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Make Me Feel Better Books

A couple of weeks ago, Sabrina over at About Happy Books posted on her top "make me feel better" books. I am intimately familiar with the concept, as I'm sure most of you are. Though I usually refer to them as "comfort reads," this time I was struck by Sabrina's choice of wording. Because often it's not only comfort I go looking for. It's nothing quite that passive or soft or cozy. Often I'm in a more demanding, more, well, desperate frame of mind. And the sentiment I bring to the search is definitely of the make me feel better. Do it. Please?!

I have this print hanging in my library because it reminds me of just this sort of situation. It came from DH's grandma's house--one of those warm, happy places--and I was in love the moment I laid eyes on it.
It's from the old Gibson Girl books and, in case you can't quite make out the text, it says:
She looks for relief among some of the old ones.
I love the pile of books spilling across the floor as she searches for the one. The one that will make her feel better.

The other night I picked up Sharon Shinn's Mystic & Rider--a tried and true "make me feel better" book--and leaned back in bed to just let the magic happen. And, you know, it did. The book sort of took charge, if you will. I laid out my expectations and the dear characters and marvelous world just took right over and brought their A game. I was so grateful. And so happy to feel reassured and buoyed up in the knowledge that those old ones--they never let you down. I was all set to move on to the next in the series, when an unexpected and highly anticipated package arrived on my doorstep. Perfect timing. I'd paused in the headlong charge than can be our reading regimen. I picked up one of the old ones and effectively recharged my reading juices. Just in time for the shiny new pretty to slide right in and capture my attention. I feel better.

What are some of your "make me feel better" books? I'd really love to know.

Comments

  1. My favorite "make me feel better" books are the Mitford Series by Jan Karon. = )

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  2. have you ever heard of the Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett? Almost no one has but those who try it are hooked for life. Those are my ultimate antidote to a bad day.

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  3. "Dragon Prince," by Melanie Rawn.
    "Star of the Guardians" series by Margaret Weiss.
    Anything that Sharon Shinn has written.

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  4. This concept is so very true! I think the ones that do it for me are Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword, Garth Nix's Sabriel, Mercedes Lackey's Phoenix and Ashes, and Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. And add in anything by Louisa May Alcott, L.M. Montgomery, and Gene Stratton Porter for good measure... *grin*

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  5. Anonymous11:40 AM

    The Harry Potter series is my number one choice. I'll also turn to McKinley's The Blue Sword, Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness quartet or Pride and Prejudice for a good pick-me-up. Depends on the mood!

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  6. I always cheer up when I read: Fortune and Fate by Sharon Shinn
    Chalice by Robin McKinley
    The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
    On the Edge by Ilona Andrews

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  7. Glad that you liked my post :)

    The print is so beautiful and a real treasure. You are so lucky to have it hanging in your library.

    My "make me feel better" books are mostly by my favourite romance authors (Nora Roberts, SEP, Linda Howard) and lately "The Good Luck Girl" by Kerry Reichs because this book is so beautiful and inspiring.

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  8. Anonymous1:47 PM

    Home Cooking and More Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin
    The Blue Castle by LM Montgomery
    Northanger Abbey
    Nine Coaches Waiting and Thornyhold by Mary Stewart

    And any other books that I've read so often the characters are like old friends and it feels like coming home. I also find Nigella Lawson's cookbooks comforting at times. I don't want to go in the kitchen and make a mess, but reading about the desserts and things I could make is almost as good as real comfort food!

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  9. Anonymous1:56 PM

    Great question and I love the picture.
    If I am feeling nostaligic for young reader things it's got to be Harry Potter or the Little House books. If I am in the mood for adult stuff I can never go wrong with Nora Roberts, Linda Howard or Charlaine Harris (Grave series or Sookie series).

    :)

    MsM

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  10. Tiffany M.2:07 PM

    Sharon Shinn's Angelica and Archangel. Monica Furlong's Juniper. Ann Rinaldi's Time Enough For Drums. Julia Quinn's When He Was Wicked. Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword. There are so many, but really, they all just feel like home--that perfect moment when your muscles relax and you breath out a sigh. :)

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  11. Janet Evanovich's books used to be comfort reads for me, but as time goes on, I'm getting sick of her storyline never progressing. So, at the moment, I don't really know if I can think of one.

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  12. siddartha, by herman hesse and the belgariad and malorian series by david eddings. the first one for when i'm feeling contemplative, the two series for when i'm wanting to revisit old friends!

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  13. Currently, Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones is on top of my comfort reads. :)

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  14. I love that print, too.

    Archangel by Sharon Shinn, Night Train to Memphis by Elizabeth Peters, and any book by Christina Dodd are some of my comfort reads. :) Mary Stewart is usually a good bet, too.

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  15. I don't really have "comfort books". More like "comfort authors". "A sure thing" if you will. I know I'm gonna love whatever Kelley Armstrong puts out. There have been several times I thought...no way and then I find out I can't stop reading. I cannot re-read a book because there are so many books out there that need to be read. If I did re-read one it would be The Princess Bride.

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  16. I usually call those kind of books "feel good books" which is similar to "make me feel better books." I have the usuals in my list - Megan Whalen Turner, Robin McKinley, Sherwood Smith, Diana Wynne Jones - and new ones like Sharon Shinn and Ilona Andrews (thanks to you). I'm itching to read the Twelve Houses books but I have to finish the Samaria ones first.

    Hey, what's the book that you got that you're excited about? I'm curious. :)

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  17. I love the picture too, Angie. I heard you were reading Mystic and Rider and realized that was exactly what I needed too. I borrowed my mom's on Saturday night, and everything is good again. I have been turning to Harry Potter a lot (also the audio recording), and it always does the trick. When I was little it was definitely a Little House book. In high school and college it was Tolstoy.

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  18. When I need a "make me feel better book" I tend to gravitate to books I read as a kid. I don't know, maybe on some level it's that childhood seems like a time when it was fairly easy to "make me feel better;" or maybe it's the memories I associate with those books are good ones; or maybe it's just because they are simple (in the best possible way) and kind of pure to me?

    Tamora Pierce's Lioness and Immortals books are especial favourites. The Secret World of Og warms my insides. Oh and The Princess Bride does it for me too.

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  19. Well North and South is such an obvious answer here. I can always count on Mary Hooper. I'm a big fan of some of the shorter classics to make myself feel better - like Agnes Grey. I agree with The Blue Castle as well as some of Eva Ibbotson's older books for older readers that have recently been republished.

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  20. The King of Attolia, most definitely. The world just sort of rights itself whenever I read it. That book is the Firebolt to my Harry Potter, I love it so. I don't know what I'd do without my beloved thief.

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  21. When times are hard, I tend to turn to historical novels, so Dorothy Dunnett and Patrick O'Brian do it for me. But if I'm feeling really fragile, it has to be Georgette Heyer.

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  22. I usually turn to chick lit/contemporary whenever I need to feel better. My top picks are:

    * Dreaming in Black and White and Dreaming in Technicolor by Laura Jensen Walker
    * Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
    * Belong to Me by Marisa delos Santos
    * Happyface by Stephen Emond

    And finally, my favorite classic, A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett :)

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  23. Anonymous5:25 AM

    Books from my childhood help. Also, books I've read so often that I know them so well they're like old friends.

    Two that come to mind are...
    I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
    The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley

    Thanks for this question.

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  24. Wow, there are a lot of great reads listed here: The Blue Castle by LM Montgomery, Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith, Vicky Bliss series by Elizabeth Peters

    My favorite comfort reads are M.M. Kaye's Death In... books. Cyprus, Berlin, Kashmir, Zanzibar... I discovered them as a teenager and I just love the way she wrote from the perspective of a British army wife...something I'll never be. They make me happy. :)

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  25. I adore that print. It's beautiful.

    My ultimate comfort read is The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford. Great topic!

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  26. Anonymous6:57 AM

    Misti - I love M.M. Kaye's mysteries, too! I can't believe I forgot those yesterday. They're definitely "make me feel better" books.

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  27. No matter how many books there are on my list to read, during the rough times I have certain favorites I fall back on.

    Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
    The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher
    To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie willis
    anything by Mary Stewart

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  28. I'm always a fan of Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married or the Secret Society Girl series or one of the first three Pink Carnation books by Lauren Willig. It's cheesy but a nice romance with plenty of angsty and snark is what makes me feel better.

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  29. This is funny, because I tend to run to romance when I need a reprieve and a comfort. Weird eh? I love anything by Meg Cabot and have found myself grabbing my old ratty copy of Gone With the Wind when I want some romantic angst. Listen, I find it strange that those are my go to books! I also really love my Harry Potter, British edition collection when I need a pick me up. Those always make me happy!

    Fun post. I loved looking at what everyone else said. You should do a follow up and post some of these "go to" books.

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  30. I've never read Mystic & Rider, although I've loved other books by Shinn. Is it part of a series, or can I start with it?

    Anything by Diana Wynne Jones invariably makes me feel better!

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