I have had a bit of a rubbish time lately, and it made me think about my favourite books to read when I’m feeling down. These are what I call my ‘comfort’ books – books that I can escape into, no matter how I’m feeling. They tend to be books I’ve read countless times, so they’re very familiar. I’d love to know if any of you do this too (I’m sure you do!)
Bridget Jones’ Diary & Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding
I’m really not one for chick lit. But I absolutely love the Bridget Jones books – they are funny and honestly just make me really happy (even when Bridget is down…). The same with the films, even with Hugh Grant playing the same character as he always does. I also like these books because Bridget is a very real character. She is a woman in her early thirties, unmarried, worrying about her body, appearance and lack of a husband, but she still enjoys life. She has real problems: trying to quit smoking, losing weight, unsuccessful flirting/dates. Yet everything that goes wrong for Bridget only works to make the books funnier – even when she gets thrown into prison in Thailand for (unknowingly) trying to smuggle drugs out of the country.
The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
A very unsurprising entry, I’m sure. Harry Potter is a series that I have grown up with – and quite literally with the films. When the first film came out, I was eleven, so the same age as Harry, Ron and Hermione. Despite being about magic, it’s such an accessible series because it’s set in our world, and you could easily imagine that there really is this secretive, magical side of our world (I know they are, it’s just a trick for the Muggles, okay?). And I’ve read them so many times I can jump into the series at any book, any chapter and know what has already happened.
Azumanga Daioh by Kiyohoko Azuma
I don’t read anywhere near as much manga as I used to, the same for anime. I guess I’ve just passed that stage now – although I really want to catch up on Fairy Tail, I got to episode 131 and now it must be around 160. However, I do still have a couple of boxsets and book series, Azumanga Daioh being one of them. A short series about an incredibly intelligent eleven year old who skips several grades, and her high school friends, it is portrayed through four-panel comics. It is sweet and funny, and I can read/watch it again and again. If you’re not a particular anime/manga fan, but perhaps were interested in watching or reading some, this would be the series I’d recommend – it doesn’t start you off in the deep end.
The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
This might be an odd choice for a ‘comfort’ book, since it’s a rather hefty volume (or three). But I’ve read The Lord of the Rings so many times – each book at least once a year since I was ten, and I am twenty-two next week – that I can pick it up anywhere and know what’s going on. There’s just something about escaping to Middle-earth that makes me feel better. And what problems of mine could be worse that what Frodo is facing? 😉 I am guessing that I have read The Fellowship of the Ring the most, judging by its condition… it is falling apart. I played Lord of the Rings Online for a year or so (although I haven’t played since about May or June), and the most exciting part of the game for me was exploring this world that I’d read so much about. I don’t want to uninstall the game, even though I never play, just so I know that I can go and explore Middle-earth if I feel like it. Naturally, my main character is a hobbit…
What are your favourite ‘comfort’ books?