Comfort Books

I’ve gone through a kind of unlucky phase with books recently. Now that I’ve entered the last trimester before Baby Smithereens arrives, I’m looking for comfort! Just like cravings for comfort food, I’m craving for good, entertaining books, not particularly the kind of highbrow novels that makes you want to read them in the silence of a serious library, but the kind of books you’re just happy to find on a rainy day, or during a commute, or after a long day at work.

I found some fresh air in John Berendt’s City of Fallen Angels, because I so much enjoyed our trip to Venice last year… Everyone seems to have quirky stories about Venice, but I still love to read about them!

And, oh, I’ve given up on The Man in the High Castle. Yes, I’ve gotten past my abandonment issues and proclaimed that it wasn’t worth wasting more of my limited time on something I didn’t truly enjoy.

I went to one of my favorite bookshops on Friday and I couldn’t resist buying a few paperbacks… Just when I thought I was getting bored with coming-of-age stories, a Norwegian writer and piano player called Ketil Bjornstad wrote a coming-of-age story called The Young Pianists Society… I also found a few short stories by Chinese 20C classic writer Qian Zhongshu. If you’re reading in French and if you visit Paris, don’t miss this network of independent bookshops

I also went to our local library and took out some books recommended by fellow book-bloggers: Louise Lambrichs’ A ton image, praised by Litlove, Sea Glass by Anita Shreve, because Courtney mentioned it as one of those “novels she’s turned to, and will turn to again, to help craft [her] own”. I also discovered a great mystery from Israel (which was the guest country at the recent Paris International Book Fair): Murder on the Kibbutz, by Batya Gur. Now that is both exotic and entertaining!


7 thoughts on “Comfort Books

  1. Stop the presses! Sea Glass is a great book but I actually meant Fortune’s Rocks, by the same author. So, go ahead and read Sea Glass as it is an interesting book, but it is Fortune’s Rocks that I meant to say inspired my novel…

  2. Well Hello! I’m new to your blog which I just discovered at Verbivore’s. What a marvelous wide-ranging taste in books you have! And thanks for the link to the Paris shops….will tuck it away for future reference.
    About 28 years ago(ouch!), I was flat on my back for the last three months of my first pregnancy and comforted myself with big fat French Lit classics and some other less fat French Lit: Les Miserable, of course, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Three Musketeers, Scarlet Pimpernel, Moliere, de Maupassant, Valery, Flaubert, Zola. I have no idea what got into me, but it surely passed the time…and I still think of my number one son as a little wanna-be French boy.

    I will look for The Young Pianist’s Society. Thanks!
    Deborah @ Exuberant Reader

  3. Litlove, I’m flying through the Lambrichs and love it for now. More about it as soon as I finish it!

    Courtney, now I have 2 books on my pile instead of one!! Never mind, I like Anita Shreve and a double portion is quite a delight…

    Deborah, welcome to this blog and thanks for the compliment! Not sure whether the Young pianist society is translated into English though. Who knows what I’ll be reading when I’ll be in maternity leave, but I’ll sure have a lot more time to read big books (early May normally… looking forward to it!)

  4. Picking books when you want a certain kind of book can be so tricky. Have you read Three Junes by Julia Glass, The Gardens of Tokyo by Kate Walbert or Charming Billy by Alice McDermott? These three are kind of my comfort books, well-written and quiet with intriguing stories. Just a few suggestions to add to the pile.
    I also like Philippe Claudel for a pleasant read and good atmosphere.

    p.s. saw the (newish) film Chez les Ch’tis a week ago. Have you seen it? A bit of brain tofu but I had a good laugh and thought it was cleverly done.

  5. I enjoyed that Anita Shreve as well–prefect comfort reading! When does Baby Smithereens arrive? How exciting! 🙂 And I’m going to have to check out that Norwegian coming of age story.

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