Discussion: What Makes a Comfort Read?

Lately I’ve been craving my favourite comfort reads. For me, comfort reads are those books that bring a contented smile to my face, and most importantly, stand up to multiple re-reads. Usually they’re also low on angst, but I do enjoy some comfort reads that punch you right in the feels — because having read them before, I know how everything’s going to work out. And when things are a bit up in the air in reality, it’s nice to have some certainty with fiction!

My comfort reads almost always feature wily women, snappy dialogue, and an immersive setting; they’re the kinds of stories that transport you away and delights with their cleverness. But I don’t limit my comfort reads to fluff — I find that thrills and chills can pull me away from the trials and tribulations of life just as well. So long as none of my favourite characters die, of course…but that’s where the beauty of the re-read comes in! There’s no way I could consider a book a comfort read without having read it before, because the memory of a happy reading experience is key to determining whether a book can make the cut.

From traditional fantasy to historical mysteries, paranormal romance to thrillers, here are some of my all-time favourite comfort reads:

Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce

Wannabe spy Aly is tasked with protecting two politically important mixed-race noblewomen in return for her freedom. Spies, magic, and a crow dude.

Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs by Molly Harper

Former children’s librarian gets turned into a vampire in small-town Kentucky. Need I say more?

City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong

Detective with a dark past moves to off-the-grid town in the stark Canadian wilderness. Grisly murders, amazing atmosphere, and a hot local sheriff.

Soulless by Gail Carriger

Lady without soul meets werewolf without manners. Several people are beaten with a parasol.

A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

Veronica Speedwell studies butterflies, tropical climates, and the male form. Teams up with a hunky taxidermist to solve Victorian-era crime.

Act Like It by Lucy Parker

For two actors, it’s hate at first sight until “dating” becomes a PR necessity. British humour, swoons.

Having listed out all my favourites, I’m actually surprised to see how many of them I read before I started blogging. Clearly I need to do some more re-reading in 2018, because I believe in a steady rotation of new-to-me comfort reads!

Are you a comfort reader? What types of stories do you reach for when you’re feeling under the weather — or when it’s simply too cold to function? I have to know! Is it just me, or are there certain characteristics that a book must possess for it to be considered a comfort read? Or are you the sort of reader who prefers to discover new stories rather than re-read? I’d love to discuss with you!

Let me know how you choose comfort reads and what some of your favourite comfort reads are in the comments!