January has a tough time of things. It can’t be fun following the month quite literally known as ‘the most wonderful time of the year’.
Sure, Jan gets all the excited people on New Year’s Eve, staying up late just to greet it. But then it all goes downhill pretty rapidly from there. The mince pies have been taken off the shelves in supermarkets. The Christmas trees are half dead in our driveways. And there certainly aren’t any more presents to look forward to (no matter how many times you check under the sofa “just in case”). You’ve watched everything you’re even vaguely interested in on Netflix. All in all, it’s a downer (poor January), which is where comfort books come in.
Comfort book are books that make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Books that maybe your parents once read aloud to you. Books you used to read way past bedtime with a torch under the covers. Books that never use the word “doth”. And because our mantra this month is ‘new year, same you’, we think it’s the perfect time to revisit some old friends.
To inspire you, here are our fave comfort books that we’ll be reading this January.
1. Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne
“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.
In many ways, Winnie the Pooh is the literary equivalent of watching videos of unlikely animal friends on YouTube. How often do you see a bear, a teacup pig, a tiger and a kangaroo even on the same continent, let alone hanging out as buds? And that tale of heartwarming cross-species friendship and adventure is just the thing to get you through January. Not to mention a few jars of honey.
2. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
“The three siblings were not born yesterday. Neither were you, unless of course I am wrong, in which case, welcome to the world, little baby, and congratulations on learning to read so early in life.”
Even if you didn’t actually read this series when you were a child, you’ll probably still find them incredibly comforting as a… not-child. The books are quirky and fun and follow the adventures of three orphan children who, spoiler in the title, are constantly running into trouble. We dare you to get through them without literally lol-ing at least once a page.
3. Harry Potter(s) by JK Rowling
“Besides, the world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters. We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”
Oh, Harry. How can you not find comfort in a world where headmasters are as cool as Dumbledore and you can get from one side of the country to the other without setting foot on a train? But maybe the real joy of re-reading Harry Potter is that it will last you all the way through until March.
4. The Lottie Project by Jacqueline Wilson
“There are some teachers – just a few – who have YOU’D BETTER NOT MESS WITH ME! tattooed right across their foreheads.”
Let’s be real, this entire list could just be Jacqueline Wilson books. We are pretty confident that out of the 100+ (mmhm, and you thought your PLL fanfic was long) books she’s written over her career, there’ll be one that speaks to your particular comfort-reading needs. The Lottie Project is one of our faves, telling the tale of an uber popular high school girl who finds a photo of Victorian girl who looks exactly like her and decides to investigate her doppelgänger’s life. Sofa, blanket, bucket of tea: perfect Sunday.
5. Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
“Lilly says I have an overactive imagination and a pathological need to invent drama in my life.”
If your childhood was peppered with princess pillows and tiaras that you wore once and promptly lost, these books will probably be your ideal comfort read. The series follows Mia, a totally down-to-earth girl who lives with her quirky mother in New York. But when she’s 15, her dad lets slip that she’s actually the Princess of Genovia, a tiny country in Europe (fictional, before you use it in a Geography test). Ballgowns, tiaras and important life lessons ensue.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis
“I hope no one who reads this book has been quite as miserable as Susan and Lucy were that night; but if you have been – if you’ve been up all night and cried till you have no more tears left in you – you will know that there comes in the end a sort of quietness. You feel as if nothing is ever going to happen again.”
While it sucks that it’s so cold but not snowing outside (regardless of how many times your check your weather app), a visit to Narnia might just make up for it. The first book in the classic series by CS Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe plunges you into a world of magic and mythical creatures, where animals can talk to humans and the White Witch has ruled for 100 years of deep winter (think GOT, but you know, cuddlier and generally less distressing). Instead of doing a wardrobe clearout in January, just crawl inside an imaginary one.
Hopefully that’s inspired you to raid your stash of comfort books and get reading. Who needs mince pies when you’ve got books?
(We’re kidding. Double check your pantry, just in case one of those pastry bad boys is still floating around in there).
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Image: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe