Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Comfort Reads

Well, it's that time again. The decorations have been taken down and put away, the resolutions have been made (and partially kept) and it is now officially the bleak winter. I happen to like winter. Listening to the wind whip around the house and watching the snow fly on a black night is so inspiring to me...well, once Mr. Featherstone stops grumbling about it.

There's something about the winter that makes me feel all nostalgic. This is usually when I dive into my keeper shelf and look at those special books while reorganizing them by importance. I usually pick a few and read them. They feel like old friends, and I immediately know why they are on my keeper shelf as soon as I start reading. They give me the warm cozies, and bring me back to the time when I could spend hours and hours reading and wishing that I would one day get my book published. Now, I am published, and those hours of reading have been traded for writing, revising and researching. But I still find time to find some new favorites to add to that all important keeper shelf.

Almost all of Lisa Kleypas' books are on my shelf. So too is More Than a Mistress by Mary Balogh. I have some of Laura Lee Gurhke (I hope I haven't butchered her name) as well as JR Ward and Gena Showalter's Lords of the Underworld series, and of course, Karin's hunky Norman Knights, The Bloodswords.

What is more interesting to me, is not the authors on my keeper shelf, but the themes contained in the books. Besides sexy books that a dark and emotional, I love certain themes. I even try new authors because of themes. I like the ugly duckling turned beautiful swan in the eyes of the hero, I like the friends for a lifetime but have hidden their love. I like plump heroines, and tortured heroes. I like the longing from afar, especially if its the hero doing the pining.

So, that got to me thinking. Do you pick out books by themes? If so, what are your favorites? What are your least favorites?


Genella deGrey said...

Charlotte -

I love winter too. The near non-existence of buzzing, flying and creepy crawly things is a boon during that season.

All of your reading preferences sound wonderful. Funny, a tortured hero neither breaks it nor makes it for me. I like when people bust out of old habits and patterns because they wish to improve their lives. I like to share in their victory and rewards, vicariously speaking, of course. :) Heck, the journey alone can be torturous ;) But the end result is always a positive one.

Keep warm!

Jane said...

I love tortured heroes, too. I don't pick up books by themes, but my favorites include revenge, marriage of convenience, amnesia, Beauty and the Beast and the Cinderella theme. I don't really like the secret baby stories.

Charlotte Featherstone said...

Oh, I like Beauty and the Beast stories too. How did I forget that one???? and the secret baby isn't really my bag,either. Although, I've learned never to say never.

Fedora said...

Hmm... my comfort reads are somewhat by author, but you're right, there are themes I like more than others--I really like redemption and second chances, and am a huge sucker for friends-to-lovers. I tend to dislike secret-baby stories, I think mainly because it seems like such a dishonest thing to do, and a huge betrayal of trust. Oh, and Cinderella is a favorite, too, but I really love ones where it isn't some magical physical transformation, but one where it's a change in perceptions because of a growing relationship--that seems so much more meaningful to me.

Kristi Cook said...

I'm trying to see if there's any common thread of themes in my comfort reads, but I'm not seeing one. But I definitely have some favorites on my keeper shelf that I read over and over again--or even simply pull down from the shelf now and then to re-read my favorite scenes.

Gone With the Wind, of course. I've probably read it close to a hundred times by now, no exaggeration! The Thorn Birds. Circle of Friends and Light a Penny Candle by Maeve Binchy.

Twilight (the entire Twilight series--I even finally forced myself to re-read the final book, which was a major disappointment...slightly better the second time around, though).

The Viscount Who Loved Me and How to Marry a Marquis by Julia Quinn. More Than a Mistress by Mary Balogh. A few old historicals by Judith McNaught. Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase is the newest addition to my comfort read list.

The lone contemporary on my 'comfort read' shelf is Susan Elizabeth Phillips' Ain't She Sweet. Oh my gosh, I love that book! I've tried for ages (to no avail, I might add!) to get Charlotte to read it--but then, I've never gotten her to read Gone With the Wind, either!

I guess the closest thing to a pattern is 'tortured hero' but they don't all fit the bill.

Amanda McIntyre said...

I'm pretty eclectic in my reading tastes, dependent I guess on my mood.

I like heroes and heroines who seem real (in the context of the story) to me no matter what genre or era. I like heroes and heroines who don't back down from a challenge, ordnary people who step up to the plate in extraordinary circumstances.

I like the alpha male( probably the delight of finding that vulnerable spot!)

I like the geeky male, who lacks confidence, but would jump off a building for the woman he loves.(even if she doesnt know it yet)

I love the friends turned lovers, cuz that's my story ;)

Characters who can make you chuckle, swoon, cry, curse,cheer.

My keeper shelf has an array of authors that I wnat to be like when I grow up:

Anne River Siddons-Colony
Christina Skye-Christmas Knight
Robin T Popp-Night Slayer series
Stef Ann Holm-Pink Moon
The Morning After-Suzanne Forster
Your Wish is My Command-Donna Kauffman
Noola Ann Mysteries- Andrew Greeley
Romancing the Ordinary-Sarah Ban Breathnach
Mere Christianlity -CS Lewis

Hey, I told you it was an eclectic keeper shelf!;)

Back to the dungeon, I got a finger wound to sear! ;)


Fedora said...

Kristina, Ain't She Sweet is one of my favorite comfort reads, too!! I love a lot of SEP, but that's definitely one of my top favs!

Kristi Cook said...

Ahh, Colony by Anne Rivers Siddons....Siddons is one of my all-time favorite authors. I can hardly choose a favorite--they're all on my keeper shelf. Can't believe I left her off my list! I think Outer Banks is probably my favorite, or Peachtree Road.

As to SEP, what's weird is, as much as I adore Ain't She Sweet, I've never read *anything* else she's written. I keep meaning to, but I don't really know where to start. I'm also afraid that her other books won't live up to that one. There's just something special about it! Colin Byrne is one of my all-time favorite heroes! Just thinking about him makes me sigh...