trouble, by Kate Christensen. I’ve never read any novels by Christensen, but Amy’s caught my attention with this: “it was a thoughtful meditation on how we do or do not bounce back from trauma as we age.” Another interesting book!

Jackie at Farm Lane Books has chosen The Nutmeg Tree by Margery Sharp as her comfort read – Sharp’s books are out of print, but she was lucky enough to find three of them! Ever since I read Jackie’s review of The Nutmeg Tree, I’ve been on the lookout for books by Sharp. They sound like the perfect comfort read.

Myrthe, at The Armenian Odar Reads, submitted The Chosen, by Chaim Potok. This is a lovely review; she writes, “It is the one book that still makes me cry all through the last chapter, a book that I immediately want to start again when I finish it.” I haven’t read The Chosen yet; it sounds like such a beautiful coming-of-age story.

I was also thrilled to see that Melanie, at The Indextrous Reader, submitted Alexander McCall Smith: “My version of comfort reading must always include Alexander McCall Smith,” she says in her post. Me too! She has great things to say about both the Mma Ramotswe series and the Scotland Street series. I haven’t yet fallen under the allure of the Mma Ramotswe series yet, but McCall Smith’s Scotland Street and Isabel Dalhousie series are both very near and dear to me.

Melanie also submitted The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets, by Eva Rice. The title is so charming. Melanie writes, “Full of eccentric English characters, revealing social conditions, ancient houses, True Love, teatime and Selfridge’s, I greatly enjoyed this lovely and unusual novel.” I think it will be one I’ll enjoy too.

Finally, Meg’s review of The Sugar Queen, by Sarah Addison Allen, at Write Meg is so enticing; this is another book I’m adding to my burgeoning list of books to get my hot little hands on. Meg calls The Sugar Queen a “seriously delightful, magical story”, and reading her review, it sounds absolutely charming and whimsical, with dashes of mystery and magic.

This ends the Comfort Reads edition of the Bookworms Carnival! I hope you’ve rediscovered some old favorites in this list, and perhaps added a few to your list that you haven’t read before.

Play along with us! What are some of your comfort reads?

42nd Bookworms Carnival: Comfort Reads

bookwormcarnival

MsBookish is hosting the 42nd Bookworms Carnival! The topic? One that is near and dear to my heart: comfort reads.

What are the books you turn to time and time again? The ones with which you love to snuggle up in your favorite armchair, steaming mug of hot chocolate or tea by your side? I’d love to hear about them!

If you have a review of a favorite comfort read, or a post talking about some of your favorite comfort reads, and why you love them, please send me your link to be included in this edition of the Bookworms Carnival.

Due to a few email glitches, this post is going up a little late – if you could spread the word about the Comfort Reads Bookworms Carnival, that would be great, too!

The current submission deadline for this edition of the Bookworms Carnival is November 27.