Comfort reading is a very broad concept to me. I never realised this. Last year (I cannot believe it has been almost a year already!) when I was in Sweden, alone and homesick those first few weeks, I read YA book after YA book, until I became so fed up with them that I never bothered to review them all. Young Adults books can be real pleasures, but reading too many at a time can have them become predictable, especially if, like I did, you concentrate on only vampire-ish fiction.
After that, I became slightly obsessed with Jane Eyre. I guess that mood lasted. I cannot help but feel lately that all I wish to do is reread Jane Eyre. But this is the thing with blogging, it makes you keep track of your reading. And ever since I started writing about what I read, I want to keep doing that – even if I am rereading a book. But can I really reread Jane Eyre when it has been only eight months since I read it twice, or wait a minute, three times in a row?
Lately I am reading many many books at a time. This has several reasons: I listen to one while running, I am reading for the Feminist Classics project, I read on the couch at night but prefer my ereader in bed, etcetera. There is no clear pattern and there are few books that truly seem to engage me. Like Ana mentioned in a blog post of hers last week, if I read a book I really really like, I usually wait to long to write about it and I forget too much to actually make a proper post. I was never big on note-taking while reading and most of the time I simply remembered enough to write about the books, but now I feel like I may as well review the books I never got around to last year, since they are about as fresh in my mind.
Back to comfort reading. The only books that I feel are safe enough to explore at the moment – I often feel some books are too complicated, or perhaps too harsh and bitter and angry and sad – are those I at this moment consider my true comfort reads: Books in line of Henrietta’s War (Bloomsbury Group books), or Virago Modern Classics (Elizabeth and her German Garden was simply wonderful), or Persephone’s or well.. you’ll understand what I mean. They are gentle. I think gentle is the perfect word for them. They do contain problems, bitterness even, but the characters are often so easy to feel compassionate with, to identify with, and their settings never get cruel in a black-and-white thriller & horror movie manner.
Oh, and anything Jane Austen related. Rewrites if they are good enough, books about her life and work. But the problem with Jane Austen’s original works at this moment is that I know them too well, and sometimes familiarity can be a problem. I am longing for that passionate feeling, that feeling of “oh wow, Mr. Darcy” or even just “oh wow, I cannot possibly put this novel down in the upcoming three hours.” I love my comfort reads, but a lot of them are comfort reads at this moment when I have little time for reading because they are also okay to put down for a while. I would like to be caught up in a book once again, feel I need to read it NOW. But perhaps this will have to wait for more quiet times.
What I am currently reading:
Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari
I am listening to this while running. It was on offer for free a few weeks ago from here. I thought it would be nice to listen to a Young Adult book while running, nothing too complicated. But ugh, those scenes about the pox and the turtle that refuses to be killed make me feel sick to my stomach.
The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
I am reading this for the Feminist Classics Project. I was supposed to host the discussion on this in July, but only one person managed to finish the book in time. I am not sure I will finish it by the end of August. It is interesting. Simone de Beauvoir is clearly a very smart person. But she is also very hard to follow at times. Plus, and I’m sorry to say it, this book is loooong.
Between the Woods and the Water by Patrick Leigh Fermor
This book is a gem. I am forever grateful to Danielle for making me aware of this author. His travels in Eastern Europe on the brink of the Second World War – fascinating. It is not a fast read though, it needs time and dedication. Almost feels a little like meditation.
Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan
I wanted YA with dept. I think that is what I am finding here, if this is even YA, does anyone know? The writing style is beautiful. But I am a little scared for the scene. You know, that scene, that everyone talks about when they review this book. I really need to start reading this again. Writing about it makes me feel I neglected it this past week.
Why Jane Austen? by Rachel Brownstein
When I saw Teresa was reading this on goodreads, I hurried over to netgalley to request my own copy. Teresa has recently reviewed it. I just started reading (have read 30 pages) and find it very interesting. But also a slow read, lots of literary theory so far.
Consequences by E.M. Delafield
Last night when I was still awake at 3 am, I did not really feel like continuing in “Why Jane Austen”, so I reached for a Persephone. Ah – these books are true wonders. I am only 15 pages in, but I feel like I just know I am going to love this. I know it will be bitter. It is the setting and period I love. Lately, novels set in 1900-1920 seem the thing for me. I never really understood people’s obsession with the period, now I cannot get enough.
See my problem here? I am reading too much at a time. Some of these books I am enjoying too little, but most of them I really like. But for those I cannot find the time they truly merit.
What are you reading this Sunday?