The Cure of a Comfort Read
Published on 11th November 2020
As the evenings grow dark and wind grows chill, your body may be craving to snuggle down, eat crisps and drink hot chocolate and your reading radar may wish to fall in with your body and crave a comfort read. The Danes have a cultural phenomenon for this reaction to oncoming winter and they call it Hygge, which literally translates as “to give courage, comfort and joy”. Now, isn’t that exactly what we need from a comfort read right now? This is why I’m recommending Kate Atkinson’s Big Sky.
This is the latest in the Jackson Brodie private detective saga. You can start anywhere in this series and all of the characters are realistic, flawed and totally believable. Atkinson shines a light into the realities of lives that have helplessly slipped through the cracks due to parental neglect and the inequalities of the English class system. But it’s not all doom and gloom! In the Dickensian tradition, sometimes, the afflicted characters are rescued by good fortune and grasp a second chance with all their might. Realistic, funny, gritty and uplifting, a winning comfort combination. Susan Steiner is in a very similar vein if you’ve exhausted the Atkinson library but want more of the same, I discovered her as Phillip Pullman recommended her on Twitter!
Another comfort read of mine is Stephen King. Having recovered his mojo in the last few years with the Mr. Mercedes trilogy he is a reliable go to. Even though the impossible and sometimes ridiculous happens, it doesn’t detract from King’s indefatigable ability to draw characters and relationships which are so plausible that the dialogue pulls you into the rhythm of their lives and has you cheering with them at every turn. I loved Doctor Sleep which tells the story of Danny Torrance as an adult. Danny is the child who survives his father's demons in the Overlook Hotel in the Shining. The book was made famous by Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation. I also love the story of how the book came about, King was doing a book signing and one of his fans asked, “whatever happened to Danny Torrance?”. This prompted him to revisit and write out Danny’s fate.
The last recommendation I’m giving is John Sandford. I actually discovered him through Danny Torrance! In Doctor Sleep Danny always reads John Sandford to relax so I looked him up and found a treasure trove of well-written and well- researched crime novels starring Lucas Davenport. Davenport is a good looking, slightly swashbuckling, Porsche driving computer programmer and ex-cop. These stories trot along at a great pace and moments featuring his friends and` family relations cushion the visits into the seedier side of crime. John Sandford (actual name John Camp) has won a Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction work.
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Submitted by E at Dolphins Barn Library.