When life hands you lemons...

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

 But sometimes life keeps throwing lemons at you at high velocity and you don't have any sugar and your pitcher is broken and the water is contaminated.

It has been that kind of week.  That is another reason my husband gave me my anniversary gift early. He was trying to improve the week. I am not going to go into detail about what made the week bad, some of it is other people's personal business.  However, this week has gotten me thinking about comfort books because when life stinks the best thing to do is curl up on the sofa under a big afghan with a hot cup of tea and read something that makes you happy.  Thank goodness it has cooled off in the last couple of days so the cup of tea and the afghan are possible. So without further ado here are the books that make me happy even on the worst days.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.  It was the first Austen I ever read and I have since read it dozens of times.  It is possible that Persuasion is my favorite now, but on bad days it is Pride and Prejudice that I pull from the shelf.  Who can resist Lizzie and Mr. Darcy?  Mr. Collins is always good for a laugh, especially his letter of thanks after his visit.  If you finish reading it and still need more comfort you can always watch the miniseries.  If you emerge after all of that and your week is still bad, well, I am not sure there is any hope.

Anything by Georgette Heyer.  I have an entire shelf of her books.  I discovered her at the public library when I was about thirteen.  The first one I read was Friday's Child.  I know they are Regency romances but what you have to realize is that she basically started the genre and they are well written.  Heyer did a lot of research to make sure her novels were historically accurate.  Besides, they are just plain fun and quite witty. They may not be great literature but they make me happy. Even the ridiculous covers make me smile.

books--Georgette Heyer

Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher. I am not sure why this one is a comfort book.  After all, quite a few sad things happen in it.  But it ticks all the boxes in other ways.  It is hugely long, I love reading about England during WWII, and it pulls you in so you forget the real world exists.  Just what is needed on a bad day.

Angela Thirkell, especially her earlier books.  Some of her later ones can become a bit labored but the early ones are a pleasure.  You fall into this English country life world, full of characters, where nothing much ever happens but what does happen is peaceful.  Even the deaths are never a surprise.  All the characters connect from book to book and reading her books is like sinking into a Victoria Sponge cake, if that were possible.  (I am tired and I am not sure that made any sense but I am going to leave it for the one person who can follow my bizarre comparisons.)

The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  These were some of my first loves.  Sometimes going all the way back to your childhood is the only thing to do.

I'll stop there or this will just turn into a giant list of all the books I love.  And since if I like a book I am pretty much guaranteed to reread it, many books turn into comfort books.

What do you read when you are having a bad day?  I would love to know.


  1. Pride & Prejudice will always be my fave and will always cheer me up! My husband won't be home for a few hours tonight so you know I am pulling out the BBC version ;) I have only read The Grand Sophy by Georgette, I LOVED it! I am so overwhelmed by choices and am not sure which one of hers to read next!

    1. She did write a lot of books, didn't she? I especially like Cotillion, The Unknown Ajax, and The Black Sheep. Her mysteries are fun too. But really, you can't go wrong with any of her books.They are all fun.

      Now I feel like I need to watch P&P again. I love the BBC version.

  2. I have that same edition of The Quiet Gentleman! I think that's my favorite of her books, and a definite comfort read - though Cotillion, The Unknown Ajax and The Talisman Ring are high on the list (of her books) as well. I would also have Laura Ingalls Wilder and Angela Thirkell - and Louisa May Alcott as well. I tend to read The Long Winter when I am stressed, because at least I'm not stuck inside in a blizzard twisting hay sticks and grinding wheat all day :)

    I'll have to think who else is on my comfort list. I hope that your weekend goes better than your week.

    1. Oh yes! Cotillion is one of my favorites and the Unknown Ajax is high on my list. My daughter just asked me which Little House book was my favorite and I said The Long Winter.

      I am always curious about other people's comfort books. I always look at their bookshelves first, and then want to know what they read over and over. I think both things tell you a lot about a person. I guess I am just nosy about books which is probably why I read blogs!

  3. I have a personal story about Persuasion. When I was in high school, a big bookstore opened near Jakarta. My father was lucky enough to be invited to the opening and I was even luckier to be his plus one. So the guests had a whole bookstore to themselves before it was opened to the general public.

    Somehow I entered into a chat with a sweet expat lady near the Austen shelf. She pointed to Persuasion and said “This, this is my desperate book.” What’s a desperate book you ask? It’s the book you turn to when everything turns to shit and you desperately need some comfort. How could I not purchase Persuasion after such a review?

    But my desperate book is still Pride and Prejudice also. It never, ever fails to make me laugh.

    And what a coincidence! I just got two Georgette Heyer novels: Cotillion and Devil's Cub. I've been reading a lot of dense books lately and I now want something light, fun, witty, and airy.

    Oh, I've replied to your request for Japanese and Indonesian literature recommendations. Be warned that it is LONG!

    1. Have fun reading the Heyers. They are perfectly witty, airy, and fun, just what is needed sometimes.

      Thanks for the recommendations. I read it through quickly and will go back when I have time and look up the books and decide what I want to start with. I appreciate the long response!