Comfort Reading

Comfort Reading

Charlie Brown and friends

As the dark nights grow colder the temptation is to settle down in front of the fire with a good book and a hotMy Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell drink. There is something comforting in that image and we all aspire to being that person – as long as we can defer the intrusions from TV and family life, not to mention Christmas shopping and preparations as the Big Day draws nearer!

Recently I have been asking around to see if there are particular books that we return to again and again. Books that signify comfort, relaxation and ‘ME’ time or books that bring back good memories, even perhaps from our childhood.

So far I have heard about a vast range of books- from the Narnia Books, humorous poetry by Spike Milligan, classics like The Christmas Carol and Pilgrims Progress to less obvious titles which have a more personal significance to some. Inspirational autobiographies such as Michelle Obama’s Becoming or books that tells a story from another era or a foreign land – like My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell or Wheels Within Wheels by Dervla Murphy.
Wheels within Wheels by Dervla Murphy
I am fascinated by how differently we can each see the same book. To me Narnia is a magical world of talking animals, Turkish Delight, the White Witch and of course Aslan but to someone else who I was speaking to recently it was a story of Kings and Queens, of war The Chronicles of Narnia The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewisagainst oppressed peoples and of good overcoming evil. Of course, both are equally true but if you weren’t aware of the story you would think we were talking about two different books!

Personally, for some reason, my comfort books tend to involve murder! I am not sure what that says about me – but I love returning to familiar characters and following their personal lives as they pursue murders and mystery. Elly Griffiths series featuring Ruth Galloway is aAgatha Christie A Mysterious Life by Laura Thompson big favourite and recently I have enjoyed rereading the Richard Osman - Thursday Murder Series. Easy reading, entertaining and familiar though unfortunately both these series have now ended! In my teens I read my way through Agatha Christie’s books and even now I enjoy revisiting them. The glimpse into the worlds of both Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple is as intriguing as her own backstory – you can read about it in Agatha Christie: A Mysterious Life by Laura Thompson.

When I was a student and swamped with long Reading Lists for my course, my way to relax was to pick up a Snoopy paperback to read, the quirky humour and simple world it portrayed was just what I needed at the time - easy to read and digest with a generous helping of humour on the side!

I’ve come to the conclusion that for me comfort comes with the act of reading, the dissipating of my own thoughts into someone else’s world where their lives and problems are at a comfortable distance allowing me to forget my own. I will remember where I was when I read a certain book, how I felt reading it and how enjoyable it was but there is no guarantee that I will remember much about the actual plot!

On reflection, I think that enough time has passed since I read any Peanuts/Snoopy for me to revisit the gang. I am feeling drawn back to a bit of nostalgic, comfort reading and am thrilled to discover that there are quite a few Peanut titles on our library Libby app – so Charlie Brown and Friends – here I come……

Charlie Brown and friends A Peanuts Collection by Schulz

Links to books on the Libraries NI Catalogue:


Spike Milligan  

Gerald Durrell 

Dervla Murphy 

Agatha Christie : a mysterious life by Laura Thompson

Peanuts books


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