Monday, January 18, 2010

Comfort Zone

by Joan

My book interests are somewhat eclectic and range from literary and historical fiction to family saga to romantic comedy to ghost stories. Well, maybe not that eclectic, since I generally don’t get science fiction and fantasy. When I go through a spell of not quite hitting on a book I like, I fall back into my comfort zone.

We’ve interviewed one of my favorite comfort authors, Adriana Trigiani. (Can't wait for next month's Brava Valentine, the sequel to Very Valentine.) When I read her books, I always know I’ll laugh and cry, learn insightful tidbits about her characters, work harder when I sit down at my computer.

Like Ms. Trigiani, Maeve Binchy does the same. I finally got around to reading Heart and Soul, published close to a year ago around last Valentine’s Day. Reading this book was like eating my mother’s matzo ball soup—it’s always even better than I remember. The story focuses around a Dublin doctor who is trying to get a heart clinic up and running while dealing with her own fragile heart. Binchy found a way to weave in many characters from previous books, a technique which drew me in and had me wanting to reread them all.

Recently I read the Love Actually screenplay. Before this, I’d never read a screenplay (I tried to read Juno, but got dizzy trying to keep up with the format). I’ve lost count at how many times I’ve watched the ensemble romantic comedy—not just for Christmas viewing!—but reading the familiar lines, I recited the lines in my head before I got to them on the page.

Get a grip. People hate sissies. No one’s ever going to shag you if you cry all the time.

I love that word relationship—covers all manner of sins, doesn’t it?

Yes—but you’ve also made a fool out of me—you’ve made the life I lead foolish too.

You learnt English… Just in cases.

And I scored 27 out of 36 on the quiz—full marks according to author Richard Curtis. The book is scattered with gorgeous pictures and a follow-up love questionnaire by the stars.

Some of my other comfort favorites: Tracy Chevalier, Marian Keyes, Jane Austen. I know I need to stretch my comfort zone, read books I might not have otherwise, but it’s good to know I can always come back home.

What are your comfort books or authors?


  1. My comfort author is Elizabeth Berg. Hands down. I always know she's there for me.

  2. My comfort authors are always Janet Evanovich or Jennifer Weiner. They are guaranteed to make me laugh and show me how to write real people. Love love love them.

  3. I like Jennifer Weiner, too, Sharla. And waddya know, Pamela, I love Elizabeth Berg! Well, you already knew that ...

    Hmm, who else? Barbara Samuel/O'Neal, Diane Chamberlain, Marcia Willett (Binchy fans should check her out). Seems like I'm forgetting someone, though!

  4. My comfort zone is definitely science fiction and fantasy with a little mystery here and there; Laurell K. Hamilton, Patricia Briggs, Marion Zimmer Bradley, etc... I like going to a world completely unlike my own. I guess I should try to read a little out of my comfort zone a bit, and I do sometimes, its just so nice to read what I know I enjoy eating comfort food.

  5. Funny you should post this - I was just saying in the WF group that Barbara Samuel (O'Neal) just gave me a lot of comfort this past weekend. Nothing like snuggling up to a good book, losing yourself, and finding strength through reading.


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