Top Ten Tuesday: Comfort Reads

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Previous Top Ten Tuesday Topics

This week we are invited to

Share which books or kinds of books you turn to when you need to escape. You can either share specific titles if you love to re-read, or you could share qualities of books you look for in a comfort read.

And, whilst I have said this more than once in the last few years, I have found myself turning to comfort reads more and more since, well, 2020! Covid may be in abeyance somehow now thanks to vaccines now and lockdowns might be a footnote in history – fingers crossed – but life still throws up its challenges.

At the moment, my eight-year old daughter who has had severe speech delay since she was two, is now showing increasing signs of social and emotional issues – increasingly hard to maintain and negotiate friendships, recognise social cues, regulate her own emotions. Half term has been a challenge! The ASC diagnostic process is currently underway and we had an ADOS assessment, but it is a long and tiring journey for her. On the positive side, though, her speech and language therapist is classing her speech sounds as age appropriate and her vocabulary as above age appropriate level – the progress she has made despite the massive barriers that that created for her is so impressive and something I am so proud of.

But, on those days when things do not go to plan, what books might I turn to for comfort. Not the thought-provoking, challenging literary gems that I also love, but those other books that whisk you away to somewhere that makes you feel safe, warm and loved.

P. G. Wodehouse, Jeeves and Wooster

Yes, I know that Wodehouse appeared on last week’s quotation list too, but it is the ultimate comfort read. The stakes are rarely higher than whether a chef will remain in your aunt’s employ or not, or whether you can escape from a betrothal born of a miscommunication. They are gloriously silly, whilst also highly literary and just sheer gems!

Casey McQuiston

McQuiston was a new author to me in 2020 with her debut Red, White and Royal Blue, the gloriously optimistic – and less raunchy than the internet had led me to believe – imagining of the son of the President of the United States’ love affair with the Princeof Wales. It says a lot that the President was a Mexican woman when in the real world we had Trump! Personally, however, I found the second novel, One Last Stop more engaging, more raunchy, more romantic, more inclusive with such a wonderful found family vibe – and yes that trope will come up again!

T. J. Klune

Continuing with found families and homosexual inclusivity, Klune was again a new find in 2020 as my mind was reaching for that comfort. Whether it is an orphanage for magical children in The House In The Cerulean Sea or the afterlife in Under the Whispering Door, Klune’s novels are tender, charming and flow with love.

Natasha Pulley

Pulley has been a firm favourite of mine since reading The Watchmaker of Filigree Street and her novels ooze with charm, and are populated with vividly realised and empathetic people. She also has a tendency to populate her novels with neuroatypical characters which chimes with me at the moment. My review of her latest, The Half-Life of Valery K is scheduled for Wednesday.

Ben Aaronovitch

Fantasy is a go-to comfort genre for me, and there is much fantasy in Pulley’s time cheating shenanigans. Aaronovitch, too, mixes the fantastical with the police procedural in his Rivers of London series where the rivers of London are personified into physical deities with their own personalities and rivalries, amongst the many magical threats and creatures that secretly share our world. The most recent, Among Our Weapons is sitting on my TBR right now!

Brandon Sanderson

Speaking of fantasy, there is one author who is wholly reliable to create a convincing, engaging fantasy world with differing magic systems, epic narrative arcs, potent characters and a mind-blowing interconnectedness, and that it Sanderson. An author for those times when you just need to be elsewhere, whether that be in the choked cities of the Mistborn series, in the epic stony tempest-tossed world of Roshar, to the interstellar spaces above Detritus….

Becky Chambers

Oh look, this is a chance to return to the comfort of the found family trope: Becky Chambers’ Wayfarers Series is found family set in space – for all its space opera setting, this is essentially the story of people learning to be people and to care for one another. Wonderful! I am very excited to have her new series to delve into as well!

Susan Hill, Simon Serrailler

For the final parts of this list, we move from fantasy to crime and Susan Hill’s Simon Serrailler series are exceptional – not for the plotting or the intricacies of the investigations, but for the domesticity and personal life of its eponymous hero, and his sister and parents and the wider community of Lafferton. By now, these novels are like a return home. It is perhaps a series I came to for the crime and stayed because of the soap opera of the characters’ lives.

Mick Herron, Slough House

Not that dissimilar to my enjoyment of the found family trope comes the Slough House espionage series – Slough House being where the rejects and misfits, the drunks and failures of MI5 are dispatched to see out their days. They do form a found family of a sort – a rather dysfunctional sort to be fair, but still with an incredible loyalty to each other even if they don’t particularly like each other!

Belinda Bauer

I came across Bauer’s Snap when it was nominated for – I think – the Women’s Prize and it balanced charm with crime. And what does not offer more comfort than crime novels at the end of the day: wrongs are righted and justice is achieved. And when married to characters with charm, it works well, nad got even better with Exit. I just wish she had better names!

Richard Osman

And finally in exactly the same mode as Bauer, Richard Osman’s octogenarian sleuths, dodging the shadow of Alzheimers and frailty as much as serial killers and spies, combine both charm and crime too

So there we have it, a number of authors (did I reach 11 this week?) who I do delve into as my comfort reads. And the same words come up time and again when talking about these: charm, camaradie, family…. those places we go to to feel loved and content!

I cannot wait to read your comments and additions!

Upcoming Top Ten Tuesday Themes

June 7: Books With a Unit of Time In the Title (seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, eternity, etc.) (Submitted by RS @ The Idealistic Daydream)
June 14: Books I Wish Had An Epilogue
June 21: Bookish Wishes (List the top 10 books you’d love to own and include a link to your wishlist so that people can grant your wish. Make sure you link your wishlist to your mailing address [here’s how to do it on Amazon] or include the email address associated with your ereader in the list description so people know how to get the book to you.)
June 28: Books On My Summer 2022 To-Read List
July 5: Most Anticipated Books Releasing In the Second Half of 2022
July 12: Book Covers That Feel Like Summer (Submitted by Ellie @ Curiosity Killed the Bookworm)
July 19: Freebie (Come up with your own topic!)
July 26: Books From My Past Seasonal TBR Posts I STILL Haven’t Read (Submitted by Dedra @ A Book Wanderer)

28 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Comfort Reads”

      1. That sort of thing is bound to be shocking! I hope things can only improve from it though? I actually have Red, White, and Royal Blue, but maybe I’ll have to grab One Last Stop to try first, aha!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I love your list! I’ve only read one Becky Chambers book but it made it on my list today as well. I also love Sanderson and of course, the ultimate comfort read that is The House in the Cerulean Sea. 😍 So good!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t read Becky Chambers -yet. I plan to this summer!!! I am really excited because I hear so many rave reviews about her books. I am glad to see Sanderson on here! Klune is an absolute comfort!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your daughter is lucky to have you. Even though her speech delays are hard for both of you, I know she’ll appreciate (if she doesn’t already) the love and support you’ve given and continue to give her and she navigates this trial. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree with you about needing comfort in the past few years. For me, that has been found in books in general (maybe part of the reason I struggled with this week’s topic). When I hit a really low point last year, I turned to women’s fiction (more comedy than romance, though) and cozy mysteries. Something in them made me feel better and let me laugh when I didn’t feel like it.

    Pam @ Read! Bake! Create!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sometimes we need comforting and escapist reading to balance out life! I do love what I’ve read of Chambers, and I still have to read her latest couple- I’m looking forward to those!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I absolutely love Red, White & Royal Blue! I have One Last Stop on my TBR but I haven’t gotten to it yet. I also love both The House In The Cerulean Sea & Under The Whispering Door – excellent comfort reads. And you have a few authors on here that I have yet to try but really want to, like Brandon Sanderson (not sure how I haven’t read him yet!).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow – there are lots of authors here that are new to me and I must now go research. I agree about Klune – just read those 2 books this year and they can indeed be a comfort read. I read Sanderson’s Mistborn, but then stopped – I may need to revisit him. Then, your descriptions of the other authors you mention – I particularly love the found family trope myself, so will definitely check those out but I’m also a big fan of crime/mystery, so you got me there too. I’m going to be busy!! See what you think of my list:

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What an interesting list, Michael. Jeeves & Wooster could really be in every household and The Rivers of London series is great, I absolutely love it though I usually don’t care much for fantasy or crime stories.

    And Richard Osman, I absolutely love the guy but have only read his first one so far. I’m sure I’ll also read the next one.

    Thanks for visiting my TTT this week which is a little different.


  9. Although I know it must be difficult for you, I want you to know reading about your daughter helps others. My granddaughter is speech delayed. She’ll be three in September and started speech therapy this past January. I’m the one that takes her due to being her sitter on the days she has therapy. It can be frustrating (as I’m sure you know). Two steps forward and one step back sometimes. Your daughter’s progress gives me the hope I sometimes need on bad days. So thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thank you so much for those kind words! I do hope your granddaughter makes progress too – it is frustrating and can be heartbreaking! Our Speech and Language therapist suggested signing and Makaton and when we went ‘Good idea, do you have any resources?’ just looked at us blankly! I taught myself BSL to then teach her, which she picked up very quickly. When she went to school at 5 – we backyeared her – she only had a spoken vocabulary of about 5 words, but a signing vocabulary of 75 or so!


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