It’s mid-February, which for me is the season of comfort reading. Comfort reading is when I return to my truly beloved books, the ones I’ve already read about five times, and read them again. There’s nothing like a fond, familiar voice to get you through to springtime.
What have I re-read this month? Some of my comfort books aren’t exactly what you’d expect. None of them is particularly cozy, and I’d like to make it especially clear that none of them features a character who lives in a thatched cottage.
One of my recent re-reads is Anna Quindlen’s Rise and Shine. Maybe I just like it because it transports me so completely to New York City. And I also adore the two sisters, Meghan and Bridget, who equally support one another and knock each other down. There’s nothing sugary about the sibling relationship here. Nothing at all. Which is comforting, in its way.
Another re-read is Margaret Atwood’s Booker-Prize winner, The Blind Assassin. Another novel featuring sisters, this one is beautifully-written, intricately-constructed, and definitely goes well over the line into bitterness and tragedy. Ms. Atwood, though, tempers the unfolding of tragedy both with reminiscence and science fiction, making this book one-of-a-kind.
Finally, dear Lord Peter Wimsey is always there for me. An able representative of the Golden Age of detective stories, Lord Peter is brilliant, eccentric, and oh yes, he’s also stunningly wealthy. He’s got a passion for solving crimes, along with Bunter, his manservant sidekick; he drives a fast car; and he collects antique books. I never get tired of Strong Poison or Gaudy Night. Or any other writing by Dorothy L. Sayers, for that matter.
So let me just say this: February, I’ve got you beat. I’ve still got a big stack of favorite books, including:
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey