Top 10 Comfort Reads for Top Ten Tuesday
Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl sponsors this weekly gathering of bookish blogs that love a good list and she has been providing weekly prompts since 2018! This week the topic is to share specific books or genres or the qualities of books we look to for a comfort read. That's pretty wide open!
Since I don't reread books, I think I'd define a comfort read for me as genre or author based. For years and years my go-to genre has been mysteries. I've read hundreds and hundreds and only in the last 5+ years or so have I really made a dedicated effort to expand to other genres. But, my comfort read is still a good mystery - strong, believable characters and one with a good twist is always appreciated!
So I put together this list of some of my fave comfort reads - and if I were a re-reader, I'd read all these again!
The first in an excellent series set in Rockton, a tiny town in remote Canada that is totally off-the-grid. That means no power, no internet or phones. The residents live in cabins and all have something to hide. The town has a sheriff (Dalton) who was raised in Rockton but when a murder occurs, he needs a detective. Casey, a NY detective, and her best friend need a place to hide and are accepted as residents of Rockton. City of the Lost review here.
I wondered how there could be enough crime to keep a sheriff, deputy and detective busy in such a small town. That's part of the genius of these stories - the creative way to introduce a murder each installment. I like all the continuing characters, but particularly Casey and Dalton and their quiet but growing love. I like how Armstrong didn't drag the attraction phase of the relationship out over many books - I find that tiresome. A great series (6 books I think?) and recommend you try it.
Award winning author Louise Penny is an excellent mystery writer and I love her Inspector Gamache series, also set in Canada. She has created a cast of fully realized characters, both on the police force and the citizens of another small town, Three Pines. Still Life is the beginning of the series and my review is here.
I enjoy the detailed research she does for each book as every murder has a different setting - from a remote monastery to historic Quebec City, from an artist to a close friend. In addition to solving the crime, Inspector Gamache is plagued by political maneuverings from higher in the police department. Through it all he remains calm, thoughtful, caring.
These cozy mysteries (never graphic violence) are complex and full of delightful characters that I enjoy getting to know.
Thirteen is the fourth in the Eddie Flynn lawyer series. I love a good courtroom drama, like John Grisham used to write. The unusual character of Flynn makes this series stand apart for me. He's a former conman turned attorney and uses all his wily ways to win his cases, without crossing the line.
This one can be read as a standalone, but each is totally worth reading on its own merit.
I've read 28 of Harlan Coben's 33 books and he's definitely one that I would choose for comfort reading. His books are quick reads but very satisfying. His long running series star is Myron Bolitar, a sports agent that seems to become embroiled in all sorts of mayhem.
He also has many standalones, which makes it easy to find a good mystery if you don't want to commit to a series.
Looking back, I see I haven't reviewed anything from this author - a mistake I'll have to rectify!
Another excellent detective series is this one featuring Dismas Hardy, former cop and lawyer, and Abe Glitsky, a police detective. This book is the first of the series, and not the strongest by any stretch. But it does a great job of setting the background and creating a strong character in Hardy. Again, if you don't want to commit to a new series, I get it. Try one of his standalones, like Suspect. I count this author as a 'comfort read' all the way because his characters are endlessly interesting and the books often have a strong mystery at their core but also have some legal drama and good dialog. Win, win, win.
Honorable Mention Authors I return to again and again: Karin Slaughter, Michael Connelly, Jeffery Deaver, Jane Harper, Attica Locke
OTHER GOOD STUFF........IN OTHER WORDS, MISCELLANEOUS
A historical fiction entry, but she writes mostly in general fiction. I've only read a few but she quickly became a go-to author and her books have such complexity of feeling and plot that I feel like I could reread them all.
The Nightingale is a superb example of her writing - it gives all the feels: suspense, tension, tragic, loving, teary and more. I love a book that can evoke that much response!
I'm relatively new to the fantasy genre but have discovered that I really enjoy it. Jemisin is one of my fave fantasy authors and I could/should reread her books. They are ambitious and filled with amazing characters and the world building is just remarkable.
This trilogy in particular is a favorite and I've recommended it many times, and I'll do so again now.
I have been a Koontz fan for years and years. I've read 40 of his 130+ books and while some of his more recent ones have not been my favorites, I continue to appreciate his creativity and writing style.
Like many of his books, a dog figures prominently. In this case an ultra intelligent and telepathic dog forms a connection with an autistic boy. This connection creates a dramatic change for the boy which allows him to work with the dog to save his mom and himself from a crazed killer.
These are the two books I've read by Setterfield and I could NOT put them down. These could definitely be on my reread list because they are just endlessly fascinating and engrossing. A gentle fairytale with a bit of magic, and a Victorian style novel of an author depending upon her assistant.
Smart, entertaining, totally satisfying stories that you're sure to love.
Honorable Mention Authors I will read whatever they write: William Kent Krueger, Christopher Moore for his twisted humor, Patrick Ness (fantasy), Kate Quinn (historical fiction)
I can't wait to see other book bloggers with their lists of comforting reads. One of the things I love about this list/topic format is that they are pretty open to interpretation and it's fund to see how other bloggers interpret the prompt.
What's your idea of a comfort read? Do you reread books?