Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic: COMFORT READS.
My comfort reads confirm what I already believe: things ARE as bad as they seem.
Strangely, I find these books uplifting.
I like knowing I’m not alone.
These are my top ten comfort reads. I wouldn’t call any of them “lighthearted.”
(Well…maybe One Last Stop.)
Would You Rather? A Memoir of Growing Up and Coming Out by Katie Heaney
I read this memoir six months before I came out.
Like Heaney, I had moved to a big city, struggled with anxiety, and grappled with my identity. I felt exhausted and lonely.
I needed to know that someone had gone through something similar and turned out okay.
I also ended up using Heaney’s coming out strategy on my brother (I texted him with a bisexu-whale meme), so this book came in doubly handy.
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
I reread this book recently and cried all over again.
It’s possible to live somewhere for a long time without ever understanding how trapped you are.
It’s also possible to experience beauty in what amounts to a prison.
This book hits me in a deep place.
(By the way, I’m on the books for my Piranesi tattoo!)
The Fire Never Goes Out: A Memoir in Pictures by ND Stevenson
ND Stevenson and I had similar-ish childhoods and coming out experiences.
He survived, he keeps surviving, and he stays making art.
I reread their memoir like a road map.
Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay
I reread this book whenever another anti-abortion law passes. (So…often.)
With Roe v. Wade about to be overturned, some of these essays are on my mind.
I also love the Scrabble tournament essay and the Fifty Shades review. This time around, the Fifty Shades essay inspired me to finally read the series.
I gave up about 40% in, but wow did I try!
In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
This is one of the single most validating books I’ve ever read.
It is written like a horror novel and reminds readers that though horror ends, it lingers.
I find new similarities between this book and my own experiences every time I read it.
It doesn’t feel good, exactly. I just want to be reminded that what happened to me really happened and I didn’t make it up.
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
I thought I’d had the perfect college experience right up until I graduated.
It wasn’t all bad. There were some rough parts, though, that I hadn’t fully processed.
Reading about a fictionalized Yale where secret societies are real and consequences are life and death still feels like the safest way to look back at my own time at college.
Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour
My friends in college used to make movies.
I made a couple off-the-cuff short films with them, but nothing as elaborate as the stuff they’d made together before I showed up. (It’s been years. I still feel left out.)
I have since romanticized the movie-making process (even though I know how fraught it can be.)
Everything Leads to You confirms all my beliefs about the magic of movies.
Emmy and Charlotte uncover a Hollywood scandal. Emmy falls in love with an unknown actress. The three of them join the crew of an independent film where they are severely underpaid. (That and the UNPAID INTERNSHIP are…less romantic.)
I reread this book when I want to believe in magic.
I would love to believe that everything in my life is leading somewhere.
Something inside me still hopes that’s true.
Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham
I am 29 years old and my career has not taken off.
I haven’t had a bedroom in six years.
I’m living in a city that makes me feel lonelier by the second.
Sometimes I feel like Franny Banks is the only person who gets me.
She kept going and everything worked out for her.
This book keeps me hopeful.
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
We follow Kat, a secondary character and friend of protagonist Zachary Ezra Rawlins, for a few years outside the main plot.
At one point, Kat mentions setting aside a story she’s outgrown.
That line has had more relevance in my life of late.
I think a lot about this book and the idea of things ending.
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
I’m used to stories with a Token Gay Friend.
In One Last Stop, all of the heroes are queer.
They pay rent and buy each other dinner and plan pancake feasts.
They live in a big city in a shared apartment and find magic in unexpected places.
This book makes my heart feel huge. I love my chosen family so much.
Those are my top ten comfort reads! I have lots of others I didn’t mention!