29 May, 2013

Guilty Pleasures and Comfort Reads

Are you sitting comfortably? Image by egoforall at sxc.hu
The husband and I are just back from a 10-day holiday, travelling around the north of England by train. Despite minor inconveniences such as a flooded track delaying a journey until after the last train for the day had gone, and a fire causing us to have to move out of our Bed and Breakfast, we had fun! For various reasons we were unable to be as active on this holiday as we usually are, however, this meant we had more time for reading.

While Paul got stuck into Dune by Frank Herbert, I chose something which was pure escapism. In the last couple of years I have waded through Ulysses, War and Peace, The Grapes of Wrath and A Suitable Boy. Just before we went away I read the epic (both in scope and length) novel The Pillars of the Earth. For my holiday I wanted something easy to read - a guilty pleasure, something that wasn't high literature and didn't require a lot of concentration. I chose a collection of Agatha Christie short stories.

I love Agatha Christie. Reading her now, as an adult, I realise her actual writing style isn't all that brilliant, but I don't care. I love cosy crime and she is definitely the Queen of Cosy Crime. I used to listen to Christie audiobooks as a kid while doing jigsaw puzzles in my bedroom on wet Sunday afternoons. Reading Agatha Christie is, to me, the book equivalent of wearing pyjamas and drinking hot chocolate while snuggled up in a blanket. Pure comfort reading.

Do you have a guilty pleasure, or comfort read? Helen Walker on Twitter told me she re-reads books from her childhood as her guilty pleasure. I tend not to re-read books very often (though I promise I am getting round toThe Great Gatsby very soon now), but I can see how that might work. Which authors or books do you turn to when you want to switch-off and unwind without stretching your brain?

6 comments:

  1. Now, this is one I can answer. A lot of my reading falls into this category these days! I re-read a lot of different books including (but not limited to) Anne Mccaffery's Pern series, the Harry Potter books, some of the works of Jane Austen (currently reading P&P), Enid Blytons Famous Five/Malory Towers/Adventure/St Claires (yes, still), Agatha Christies crime novels (good choice by the way), Gervase Phinns' In The Dales series.... you get the picture.

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    1. Awwww... I regret getting rid of my Malory Towers books. Maybe I can borrow yours sometime? I haven't read any Enid Blyton for a good 15 years or so!

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  2. One of my comfort reads is 'A Gift of Wings' by Richard Bach - it's a collection of old articles and stories connected with flight, but many of them contain a philosophical or spiritual thread. And every time I dip in (train journeys are especially good for this), I recall when I first read the book, travelling to and from Manhattan, a lifetime ago, living the American Dream!

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    1. I think comfort reading can be a lot about nostalgia. I have quite a few memories associated with certain books. 'A Gift of Wings' sounds lovely.

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  3. My old friend William Brown (Just William) is my choice. Brings back memories of happy hours spent losing myself in his wonderful, imaginative world as a boy!

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    1. Oh I LOVE Just William! I want to live like he does, forever.

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