So, what is your comfort book?

A few days ago, I found myself at an end so loose in the evening that I was practically flapping around the premises in a state of complete panic as to what to do with myself. I had read all that I had in terms of the new arrivals on my bedside table meant to be read, twitter and facebook no longer holds the same appeal for me as it did a year or so ago and I found myself trawling through my books for, what else, something to read, anything to read. My eyes alighted on an old and much battered copy of Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat, and of course, I pounced on it in a trice, found myself a cosy corner, switched off my phone and plunged into it without a second’s thought. (I must confess, I tend to do that a lot, switch off the phone when I want to read, because those who really want to reach me urgently will find a way of doing so via the landline and the spouse’s phone. As for the rest, they’re probably trying to sell me a loan or shares, or touch on my conscience to part with funds for a home for children affected by terminal illness.)

Let me confess off the bat that this is probably the gadzillionth time that I have read Three Men in a Boat. I am ashamed to see how chewed up and battered this copy is, given it has shifted with me through three homes and from my maternal home to my marital home as a new bride. I think of it as a soul cleanser–when too much darkness and despair clutters up the soul, all I must do is read this, or any Wodehouse and I will be, to use the much abused cliche, as right as rain.

I suppose all of us have these books, these special books we turn to over and over again, books that grow richer in the re-reading, books that have seen us through the years grow up, grow old, go through various lifestages, and which remain for us, touchstones which harken back to an age we seek to grasp again. This book is my comfort book. I asked Facebook and Twitter which were the comfort books they turned to and here’s what I got.

From Facebook:

Paromita Deb Areng Anything by Louise Hay

  • Anita Menon Anything by Rosemunde Pilcher
    Vikas Vijayovich Datta Any of Wodehouse’s Mr. Mulliner collections
    Inderpreet Kaur Uppal My go to comfort book is a romance, typical M&B. The format is familiar even though the author might be Indian , US or European. It is the universal language of love and attraction. It reminds me that love is all that we need and it will be all well in the end.
    Latha Sunadh Bridget Jones because…Bridget Jones! smile emoticon
    Maryann Taylor Anything by Ruskin Bond, or Agatha Christie.
    Shantanu Bhattacharya Wodehouse, undoubtedly. Followed by Asterix.
    Priyadarshini Narendra Harry Potter, Biggles, Agatha Christie, Georgette Heyer…

Amruta Langs My go to comfort book is anything sci-fi and anything from chicken soup for the soul series… Other books being – Bridget Jones, Julia Child’s Autobiography, Julie and Julia … and many more …

  • Shunali Khullar Shroff Bridget Jones, Diary of a provincial lady, Wodehouse, Daisaku Ikeda, Asterix.
    Priyadarshini Narendra Harry Potter – the last book in the series
    Aanchal Tyagi Georgette Heyer. One book – The Grand Sophy.
    Lavanya Donthamshetty Jeeves and Wooster. Poirot. Miss Marple. Dick Francis’s early ones. Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series. Early J D Robb novels.
    Amit Bhowmick The Water-Babies by Charles Kingsley. It’s a childhood favourite of mine.
  • Mishta Roy Eva Ibbotson
    Samiya Shakir Nicholson Baker anyday – Vox or House of Holes
    Maya Jain I read Calvin and Hobbes because it never fails to cheer me up. Else romance- most historical…

Nikhil Merchant Weirdly enough it’s Harry Potter ! It’s a go-to as not only does it transport me into a fantasy world (one with which I cannot even remotely think of) but also clears my thoughts off a writers block etc.Currently reading Sidney Sheldon, need my thoughts to be twisted and become more alert. Was lagging.

  • Pinky Darius Mistry Rhonda’s The Secret one of Deepak Chopra’s books, don’t remember the name. And Arranged Marriages by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, is like a rock – whenever I’m troubled, I go through the inner recesses of my mind to recall the various women portrayed so intricately in each of her stories.
    Preeti Aghalayam Wodehouse, without a doubt. I avoid the PSmith ones (’cause I love him and wish he was real and so get very worked up and involved in the whole thing – even the Mike & PSmith school ones) and stick to Jeeves & Wooster. Or better yet, Emsworth.
    Gauri Warudi The Bhagvad Gita, it is…I almost always find my answer and tremendous solace…smile emoticon
    Dipali Taneja Joanna Trollope, The Other Family

    Anupama Srinivasulu: Any book by Nora Roberts and set in Ireland. Love the magic in the place and also love stories

    Prats Rajesh Thornbirds. Something about that romance and tragedy n yearning in the story makes me go back again n again

    Rizwana Rashid Enid Blyton my all time favourite

    Aparna Zalani Gone With the Wind and Amar Chitra Katha.
  • Sachin Kalbag I always go back to two books: Fermat’s Last Theorem by Simon Singh, and A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. Fermat’s Last Theorem is about human achievement. I don’t read it as much for the mathematics in it as for the sheer mental stSee More
    Idea Smith 1. Rachel’s Holiday – Marian Keyes
    2. Fables (graphic novel series) – Bill Willingham
    Gopinath Maninkurve: It will be Sudha Murthy’s Books about her experiences in philanthropy or Rashmi Bansal’s books. on successful entrepreneurs!
  • Sunita Thomas: Romance is my comfort read. A few good MBs and Nora Roberts I have read a dozen times.
    Anupama Srinivasulu– You should read Born in Fire if you haven’t already. Since you mentioned Ireland and Nora Roberts
    Baisali Chatterjee Dutt: The Mahabharat
    Rupa Gulab Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster. Because you can still have a sense of humour when life craps on you. Ref. early scenes at the orphanage.
    Deepali Naair: “The Prodigal Daughter” for many reasons but two chief ones! It was given to me by my school principal to read right after ICSE exams and the book reminds me of her (Mrs P Paul) and she gets all the credit for recognising the “speaker” in me. Secondly See More
    Harshikaa Udasi: Daddy Long Legs and PG Wodehouse! Jeeves never ever fails smile emoticon
    ‘Tiku Tiikuli: ‘The Witch Of Portobello’ by Paulo Coelho. There is something spellbinding in the narration and I feel close to the central character Athena. I guess it’s the quest for discovering oneself that we share. I have read it many times and found it engaging each time. It’s a personal favorite.
     Pradeeppti Guptaa:What I know for sure… by Oprah.Just such a simple book.Love to reread it.Just very calming.Love the way she wrote she has barely raised her voice more than 4 times in life. Inspiring….
    Rashmi Balakrishnan: Brian Weiss books. They lead me into a space filled with peace.
    Priyanka Pereira: Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. Its humor can brighten any dull day 
    Ridhima Sinha: A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle or What I Know for Sure by Oprah. I am really enjoying the Rosie project .. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson..

Rina Sen Goel: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett & Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson. For the first’s childlike wonder of discovery & the second’s laugh out loud moments. And for other moods, passages from The Last Mughal by William Dalrymple, for iSee More

Ranjit Rodricks: The Faraway Tree series by Enid Blyton. It’s by far the most fascinating trilogy of books I have ever read and makes for a great escape into a world of pixies, fairies, wizards and even the more human, British country side. Blyton invented worlds which existed on top of a tree and that to me, is the most fascinating thing about the books

And from Twitter:

ktens: Charlie and The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

lycfrr : The Count of Monte Christo

wisemonk: Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill

Khusboo24: Ruskin Bond

Riaan George: The Little Prince

Shuchi Singh Kalra:  Loves reading her own books.

Vikram Vaman Karve: The Importance of Living by Lin Yutang

Priyal Mahabharat and He’s Just Not That Into You

Vindhya Peddireddy: All The Light We Cannot See

Priyanka Shetty Tuesdays with Morrie and A Suitable Boy

Uma Talreja Bridget Jones’ Diary and Eat and Run

Gayatri Jayaraman Calvin and Hobbes

Aparna Jain Archies

Latha Srinivasan The Wizard of Oz, The Yellow Brick Road

Mahesh Rao Lucia by E F Benson

Pia Kahol P G Wodehouse, the Jeeves Stories

Tandoori Cutlet Pride and Prejudice, Anne of the Green Gables

Ashwin Mushran Calvin and Hobbes

Shrabonti Georgette Heyer’s The Grand Sophy, Jane Austen’s Emma

Kavitha Rao John Mortimer’s Rumpole

Kalpana Mishra Why Can’t a Man Be More Like A Cat

Manav Das The Notebook

Scrolls n Ink Eat Cake

The Mountain Girl Tintin

A Appy The Enchanted Wood and The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton

Subha C The English Patient

Fun And Frolic Korma Kheer and Kismet by Pamela Timms

Madhav The Magic Faraway Tree

Renu Dhole The Harry Potter series, Anjali Joseph’s Saraswati Park

Sachinky  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Bombay Foodie Welcome to the World Baby Girl by Fanny Flagg

Maith in Gaudynight

Sharkspeak Jeeves and Wooster

Rashmi Bansal You Can Heal Your Life by Louis Hay

Papyrus Troll The Zoya Factor and Harry Potter

Hemisha Dsilva Mad, Tinkle

iUthup Anita Nair’s Goodnight, Richmal Crompton

Cocktail Amma Persepolis, Half of a Yellow Sun

Zorba Illusions by Richard Bach

(If I’ve missed any or got anything down wrong, do let me know, was scribbling them down in a hurry as they came on my twitter TL).

The reason for compiling this? Completely selfish. To find new comfort books for me. To see what are the books other people are comforted by. And to have a list ready of books people have read and loved and go back to again and again. Of these, I realise I share the Wodehouse, the Harry Potter, the Enid Blyton, the Richmal Crompton, Bridget Jones and Jane Austen. Do you spot any of your comfort books in these lists? Tell me what your comfort book is and why. Would love to know.

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5 thoughts on “So, what is your comfort book?

  1. Brilliant compilation. I found some new books for my reading list too. Thank you.
    Other than Meditations for women , I like reading Erma Bomeback and Robert Fulghum anyday.

    Like

  2. True, every reader has a comfort book and a favorite genre. My comfort book list is full of cozy mysteries. Luckily amazon provides a lot of them for a free kindle download. I am on a staple diet of these entertaining quick reads. Great post, Kiran.

    Like

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