Home Arts & Lit Features Comfort reading: don’t get too cosy

Comfort reading: don’t get too cosy


Jessie Stanier prescribes a literary cure for those winter-blues. You can also take a look at Online Books’ Comfort Reads list for more inspiration! 

photo credit: pinterest.com
photo credit: pinterest.com

It’s that time of year again: hard grey skies, empty pockets and a we comfort-read, we’re letting university pressures snapping at your heels. Bring on the winter blues.

Since you are perusing the Books section, I think I’ll safely assume that, like me, the pile of leering textbooks sees you engage in a particularly genius form of procrastination. Let’s call it comfort reading. Leafing through print or scrolling on Kindles, we gravitate towards our tried and tested favourites. Be it Tolkien, Rowling, Austen or some other ‘old faithful,’ their words wrap us up like a warm quilt.

Now, as harmless as this kind of escapism is, I’m tempted to consider it the literary equivalent of a package holiday. It’s all-inclusive and unadventurous, and there’s guaranteed sunshine. I put it to you that, when we comfort read, we’re letting University pressures sap our curiosity. 

Reading what we already know and love does little to break winter’s monotony. We’re forgetting the bounty of unexamined literature at our fingertips! There’s more to winter than hiding under your duvet. If you’re not reading for tutorials, why not branch out a little?

Hopefully by now I’ve got you itching for something new to get your teeth into, but perhaps you’re not sure quite where to look. As a starting point, I can’t recommend The Novel Cure by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin highly enough.

It reads like a family medical book, expertly recommending literary respite for every ailment, ambition, mood and sticky situation that life can throw at you. From insomnia to love-sickness – whether you’ve got a hangover, the hump or the hiccups, ‘biblio- therapy’ can prescribe a remedy in a printed (rather than pharmaceutical) fashion. 

Comfort reading has got to be one of the best ways to do your work. It keeps the Exeter goldfish bowl in perspective. So, why not set your sights a little further afield and turn over a new leaf, in a book, this winter?

Jessie Stanier

Lost for a cosy and coffee-filled reading destination? Take our quiz to discover the perfect Exeter book-spot for you! 

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