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books: is there anything they can't do?
What books do you turn to when you're having the world's shittiest day and the universe seems to be knocking you down and then kicking you in the teeth? What makes a comfort read for you?

Ganked from birdgirl_1107, I present Ye Olde Toppe Nine(uh) Comforte Reades:



1. The Westing Game by Ellen Rankin (Boom, she said happily, darting away)

2. Liquor by Poppy Z. Brite (the most beautiful and endearing happy-ended love story ever told)

3. Peril at End House by Agatha Christie (the most beautiful and tragic love story ever told)

4. The Dark Secret of Weatherend by John Bellairs (Listen. To your. Librarian!)

5. Something from the Nightside by Simon R. Green (I have this thing. This thing for subways that don't stop where they're told. Subways that maybe stop other places that aren't found on maps, and there's the whole underground man-made cave thing. Subways are kind of magic to me, in large part because of this series. Runner up from this series: Unnatural Inquirer, which everyone hates but me, but honestly, if you have something to protect, put an old woman with knitting needles outside. Stand well back.)

6. End Music by Ian Rankin (which I am going to try not to spoil for you, except to say that it is the most genius ending to a cop series ever -- and then it turned out not to be the ending)

7. Daughter of the Drow by Elaine Cunningham (Menzoberranzan, city under a mountain. Snarky, bouncy heroine. Whitewater rafting. I dig, people. I dig.)

8. Going Postal by Terry Pratchett:

‘I will sue the University! I will sue the University!’ screamed Greenyham. He picked up a chair and hurled it at the omniscope. Halfway to the glass it turned into a small flock of doves, which panicked and soared up to the roof.

‘Oh, please sue the University!’ Ridcully bellowed. ‘We’ve got a pond full of people who tried to sue the University—’


Not getting any less funny.

9. Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson (Yes y'all, I really did like it that much. I really did like everything about it, so much that realistically I'd have to have both it and Scarlett Fever together as one big ball of comfort, and if the third book, when it finally comes out, sucks a bean through a crazy straw, you can all take turns holding my hair back as I weep, moan and vomit.)

Anyway. Hi. My day, he has been complicated. So tell me: what are your favorite comfort books?

Comments

( 38 comments — Leave a comment )
rileyc
Nov. 21st, 2012 02:48 am (UTC)
Ooooh, more books to covet! (Chiefly 4, 5, and 9.)

But, 3. Peril at End House by Agatha Christie (the most beautiful and tragic love story ever told)? Either I'm not remembering this one right or it's been far too long since I read it.
oddmonster
Nov. 21st, 2012 03:27 pm (UTC)
I'm always glad to be a book-pusher. Reeeeeeeeead them...reeeeeeead them! :)

You're right, I should've explained 3 more: I maintain that Peril is simply a love story between a girl and a house. I love haunted house stories, but until I read Peril as an adult, I don't think I'd really thought about how houses can haunt people as well as vice versa. If that makes sense.
ciaimpala
Nov. 21st, 2012 03:00 am (UTC)
My mind immediately went to The Westing Game :)

Anything Sherlock Holmes, anything Agatha Christie as well.
oddmonster
Nov. 21st, 2012 03:28 pm (UTC)
ICON OF WIN, my goodness. I confess, in lieu of the above, I'll take anything Agatha Christie, but for me, it's always a case of okay, which one should I read besides Peril at End House?
ciaimpala
Nov. 21st, 2012 05:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks!! I got it from toreadabook, which is a fabulous icon journal for book lovers.
catyah
Nov. 24th, 2012 03:13 am (UTC)
Thanks for the heads up about toreadabook! I'm a sucker for icons anyway, especially book icons -- of course, I need more icons like I need another hole in my head, but they're still fun to look at.

Oddmonster, while looking through the icons there -- and if you haven't checked it out, you should -- I found these, which I think you might especially like: http://toreadabook.livejournal.com/39198.html#comments
oddmonster
Nov. 24th, 2012 04:32 pm (UTC)
a w e s o m e
storyfan
Nov. 21st, 2012 04:57 am (UTC)
My favorite comfort books will always be Trixie Belden Mysteries. Reading those books made me believe, yeah, girls can do something — meaning, anything.
oddmonster
Nov. 21st, 2012 03:29 pm (UTC)
Awesome! I have never read a Trixie Belden, I believe. For a moment I thought I might have one in the house (my house hides things and sneaks up on me with appropriate books whenever it gets the chance, because houses need hobbies, apparently). Is there one in particular you recommend?
storyfan
Nov. 21st, 2012 07:19 pm (UTC)
If you can find it, go with the first one, called "Secret of the Mansion." Honey and Trixie are introduced here, along with another character who becomes very prominent in the series.

One of my favorites, though, is the second one, called "The Red Trailer Mystery." The first time I read it I was amazed that two 13-year-old girls were allowed to make decisions for themselves, take risks and suffer the consequences of those risks. That's a theme throughout the books — take responsibility for all decisions.

It cracks me up, though, that two of the characters' families were filthy rich. That always allowed Trixie, whose family was of modest means, to go on some pretty amazing adventures, all expenses paid!

Trixie introduced me to the mystery genre which I still love today. I'm getting through the Charlie Parker series now, and I owe it all to Trix.
ladyblue56
Nov. 21st, 2012 07:54 am (UTC)
I hope your evening made up for the complicated day.

2. Yes, 'Liquor' is a comforting read. 'Guilty But Insane' is half-way read, been portioning it out so as to savor.

"Fur Person" by May Sarton is probably my all-time favorite comfort book.

Alice Adams, "The Stories of Alice Adams."
Marge Piercy, "Woman on the Edge of Time."
Ann Beattie, "Burning House."

oddmonster
Nov. 21st, 2012 03:40 pm (UTC)
I have not read Guilty But Insane! Thank you for the heads-up! I will be adding it to my reading list.
akikotree
Nov. 21st, 2012 08:18 am (UTC)
Hello, I just followed you over from birdgirl_1107 's comfort books post because I wanted to see what other people's lists looked like. I absolutely love "The Westing Game"- that was the first mystery I ever read and it simply entranced me. I also went through a period where I read pretty much nothing but Elaine Cunningham books, over and over when I stopped being able to find new ones. My favorites were "Elfshadow" and "Elf Song" the first two from the Songs and Swords series. And I loved "Going Postal" so much! I had read a few other Terry Pratchett books before I found that one, but that was the book which made me decide to go back to the beginning of the Discworld series and read them all in order (I'm now up to "Soul Music") :D
birdgirl_1107
Nov. 21st, 2012 02:14 pm (UTC)
Akikotree, meet Oddmonster, queen of the uber-witty phrase, who makes it look so very easy, when it is so very not. (I know, because I constantly try to emulate her example and, for me at least, it takes hours). Oddmonster, meet Akikotree, artist extraordinaire, Book of Kells fangirl, and goddess of teacups. Both of you are also mutual friends of Catyah, which is a recommendation in and of itself.

:)
oddmonster
Nov. 21st, 2012 03:47 pm (UTC)
Hello and welcome! It is maniacally boring over here unless you really like books, because that is all I appear to talk about ever. Booky book book book books. :D

I maintain that the Daughter of the Drow series is basically one of the best things ever. I was half-convinced by book 1, obviously, but then book 2 opens with Liriel being flung through the air onto an escaping pirate ship AND LOVING IT. I even maintain that the Daughter of the Drow series is basically the best thing ever even without having read the last book because of the inevitable weeping. I haven't read either Elfshadow or Elf Song but I will add them to my list. Any chance you've read The Cities series?

Going Postal kind of surprised me with how much I loved it and Making Money, because before that I was strictly a Watch girl, although it may or may not be true that one of my sisters calls me Esme (after Granny Weatherwax) with no hint of sarcasm. I'm hoping to do a readalong of Hogfather here in December. Join us!
akikotree
Nov. 22nd, 2012 03:28 am (UTC)
I am very much a fan of books :) And that's a good thing, because I've been working in a library for the past five years!

I don't think I have read The Cities series. Back when I was reading Cunningham my greatest problem was that I couldn't find very many of her books. This was years ago, before I really knew about Amazon.com... I'm feeling like its time to find them again!

"Going Postal" is simply a masterpiece of comic genius. And it has some good scenes with the Watch in it! Wikipedia claims that there will be a third Moist to be called "Raising Taxes". I can't wait :) And sweet, I was already planning on reading "Hogfather" this Christmas. Is it alright if I friend you?
oddmonster
Nov. 22nd, 2012 07:56 pm (UTC)
I'd love to hear another Forgotten Realms person's opinion on The Cities series, or really just even City of Ravens, to see if it's as good as I think it is. Temple Hill was nowhere near as good, and to some extent, there are a lot of FR books that are really more about a city than anything else (Dissolution, Elminster's Daughter, The Dream Spheres for instance) but aren't part of the series. The city-based books are always my favorites.

I almost can't look directly at the statement that there could be a third Moist, because I get so dizzy and happy. I am going to hope this comes to pass.

And yay on both Hogfather and friending! Full speed ahead!
akikotree
Nov. 23rd, 2012 06:05 am (UTC)
I will check out "City of Ravens" :) Yay to everything!
birdgirl_1107
Nov. 21st, 2012 03:10 pm (UTC)
*manically flips between your entry, Goodreads, and the web site of her local library*

You are a menace to my TBR list.

And, oh yeah, PTerry. Total potential for comfort reads. I luckily disqualified him immediately by limiting myself to books I own/have read more than once.
oddmonster
Nov. 21st, 2012 03:48 pm (UTC)
I am innocent of all charges. GoodReads, however, is totally guilty as being a giant ball of enabling. Holy crow. My poor To Be Read list, which apparently is now known as Want to Read list, which makes no sense because point me at any collection of given books* and that label applies.






*Books with animals in obviously excepted.
birdgirl_1107
Nov. 21st, 2012 05:03 pm (UTC)
a giant ball of enabling – exactly. I used to have to write things down. Or at least type them into a document that resided on my computer in some folder that I could never find. Now all I have to do is click. And click. And clickandclickandclickandclickclickclick. Eventually my clicker finger will give out and then I might be saved.

That being said ... *still regarding you suspiciously*

Oh, and I'm also still eavesdropping on your conversation with akikotree. More agreeing with you on not expecting to love Going Postal and being surprised and all. I think I'm still a Watch girl at heart though.
oddmonster
Nov. 21st, 2012 07:12 pm (UTC)
Don't look at me suspiciously, I used to have an entire notebook I wrote down all the books I wanted to read in. It's here someplace. But GoodReads is much more convenient.

I love the Watch and I love golems. I basically got about 100 pages into Going Postal and there was plotzing. And while I'm not normally a fan of movie versions of things, I am watching the movie version of Going Postal via Netflix and it is deliciously good. The golem not so much, maybe, but Adora Belle? And Vetinari?

I am slightly hampered by believing in my heart of hearts that only Sid James (aka "the man with the face like an unmade bed") could ever play Vimes, but I'm trying to open my mind on the subject...
birdgirl_1107
Nov. 22nd, 2012 02:28 pm (UTC)
I had NO IDEA there was a movie version of Going Postal. That just might be what it takes to get me to finally subscribe to Netflix. Sid James would indeed have made a fabulous Vimes.
oddmonster
Nov. 22nd, 2012 08:04 pm (UTC)
I had no idea there was a movie version of GP either until Netflix cleared its throat and suggested possibly I might care to watch this thing? QUITE POSSIBLY.

There is something in me that sees quite a bit of Discworld characters as played by most of the Carry On cast: Kenneth Connor as Nobby, Charles Hawtrey as Reg Shoe, and of course Joan Sims as Lady Sybil Vimes. Then again, I'd love to see Mustrum Ridcully played by Theodore Roosevelt, so I'm guessing I'll be quite a long time waiting on that one. :D
birdgirl_1107
Nov. 23rd, 2012 02:02 pm (UTC)
If you ever want to pursue a second career, imo, you'd be a roaring success as a casting agent. OMG, Charles Hawtrey as Reg Shoe! Brilliant! And I think Joan Sims is Lady Sybil Vimes. Do you suppose Pratchett could have had them in mind when he was writing it?
oddmonster
Nov. 23rd, 2012 05:17 pm (UTC)
:D I think anything is entirely possible along those lines. And if in fact, he did not have them in mind while writing it, I simply do not wish to know.
(Deleted comment)
oddmonster
Nov. 21st, 2012 04:21 pm (UTC)
I think I knew about the Robin McKinley thing, and I still have Chalice on my to-read list, but for some reason I hadn't pegged you as a huge Cleo Coyle fan. I like her coffeehouse series, but will admit a stronger liking for Laura Childs' teahouse mysteries, which I blame only partly on a greater love for Charleston than NYC. Although the most recent book in the teahouse series was a ridiculous string of exclamation points ending each chapter, so I had to give it a miss. I think I might have an unread Cleo Coyle on my shelves, though.

Any favorites from the Cleo Coyle series?
(Deleted comment)
oddmonster
Nov. 21st, 2012 05:27 pm (UTC)
I have kind of a like/less-like relationship with them. The last one I read, Murder Most Frothy I really enjoyed, but the one before that, French Pressed, the last third of that book nearly did me in. It was just so...forced, it felt like. Still, I love that the heroine threw a shoe at her ex-husband's head. She is my kind of woman.
readthisandweep
Nov. 21st, 2012 05:10 pm (UTC)
Anything by Alice Hoffman.
And I find I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith the perfect, 'Go away, world' book.
oddmonster
Nov. 21st, 2012 05:19 pm (UTC)
Mmm, I do love Practical Magic (and your lovely genius icon too) but I can't say I've read any other Alice Hoffmans. Is there one you recommend?
readthisandweep
Nov. 21st, 2012 06:09 pm (UTC)
At Risk, Turtle Moon, The Third Angel, Second Nature, The Story Sisters (my favourite.)
And her recent one, The Dove Keepers is grand. :)
oddmonster
Nov. 21st, 2012 07:06 pm (UTC)
Weirdly, Turtle Moon is in a stack of books not three feet from where I'm sitting (This. House.)

Thanks for the rec!
little_tristan
Nov. 22nd, 2012 08:45 pm (UTC)
I just started reading Scarlett Fever today and I already kind of love it. Suite Scarlett is good, but this one feels like she's really hit her stride.

Now I need to do one of these lists.:D
oddmonster
Nov. 23rd, 2012 05:18 pm (UTC)
Cake.
deiseach
Nov. 23rd, 2012 03:25 am (UTC)
"This thing for subways that don't stop where they're told. Subways that maybe stop other places that aren't found on maps, and there's the whole underground man-made cave thing."

Then let me give you a Chesterton quotation from "The Man Who Was Thursday":

"...The poet delights in disorder only. If it were not so, the most poetical thing in the world would be the Underground Railway."

"So it is," said Mr. Syme.

"Nonsense!" said Gregory, who was very rational when anyone else attempted paradox. "Why do all the clerks and navvies in the railway trains look so sad and tired, so very sad and tired? I will tell you. It is because they know that the train is going right. It is because they know that whatever place they have taken a ticket for that place they will reach. It is because after they have passed Sloane Square they know that the next station must be Victoria, and nothing but Victoria. Oh, their wild rapture! oh, their eyes like stars and their souls again in Eden, if the next station were unaccountably Baker Street!"

"It is you who are unpoetical," replied the poet Syme. "If what you say of clerks is true, they can only be as prosaic as your poetry. The rare, strange thing is to hit the mark; the gross, obvious thing is to miss it. We feel it is epical when man with one wild arrow strikes a distant bird. Is it not also epical when man with one wild engine strikes a distant station? Chaos is dull; because in chaos the train might indeed go anywhere, to Baker Street or to Bagdad. But man is a magician, and his whole magic is in this, that he does say Victoria, and lo! it is Victoria. No, take your books of mere poetry and prose; let me read a time table, with tears of pride. Take your Byron, who commemorates the defeats of man; give me Bradshaw, who commemorates his victories. Give me Bradshaw, I say!"

"Must you go?" inquired Gregory sarcastically.

"I tell you," went on Syme with passion, "that every time a train comes in I feel that it has broken past batteries of besiegers, and that man has won a battle against chaos. You say contemptuously that when one has left Sloane Square one must come to Victoria. I say that one might do a thousand things instead, and that whenever I really come there I have the sense of hairbreadth escape. And when I hear the guard shout out the word 'Victoria,' it is not an unmeaning word. It is to me the cry of a herald announcing conquest. It is to me indeed 'Victoria'; it is the victory of Adam."

And a story link, "The Angry Street", again by Chesterton.

(The Man Who Was Thursday is my comfort book; I can re-read it over and over again and still be delighted).

oddmonster
Nov. 23rd, 2012 05:44 pm (UTC)
That, is lovely. Thank you for posting it. There are entirely too few books and stories about disobedient subways. Offhand I can think of only the Nightside series, Cabinet of Curiositites, The Company Man and this fantastic story by Icy Sedgwick, Ghost Train.

/me adds The Man Who Was Thursday to my TBR list. Thanks again!
meneleth
Nov. 23rd, 2012 02:48 pm (UTC)
The Camelot Caper by Elizabeth Peters
Aunt Dimity's Death by Nancy Atherton
The Masqueraders or False Colors by Georgette Heyer
The Blue Sapphire by D.E. Stevenson
oddmonster
Nov. 23rd, 2012 05:25 pm (UTC)
The only Aunt Dimity I've read was Aunt Dimity: Snowbound, but I remember liking it quite a bit. I have The Masqueraders here in the house somewhere, and it keeps getting mentioned on these comfort reads lists (along with Anne of Green Gables) so I should try and tackle it again, maybe.

Thanks for playing! :)
( 38 comments — Leave a comment )

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