I thought about making a list of my favorite comfort reads, but it appears I’ve already done that. In lieu of making another list of comfort reads, I present a list of books that had amazing worlds that were so fully realized I felt like I had been transported to another world (but nothing heavy):
The House in the Cerulean Sea, by T.J. Klune
This recent novel utterly warmed my heart as it whisked me away to a world where magical children are raised in orphanages. I said I wouldn’t put anything heavy on this list and this book is not at all heavy. Instead, it’s a novel of found family and standing up for each other and finding the best in everyone. This book made me tear up in happiness.
The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
What better book to escape into than a book in which characters literally escape into other books? I loved The Eyre Affair since I first read it, yonks ago, and my love for this series has never diminished. I adore the characters. I enjoy the wacky plots. Most of all, I love a universe where characters can pop in and out of books, pet dodos will do tricks for marshmallows, and where there is room for infinite stories.
Shades of Milk and Honey, by Mary Robinette Kowal
What if Pride and Prejudice but magic? Shades of Milk and Honey kicks off another beloved series, in which magical but plain Jane finds the love of her life with a man who embraces her for everything that she is. Along with the romance, we get a magic system that is still being created—not one where everything that’s possible is laid out in black and white—and adventures across Europe and the West Indies.
The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker
This book is one of my go-to recommendations for readers who like love stories but are looking for something different. I’ve been a sucker for stories about living myths and beliefs that people bring with them from the old country since I read American Gods for the first time. The Golem and the Jinni is much lighter than that. This novel tells the story of the titular Golem and Jinni as they find their place in turn of the twentieth century New York. Also, rumor has it that this book will have a sequel sometime in the future.
Cinnamon and Gunpowder, by Eli Brown
This book is an absolute hoot! Sail the high seas with a wild pirate-slash-gourmande in Cinnamon and Gunpowder. Sure, they’re pirates and there’s a bit of murder—but it’s all in a just cause. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for books where an ordinary person gets caught up with characters who are completely themselves, dedicated to a cause, and who sweep all before them as they pursue that cause. I get a kick out of how the usually staid ordinary person is annoyed with whoever is dragging them along on adventures until they learn to kick off society’s restraints and have a damned good time.