When the world isn’t the right way up, comfort reads give me that little window of time in which to pretend it is! Here’s an eclectic mix of some great, shortish books, which have helped me escape when I’ve needed it most.
Kitchen is a Japanese, classic, coming-of-age story which deals with love, loss, and hope. The protagonist tries to make sense of a life where loss has dogged her at every turn. She finds solace in food, the beauty of nature, and a slow budding romance. Written in sparse, poetic prose, Kitchen shines a light on human fragility and resilience.
Weather touches on contemporary fears but doesn’t leave you feeling weighed down. The story is narrated by a librarian and is told in paragraphs instead of chapters, so it’s rather like a long, meandering conversation. There are lots of ideas and musings along the way, and humour, too!
I loved the easy rhythm of this tale for teens. The main character is non-binary, and the story, while infused with magic and wonder, also addresses the reality of being marginalised and feeling unseen. New friends prove to be the balm. As Iris, Babs, and the new boy at school connect with nature and each other, they start to heal and come into their own. A book to dip into when real life gets too wearing.
Japanese writers have an unerring ability to capture the bittersweet nature of life, and this slim volume does just that. It consists of four vignettes addressing relationship dilemmas—both romantic and familial. The story is set in an unusual basement café, one which gives you the chance to travel back in time. A story about regrets, reconciliation, and second chances, this was a touching and memorable read.
This story made me laugh out loud. Don Tillman, a socially challenged professor, thinks he knows all about love and how to find it. Figuring it can’t be that hard, he sets out to find the perfect partner. His quest leads to some very hilarious and heart-warming moments and also illuminates the challenges faced by those with Asperger’s syndrome. Quirky but fun.
What are some of your favourite comfort reads—new or old?