This post by Liz Bourke at tor.com makes some choices that seem strange to me.
Like, Chalion? Okay, check, the Chalion series by LMB could count as comfort reads. I can understand that.
But, STAY by Niccola Griffith? It’s a very intense book. That whole series is very intense. I loved it, oddly particularly the middle book, which I have re-read several times. But it is so not a comfort read.
Of course, carefully reading Liz Bourke’s post, I see that she doesn’t exactly consider that one a comfort read, exactly.
Anyway, I totally agree with this bit:
Rereading a familiar book is like revisiting that first great escape, that sense of liberation, without any of the apprehension that can attend on reading a novel for the first time. (Will it be any good? Will I like it? Will terrible things befall these characters I’ve come to care about? With a reread, all these questions are already answered.)
Yes, sometimes that is indeed exactly what you want.
For me, LMB’s Sharing Knife series fits the bill for a comfort read more than any of her other works. If I’ve got a cold or the flu, it’s one I’m particularly likely to reach for, and how could you better define a comfort novel? And Shinn’s Elemental Blessings novels, those are quintessential comfort reads for me. And, yes, in fact, The Goblin Emperor, which I have already gone back to and it only came out last year. Oh, Andrea Host’s Touchstone trilogy! That’s a comfort read now, particularly the Gratuitous Epilogue, which was warm and fuzzy even the first time I read it.
On the other hand, Ancillary Justice, no. I will probably re-read that series from the top next year when the third book comes out, and I will enjoy it, but not as comfort reads in any sense.
I will also almost certainly wait till Wexler’s series is finished and then re-read from the top, because I was just thinking the other day about how much I am looking forward to re-reading The Thousand Names. But even though I will be happily confident that everything will in fact work out in the first book, I won’t consider that a comfort read, either. Though I will totally enjoy it. A word of warning: I saw somewhere that the third book ends on a cliffhanger. Hence waiting for the fourth.
How about you? Comfort reads versus books that you definitely enjoy re-reading but would NOT consider comfort reads?