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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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?