What do you read for comfort?

You're tired. You just want to relax with something dear and familiar. What book do you pick up?

I have several beloved favorites that I go back to again and again over the years when I just need to read something I know I'll like. Some of them are great literature, some most definitely are not. They don't have to be, not when I want a book that I'll sigh and snuggle into for a time.

In no particular order:

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

"A Mixture of Frailties" or "World of Wonders" by Robertson Davies -- great brain food

One of the Narnia books.

Lord of the Rings, of course, the book I'd choose if I were stranded on a desert island.

The Godfather by Mario Puzo

Almost anything Heinlein wrote in the 40s or 50s

Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur Clarke. God, I wish I could go to that world.

Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers (or any of the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, really, but this is my favorite)

Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie: she wrote hundreds of mysteries but this is the one I love to reread.

I suspect the Steig Larsson books and the Twilight books are insinuating their way onto that short list of books I go for comfort.

Some of these books I'd be happy to rave about, others I'd grin sheepishly and say, oh well. I know there's a few others that belong on this list that I'll think of as soon as I click "Submit." One more that amuses me, and will tell you more than you want to know about me: Rapid Development by Steve McConnell. Not a novel, a book about software development. But he starts each chapter with an amusing case study of how to do it wrong and concludes each chapter with a case study of how to do it right. I love reading those case studies, even though I haven't done any computer programming for years!

In fact a lot of my "comfort" books are about people doing things well. The Davies books are about the careers of an opera singer and a magician, Heinlein's characters are all super-capable. Even The Godfather is about someone doing something well -- just not something I approve of.

So, what do you turn to for comfort reading?

Terry Pratchett books. He's my go-to comfort read, to the point that when I knew a hard time was coming up, I went to Barnes and Nobles and bought six of them so I'd be ready ;-)

Anthony Trollope books.

Elle Enchanted (this book never fails to make me feel happy, and it's something I can read in one day, so if I just need to take the whole day off, this is perfect for that)

Snoopy comics ;-)

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Just off the top of my head:

The Magicians, by Lev Grossman

Dexter books, by Jeff Lindsay

Harry Potter, by JK Rowling

Stieg Larsson Trilogy

Hitchikers Guide series

Sword Art Online light novel series (not officially translated, but on Baka-Tsuki website), by Reki Kawahara

Discworld - particularly Going Postal, Making Money and Masquerade. :D

If I need comfort I always go to the schmoopy stuff. There's this one "chic lit" book I really love called "Just Friends" by Robyn Sisman. It's pretty average and very cliche, but I love it anyway. Or I go for Twilight, or Jane Eyre, or Howl's Moving Castle, or one of Kelley Armstrong's YA books. Something simple, addictive, and romantic.

I'm trying to think what I read for comfort. It's changed over time.

It includes:

The Dresden Files books

"Summer of Night" by Dan Simmons

"Good Omens" by Gaiman and Pratchett

The Harry Potter series

"Brittle Innings" by Michael Bishop

"Buddy Holly is Alive and Well on Ganymede" by Bradley Denton (out of print, but available as a free download)

The "Wearing the Cape" series by Marion Harmon

Roger Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber

What a great way of framing my favorite books. I don't buy hardcovers anymore for just anything (or expensive softcovers)...and these favorite books are among the few to get bought in nicer editions.

When I want to just read something to relax, I usually grab

"Persuasion" by Jane Austen

Anything Lord of the Rings + Hobbit

"Dandelion Wine" by Ray Bradbury

Short works /stories by Kurt Vonnegut

Graphic novels (these really are the fast and most fun junk I can read -- in particular I love reading Yotsuba&! and Skip Beat)

Video game and animation art books.

I've started looking at children's fantasy again -- including Chronicles of PRydain and Narnia.

I should check out some of the things people have mentioned, though I suspect that "comfort" reading is as individual as we individuals are. Jane Austen is definitely on my comfort read list, though "Pride and Prejudice" is the one I pick up again and again. Jim, thanks for the mention of the Amber chronicles; I read them ages ago and really liked them but never reread them. Amy, re "Howl's Moving Castle": I've only seen the wonderful Miyazaki movie. Maybe I'll check out the book.

Nice sharing all these old and dear friends with you good people.

I often go back to my old childhood favourites of:

Harry Potter

Northern Lights (totally had a crush on Lyra)

Ender's Game

Terry Pratchett

I come right here for my comfort reading. There's always something new and distracting.

I need a lot of comfort. You get a lot of reviews.

Or, I reread a favourite from my childhood like The Witch's Daughter by Nina Bawden, something by Ursula LeGuin, or the epic rabbit adventure Watership Down.

Another comfort reading I'll admit to is Sophie Kinsella's silly, quirky chick-lit. The cheerful, gentle humour reminds me not to take life too seriously.

Another one of my favorites is Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal Dreams." A believable love story with wonderful characters, tenderly depicted. Also a believable story of how a small town fights back against a huge bureaucracy. And she makes me laugh out loud. And Fiona, you reminded me, "A Wizard of Earthsea" and "Watership Down" are two others I've gone to more than once.