Sometimes embarking on a new literary journey is just too much to contemplate. Sometimes, you just need to read a known quantity, a story you love — something comfortable. Here are some of my favorite comfort reads.

Portrait of British author P G Wodehouse (1881 – 1975) holding a book and smoking a pipe with his dog perched behind him, 1960s. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The Works of P.G. Wodehouse

Funny, charming, silly — and assuming you’re not worried about which of Gussie Finknottle’s girlfriends will adopt his newts — decidedly low stakes. Of course, Wooster and Jeeves are a favorite, but I also recommend the Mr. Mulliner and Blandings series.

Green Gables, PEI

Anne of Green Gables

Like nearly every middle school girl, I was enchanted by the stories of Anne Shirley. I was lucky enough to visit Prince Edward Island, and Lucy Maud Montgomery’s home, which inspired her books.

The Books of John Bellairs

Also a favorite in middle school, I was pulled in by the Edward Gorey covers (I was a Masterpiece Mystery! kid) but I stayed for the imaginative adventures. Weird, supernatural, archaeological, literary adventures.

I Capture the Castle

A delightful diary-style novel of Cassandra that chronicles her summer with older sister and eccentric parents in the English countryside. Heartwarming, funny, and touching, it never gets old.

The Moonstone

The first time I read this, I was of course focused on discovering the answer to the theft, but repeated readings bring new joy. It’s even more amazing knowing that Wilkie Collins wrote this in episodes, yet it hangs together as a pretty perfect novel.

Drawing by Maurice Sand. Engraving by Delaville.

Leone Leoni

It’s a bit melodramatic, but it’s beautifully written with sparkling descriptions. It’s short, compact, and is best read with a cup of hot cocoa.

Sidney Paget’s illustration of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson

The Sherlock Holmes stories

I absolutely never get tired of reading and rereading these stories. It’s far beyond figuring out the mysteries. It’s all about being along for the adventures with Holmes and Watson.

The Mysterious Mr. Quin

Generally, Agatha Christie’s novels are polite, quiet murder mysteries, but there is often still a fair amount tension in the air. These short stories feature a curious man who helps the other characters work through a confusing event in their past.

The Erast Fandorin novels

These are wonderfully creative Russian mysteries that mirror famous detective novels. Each is entertaining in its own way but the first remains my favorite. It’s perfection.

The Flavia de Luce novels

There are few more endearing narrators than young Miss Flavia. Amateur chemist, bicycle-rider, and eleven year-old with an attitude and she also happens to be a fantastic mystery-solver.

What are your comfort reads?

10 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Comfort Reads”

  1. You have some fantastic picks here! I have I Capture the Castle and Anne of Green Gables on my list as well. It’s so interesting, I grew up with Masterpiece Theatre as well (my parents were huge murder mystery fans, and that’s where Agatha Christie adaptations were shown) and that cover made me think of it even before I read the description! So weird how much that has stuck with me!

    1. Right!? I can recall it being Vincent Price, then Diana Rigg, hosting too.

      1. I wasn’t allowed to watch them as I was too young, so I don’t know who the hosts were, but that intro music and the scarf…. that will probably stick with me forever!

  2. I’ve only read one book by P.G. Wodehouse, I should really get into the more. And oh yes, I Capture the Castle is wonderful!

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