Is anyone else struggling with reading? I have all of this time on my hands, so in theory I should be reading a lot, but I am just not. I think part of the problem is that I gravitate toward serious reads and that is not what my mind needs right now. I thought it would be helpful for me to look back on the books that have provided me comfort in some way and maybe that will encourage me to pick up more books like that. I would also love any of your recommendations!
Notes of a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig
I would consider all of Matt Haig’s work to be comfort reads, especially his nonfiction. Haig struggles with anxiety and depression (follow him on Twitter for some helpful insight) and he shares his experiences with navigate the world. We need this now more than ever, and I have found myself flipping through the book and reading some of my favourite passages:
“The world exists in you. Your experience of the world isn’t this objective unchangeable thing called ‘The World’. No. Your experience of the world is your interaction with it, your interpretation of it. To a certain degree we all make our own worlds. We read it in our own way. But also: we can, to a degree, choose what to read. We have to work out what about the world makes us feel sad or scared or confused or ill or calm or happy.”
Raven Black by Ann Cleeves
Is it strange to find a mystery comforting? The murder in this book happens off the page, and the story is more about Shetland and its people. There is a lot of history here and everyone knows one another- there is something comforting in that. I just appreciate the tone of this book and the TV adaptation is my all-time favourite show. I really should talk this opportunity to continue on with the rest of the books in the series.
Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
No surprise here! I think a graphic novel is the perfect thing to pick up when you do not have enough room in your brain for anything too serious or lengthy. It is even better if the story itself is just so damn adorable! Just the thought of Charlie and Nick brings a smile to my face, and that is something we all need right now.
10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston
I find myself compelled to read YA contemporary in times like these. 10 Blind Dates takes place around Christmas time (Did you know that The Hallmark Channel is replaying all of their Christmas movies?), but I don’t think you need to read it in December to appreciate it. Christmas is such a small part of the story. The book tackles some heavier topics, but the way this family comes together is so delightful. Truly one of my favourite bookish families! The dates themselves range from hilarious to adorable. It was just a joy to read.
Modern Love edited by Daniel Jones
You probably know by now that I love nonfiction, but so much of what I read are difficult memoirs. I need more comforting nonfiction in my life and I would say that Modern Love qualifies. Each essay focuses on different kinds of love and each one is beautiful in it’s own right. There are some that are heartbreaking but ultimately hopeful. I would say pick this one up if you need a good cry because Modern Love will bring tears of both joy and sadness to your eyes.
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Now is the perfect time to read books with a little bit of humour in them but they can be completely hit or miss for me. Norse Mythology is exactly my sense of humour, mainly thanks to Loki. I would highly recommend the audiobook of this one as Gaiman narrates it and it is so much fun! I will never get tired of the banter between Loki and Thor.
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
I find certain historical fiction novels to be quite comforting. The one that instantly came to mind was The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. Once again, there are some darker themes, but I think the overall message of the story is incredible and this is a part of history I knew little about. I love the idea of women travelling the mountains on the back of a mule in order to provides books to people who need them. It is a reminder of the power of books and reading!
Emma by Jane Austen
Let’s be honest, I would consider all of Jane Austen’s novels to be comforting, but there is something about Emma that I think is perfect if you need something light and distracting. I just adore Emma so much- faults and all! She is such a gossip and gets herself into trouble, but that is what makes her so much fun to read about! Once you finish Emma, I would then pick up Lady Susan. It is short, told through letters, and so entertaining.