I am a creature of habit. I can’t help it – I find it incredibly comforting to know that certain things in my life will follow specific patterns barring an act of God or LB.
For example, Mondays and Thursdays are the days I wash my hair.((Any more frequently and it turns into a giant frizzy mess. Not pretty.)) Wednesday is my day to get breakfast at WholeFoods and read for an hour before work. Saturday tradition is, well, tradition. Friday is my day that I make the DreadBrewer loose leaf tea instead of a bag and an egg sandwich if I’m feeling particularly loving.
Well, you get the picture. I like familiarity.
So it should come as no surprise then that I have a shelf of books that I turn to – over and over and over again – when I need the familiarity and comfort of an old friend. And when I say over and over and over, I’m not exaggerating. Some of these books have probably been read at least 20 times, if not more.
I thought that I’d tell you all a few of my favorite authors and books so that you can perhaps fall in love like I have. I will warn you now – I’m a really big fan of sword and sorcery (well, I’ve never been to a Comicon or anything) but that genre definitely comprises 99.9% of my comfort shelf. ((And yes, I know it’s technically comfort SHELVES. That doesn’t sound as poetic as shelf.))
Authors that are really good and you should try:
- Anne Bishop – Perhaps a little dark for most people. Or sordid. Or racy. Or all three…
- Diana Gabaldon – I kid you not when I tell you that I loved her books so much that I read each one at least twice before I moved on to the next in the series. All 700 pages or so of every novel. At least twice. And it wasn’t an onerous task at all.
- Mercedes Lackey – Not on my comfort shelf, but on my comfort kindle.But only the Tales of the 500 Kingdoms or the Joust series or the Elemental Masters.
- Juliet Marillier – I love all of her stuff that I’ve ever read.
Two of the authors on my shelf deserve special mention: Tamora Pierce and Sharon Shinn.
Tamora Pierce is technically a young adult author. Yes her books are sold in the YA section and yes they are printed in a stupidly large font and yes they may be a little (well a lot) below my “reading level.” But I have loved them since I was 10 or 11 and turn to them time and time again. (I will say her more recent stuff – Trickster’s Choice, for instance – is much more sophisticated than her earlier stuff. But it’s all good.) The Immortals Quartet is awesome. The Lioness Series is amazing. Everything you need in short, easy-reading packages: magic, animals, a little bit of romance, adventure, fantastic creatures. These books are even better if you have a tween in your life and you’d rather discuss something slightly more wholesome than Twilight.
Sharon Shinn, I love you. I have no idea how I stumbled onto the first book of hers that I read (Mystic and Rider) but I am so glad that I did. The Twelve Houses series (of which Mystic and Rider is the first) are my absolute favorite books of all time. I’ll be carrying one or the other of them around with me and the DreadBrewer will incredulously ask me, “You’re reading that again!?!?” But I can’t help it; I love them. I’ve just started on the series starting with Archangel and I love them too. If you only try one book out of all the books and all the authors that I am recommending, try Mystic and Rider.
But as much as I love comfort, I will say that I wouldn’t be averse to finding new authors to love. ((I get slightly paralyzed at the library by the prospect of picking out the “wrong” book. Silly, I know, but it does influence my tendency to go with tried-and-true.)) Particularly if they would make great additions to my comfort shelf and stand up to the scrutiny of 20+ perusals. So who is your favorite author? Feel free to leave a comment and tell me whom I have to read next!