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
- April 5: YA Books I Think Will Become Classics Someday
- April 12: Authors I’ve Not Read Yet, But Who I Want To Read
- April 19: Bookish Merchandise I’d Love to Own
- April 26: Books with [xxx] on the Cover
- May 3: One Word Reviews for the last ten books I read
- May 10: Bookish Characters
- May 17: Books I Was SO EXCITED to Get, but Still Haven’t Read
- May 24: Book Quote Freebie
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!
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.
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.
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!
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….
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!
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!
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)