I’m on a cozy mystery kick lately. My top three: Agatha Christie (the master), Miss Fisher, and Flavia de Luce. I like them because I can read them really quickly, and they tick one of my favourite boxes: “wasting” a big chunk of time on a book.
Since I learned to read I have loved to dive into a book like its a swimming pool and stay in it until I’m exhausted and shivering (i.e., the book is finished). I have several memories of doing this.
- When I was about 11, I spent an entire rainy afternoon curled up in a wing chair in the living room reading A Wrinkle in Time and A Swiftly Tilting Planet back to back, over and over. I read them each 3 times.
- I challenged myself to read Narnia in three days (did it) and Lord of the Rings in the same (it took four, because my mom made me do stuff, ugh).
- When the seventh Harry Potter book came out, I stood in line to get it at midnight, then read it until it was finished (at 6am).
- I often go on Terry Pratchett benders and reread five or six of them in a row.
I’ve had this practice written off as being “just easy books” and not “real” reading – i.e., non-fiction or intensity books. That’s really annoying to me. I read a lot of meaty stuff, too, but I’m a sensitive flower and I like having a good immersive book available so I can check out sometimes. Lots of people have talked about the value of escapism in books, so I don’t need to cite a bunch of reasons, but I do want to say that that attitude persists and it’s annoying.
I will always love a book that feels like cozy jammies. I also love books that move me, change me, teach me, and shock me; I’ve learned so much from books, and I have a long list of “serious” books that I’ve found invaluable in shaking my privileged, sheltered self. But it’s really hard not to feel like I should read and write something serious, when it’s pretty clear that I gravitate towards the cozy end of the literary spectrum.
Maybe one day I’ll write a serious book. For now, swimming pool/pyjama/cozy stories it is.