Sometimes, when it's cold outside, when you're stressed out from school/work/family/life, or when you just want to curl up with something tried and true, you need a comfort book.
To me, the definition of a "comfort book" is a lot like mashed potatoes. Not something overly thought-provoking or edgy. Definitely nothing good for you. A comfort book makes you feel warm and good and instantly at home.
My version of comfort books are things that I've read before, and can read over and over again. They're YA and MG, and just plain friendly. That's the thing. As much as I hate the word, a lot of my comfort books are "wholesome". Romantic, descriptive, and full of heart.
1. Which Witch by Eva Ibbotson. This book was suuuch a big part of my childhood. It's about seven witches from a small town who compete to marry the dark wizard Arriman the Awful. Six of the witches are totally mean and nasty, and then there's Belladonna, the only "white" witch. She's kind, friendly, generous--and surprisingly good at magic, and finding ways around the general meanness of the challenges Arriman gives them, while still being successful. It's such a quietly lovely book, like a fairy tale. Really. Everything by Eva Ibbotson makes me smile.
2. The Gravesavers by Sheree Fitch. Oh, this sweet, sweet book. A family tragedy sends 12-year-old Minn to her sour grandmother's for the summer, where she meets a boy and discovers the most devastating shipwreck since the Titanic. The POV shifts between Minn and Thomas Hindley, a passenger on the S.S. Atlantic. It's just beautifully written, and weaves together the past and the present, not to mention all the different characters' stories. But my favorite part? Minn's mom's job is naming paint colors. Every time Minn looks at something--like the night sky--she comes up with a name for the color. Midnight Madness. Deepening Blue. Endless.
3. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. I wasn't sure whether I liked this book, despite the fact that the author's name is super amazing. But everything about it is like a dream come true: when Meggie and her father read out loud, things come out of the books. Not always nice things. And every time something is pulled out of a book, something has to go back in--like Meggie's mom. It's magical and awe-inspiring, and by the end of the trilogy virtually every character felt like an old friend.
These are the books I grew up with. They make me feel good no matter what's happening in my life. Mashed potatoes squished between two covers. But not gross.