What Books Do You Consider Comfort Reads?

The snowy weather last week prompted a lot of discussions on Twitter and Facebook about the best book to curl up with on a snow day. But it wasn’t until I read this great post on Girls Gone Reading that I realized there’s a name for books like these: comfort reads. I love it! Everyone always talks about comfort food (mmm…. mashed potatoes), but I think books can be comforting as well.

The thing is, I think everyone’s idea of a comfort read is different. I started making a list of my comfort reads and the first thing I realized is that a lot of mine are mysteries. Is that because I grew up on a steady diet of Nancy Drew, Encyclopedia Brown, and Scooby Doo? Maybe. I think it’s also because in mysteries the line between the good guys and the bad guys is usually pretty clear (unlike real life) and they generally have a happy ending where the criminal is busted. I don’t really want a book that’s too predictable, but I think being reasonably sure of a happy ending is key to a comfort read. Besides mysteries, my other comfort reads are paranormal. It’s fun to get lost in a world that is different than our own.

Most of my comfort reads are also part of a series. My favorite part of reading a long running series is that you become comfortable with the characters to the point where they start to feel like old friends (I’m thinking characters like Eve Dallas, Sookie Stackhouse, Kinsey Millhone). I also think they need to be interesting, but shouldn’t demand too much brainpower. If I’m in the mood for a comfort read, I don’t want a book that requires too much concentration or that I can’t pickup and put back down easily.

Here are a few of my favorite comfort reads:

In Death (Eve Dallas) series by JD Robb – These are my ultimate comfort reads, and I tend to go on a binge and read several of them in a row (it helps that there are almost 40 books in this series). In Death has it all: mystery, romance, a cool setting, and awesome characters. Plus, Eve Dallas always catches the bad guy.

Alphabet series by Sue Grafton – I’ve been reading this mystery series since I was in high school and I’ve got a lot of love for private eye Kinsey Millhone. Details like Kinsey’s love of junk food, her low-maintenance approach at clothes and grooming (she trims her hair with nail scissors), her octogenarian friends, and the 1980s setting remain the same from book to book. I always feel comfortable spending some time in Kinsey’s world.

Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris – After ten books, Sookie has become one of my favorite heroines.

The Hollows (Rachel Morgan) series by Kim Harrison – The plots of these books are very complex (and Rachel’s life is very messy), but I consider this series a comfort read because I’ve become so attached to the characters.

The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer – This series is unique in that it reminds me of what it was like to be a teenager. I read a lot of YA books, but only these have transported me back to me younger days so vividly. For that reason, I can read them over and over again.

So what are your favorite comfort reads? Mysteries? Romances? Classics? Please share in the comments.

Follow me on Twitter @kristendaemons

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