rereads vs comfort reads



I’m curious. 🙂

What do you think is the difference between a reread and a comfort read? Or do you think they’re the same thing?
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About Kris

Reads, rants, randoms & R+s. You've been warned. BTW, don't follow me if you're a GLBTQQphobic wanker. It won't end well. For you.
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44 Responses to rereads vs comfort reads

  1. Chris says:

    *is glad that the cat in the photo has more white than Chaos, or I would really be worried about going home today*

    Hmm. That's a good question. There are some books that I enjoy rereading now and again, but they definitely aren't warm and fuzzy comfort reads. For example, while I enjoyed rereading the Adrien English series, it was NOT a comfort read. My comfort reads (such as Carbon and Ash or and Bad Boys, Bad Boys) tend to be much less angsty!

  2. Lily says:

    I rarely reread books. Usually only when it's part of a series and I've waited a while for the next installment. Then I'll read all the books again to get ready for the new one.

    There are always so many new and wonderful books coming out that my TBR is huge. Maybe one day if I ever read all those I would go back and reread some favorites. 🙂

  3. Val says:

    Hi, Kris, I've got to agree with Chris. I think that comfort reads are maybe books you practically know by heart from childhood and you read them again to experience and enjoy favorite scenes, and re-reads are more like what you would do as a professional writer to learn from the techniques of another writer or maybe you're in the mood to explore a certain theme like when I re-read Stephen King's Insomnia ever so often because I enjoy the way he describes all the auras and different levels of reality. But I wouldn't call it a comfort read.

  4. Val says:

    Yes, I'd agree with Lily, too, about re-reading to pick up the plot threads of the last book in a series before starting a new one.

  5. comfort read gives me the warm and fuzzies and cheers me up. I usually re-read the sex bits just because I'm like that.

  6. Tam says:

    That cat looks like my Vanessa. She looked like that last night (without the hat) when the kid grabbed her and actually caught her.

    I usually re-read the sex bits just because I'm like that.

    Umm. What she said. LOL Not quite but you can skip all the descriptions of where they live, their interactions with the dog, blah blah blah (which you need the first time you read it or it's pointless). Interesting the first time around but after that you know it and can get to the relationship part which may or may not include lots of smexin'.

    They are the same for me. Even if a book has a big impact on me I don't often reread it if it didn't give me the warm fuzzies (or warm sumthin).

    I rarely reread before a sequel. I manage to pick up enough to remember. So far anyway.

  7. nichem says:

    Like Lily, I don't usually reread books either, except for series books when a new one's coming out because my memory is crap lately.

    I do sometimes reread the lovey parts and sex scenes of books with couples I really liked, though. I guess you'd call that a comfort read even though I'm not rereading the whole book.

    If I had to make a distinction between a reread and a comfort read, I'd say a reread is something you do to pick up details that you missed the first time or re-familiarize yourself with the material, whereas a comfort read is something you read again because it gives you the warm fuzzies, makes you happy, or relaxes you in some way. A comfort read shouldn't require much mental effort.

  8. Jenre says:

    I'm a bit like Chris. My comfort reads tend to be lacking in angst and give me a warm feeling when I read them. My top comfort read is Heaven by Jet Mykles – GFY, rock star hero and lots of hot sex, perfect. Also Collision Course by KA Mitchell which does contain more serious themes, but has a lightness of touch about it which I find amusing and comforting, plus the scorchometer goes through the roof in that book.

    Re-reads are often books that I've loved in the past, but contain serious themes or angsty plots. I Spy Something Bloody by Josh Lanyon is a book that I often re-read, but not what I would call a comfort read because the tension between the heroes is so high all the time.

  9. Mary Calmes says:

    I'm with Tam, doesn't everyone re-read the sex bits?

    Seriously, I think you re-read a book to get details you missed the first time around. The first time with a new book is character driven, you want to know what's going on with the people you care about. The second time, if you cared enough about the people, lets you into their world through details like a collection of antique spoons or whatever. Why are the spoons important? Maybe it's all he main character has left of his beloved grandmother who was the one person who loved him before now…before his soulmate came along.

    A comfort read takes you to a place, just like a comfort movie, where you don't think, you just relax, let the art flow over you and veg.

  10. Matthew says:

    @Mary: I actually SKIP the sex scenes even when reading something for the first time.

  11. K. Z. Snow says:

    BIG difference. As others have suggested, a reread isn't always a comfort read. Sometimes I just crave a particular theme or a certain author's style, or I'm looking something up that's nagging at me.

    For example, I reread Lovecraft stories quite regularly, but they hardly bring me comfort. That's what I like about 'em.

    (Val, shame on you. You're on jury duty. Pay attention. *g*)

  12. A comfort read is something you know well. Something you can quote long passages of from memory. Ray Bradbury, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Julian May. These are my comfort reads.

    A re-read can be a comfort read. Or it can be something you're coming back to at an older age. Or it can be something you're reading for specifically. I'm rereading the Paddington series with my 10 year old. Now, I've read most, but not all, and it has been a long time. So it's a reread but not a comfort read. Pooh and Beatrix Potter are comfort reads.

    I was thinking just today I might try a re-read of Judith Tarr's The Hound and the Falcon. Or maybe the time for that was five years ago and I shouldn't bother. I'm not sure I still have it. (It's about the struggles of a Sidhe monk within a church that tells him he has no soul)

  13. Comfort reads for me are the books I turn to when my mind is going 90 miles an hour and I can't sleep. In recent memory (which is all I have anymore) those have been the Deviations series and (don't laugh) the Jarheads. I'm pretty sure this ties in with Katiebabs and Tam and Mary and reading the sex bits – because those books are mostly sex bits.

    Re-reads…hmm. I don't do too much of this, although I have a file of e-books called “To re-read” because I want to visit them again for various reasons. Some I read a long time ago and don't remember much other than that I enjoyed them. Others end up there because I read about them on somebody's blog and think that maybe I missed something the first time around because all these people are raving and I'm like huh?

    And there are books I want to re-read because they are that good and are a series (i.e., The Dresden Files) and now that book 12 has come out I'd like to revisit from the beginning.

    Dammit Kris, you make me babble more than anyone I know.

    veri: Soangst
    I prolly wouldn't re-read something that was soangst-y.s

  14. Tracy says:

    When I did the reread challenge last year I picked up books that I had liked in the past to see if I still liked them – but I wouldn't necessarily call them comfort reads…so I'd say they're different for me.

    I have my comfort reads and I really love everything about them and know that they'll hit all my good spots every time.

  15. Amora says:

    Good question! I don't reread many books. I keep them forever and tell myself I will.

    I tend to only reread the really great HOT scenes rather than a whole book. When I do, I guess it's a comfort read, looking for something that felt good or put me in a good space.

  16. Most of my rereads are comfort reads. But I am contemplating rereading Carnival (an GLBT scifi read) because it was so technical and intense with intertwining plots, I feel like I missed a lot and will enjoy it better the second time around.

    Miranda ~ SweetVernal Zephyr

  17. Re-reads are catch up on series books for me as well, or to reintroduce myself to an author that I probably have stopped reading for a while..

    Re-edited books also, I do find I am a sucker for books that are remastered although they most time suck just as much as the first time I read it – but I live in hope one will surprise me one of the days…

    Comfort reads are the ones that fill me up when I am in that particular mood – the in between mood, when I don't want to think, and even though I know what is coming, it so does it for me..

    They also never fails to leave a goofy smile on my face… I love me my comfort reads..

    E.H>

  18. Patti says:

    My rereads are books that I want to go back and experience the story again. My comfort reads are books that, I don't know, make my heart feel good? I can't explain exactly. Usually they're historicals….Julie Garwood's highlanders and Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.

  19. MsM says:

    They're different for me. I've got a lot of books on my keeper shelf that I enjoyed reading, but my 'comfort reads' are usually kept in my night table by my bed.
    Those I pick up and re-read so much they are worn out but I still adore them.

    :o)

    MsM

  20. Ingrid says:

    Comfort reads are those you read when you feel out of sorts, down, unhappy, head ache.
    For me they are the light, not too angsty reads who make me feel better again.

    Re reads can be the same but also more heavy themed books.
    Mysteries I seldom reread because I already know who's done it.

  21. Kris says:

    Thanks everyone for your comments!

    Chris: “Warm and fuzzy” seems to be the descriptor of choice when it comes to distinguishing comfort reads. I think you might have created a trend.

    Lily: I rarely reread series before the next installment comes out. I've only done that once in recent memory and it was only one book! LOL.

    Val: I'm really interested in your thoughts on rereads from a writer's POV, Val. It sounds weird, but I never really thought that this might be something that writers do. A light bulb moment for me.

    Katiebabs chook: “I usually re-read the sex bits just because I'm like that.”

    It only took you mentioning before everyone started admitting it too. Bunch of perves. LOL.

  22. Kris says:

    Tam: “Umm. What she said.”

    Why am I not surprised. 😛

    “They are the same for me. Even if a book has a big impact on me I don't often reread it if it didn't give me the warm fuzzies (or warm sumthin).”

    Warm sumthin?? I'm not even going there. I think a comfort and a reread are more similar for me too. I'm still pondering.

    Richelle: “A comfort read shouldn't require much mental effort.”

    That's more along the lines of how I see it… I think. That is, a comfort read should be/is effortless.

    Jen: Lack of angst in a comfort read seems to be a recurring theme… as does hot sex. 😉

    Mary: Did you just have a plot bunny about an antique spoon collection? *g*

    “A comfort read takes you to a place, just like a comfort movie, where you don't think, you just relax, let the art flow over you and veg.”

    This sounded so good that I'm tempted to ditch the comments and go back to bed with a book. LOL. In all seriousness though, it's really that sense of effortless again, isn't it. To not think and just loose yourself in the fantasy for a little while.

  23. Kris says:

    Matthew: “I actually SKIP the sex scenes even when reading something for the first time.”

    There is something seriously wrong with you.

    KZ: “Sometimes I just crave a particular theme or a certain author's style…”

    I do that too, but some of these are also comfort reads not rereads… I think I'm beginning to confuse myself.

    Angelia: “A re-read can be a comfort read.”

    Oh, thank fuck. I'm no longer confused. It's obviously not totally black and white for some of us.

    BTW, I love that you are rediscovering the Paddington series and other childhood faves with your 10 year old. That's fabulous. 🙂

    Wren: “Dammit Kris, you make me babble more than anyone I know.”

    Awww, the love. Can't you just feel it.

    I only keep the ebooks on my PC hard drive that I know I will reread. The rest go to my external. It's that same with my print. I only keep those that I know I will reread the rest go to the secondhand shop or get donated.

    PS – Jarheads? Srsly, Wren??

  24. Lea says:

    Hey Kris:

    My comfort reads are ones I turn too when I'm feeling really low or in a significant reading slump. I know they will cheer me up and sometimes I can get the wheels back on the bus and will pick up a new read.

    A re-read is a book that was a 5 star read the first time around and I want to read it again to make sure I didn't miss anything.. *g*

    Excellent question.

  25. Kris says:

    Tracy: “I have my comfort reads and I really love everything about them and know that they'll hit all my good spots every time.”

    Because I only keep the books that I know I will reread, I think my 'comfort' reads are more associated with mood… maybe…

    Amora: So, you're a perve too. 😛

    “… looking for something that felt good or put me in a good space…”

    Really?? *waggles eyebrows*

    Miranda: “Most of my rereads are comfort reads.”

    I'm beginning to think that I am more like you, Miranda. Sure there are books that I may reread more than others, but all of my books are kept for rereading purposes and sometimes I just stand in front of my shelves thinking 'now what do I feel like rereading today'. To me, that is a comfort read.

    EH: “Re-edited books also, I do find I am a sucker for books that are remastered although they most time suck just as much as the first time I read it – but I live in hope one will surprise me one of the days…”

    I avoid these like the plague. I either can't be arsed trying to read them again or I liked the first version so much (despite the issues) that I don't want to take a chance on wrecking my original impression.

  26. Jambrea says:

    Some of my re reads are comfort reads, but not all of them. I re read TA Chase ALL the time and some of his are comfort read, but not all of them. I just re read them because I like them. 🙂

  27. Kris says:

    Patti: “My rereads are books that I want to go back and experience the story again.”

    Yes! That's me in a nutshell, Patti. Phew. No more thinking about this one. Now if I could only work out what the hell a comfort read is… LOL.

    MsM: “I've got a lot of books on my keeper shelf that I enjoyed reading, but my 'comfort reads' are usually kept in my night table by my bed.”

    That's very cool. I like the idea of comfort reads being close to hand when you're feeling all snuggly. Me, I keep my tbr pile in my bedroom as a constant reminder that I'm a slack arse and need to start reading them if I wake up in the middle of the night. Let's just say that this approach is not entirely successful.

    Ingrid: I think this is my problem because all the books I keep knowing that I will reread them make me feel good in different ways. Maybe it's the type of goodness that indicates a comfort read for me?? Hmmm…

    Lea: “My comfort reads are ones I turn too when I'm feeling really low or in a significant reading slump.”

    Now I'm confused again because I'm wondering whether the rereadathon that I had last month was actually a comfie phase because I was bored. Well, I know I was bored, but I'm not sure about the comfie thing. Dammit.

    Jambrea: “Some of my re reads are comfort reads, but not all of them. I re read TA Chase ALL the time and some of his are comfort read, but not all of them. I just re read them because I like them. :)”

    *wails* But what's the difference?!

    I'm beginning to think you all are just messing with me.

  28. Chris says:

    No, no, if we were messing with you, we'd be setting this up like a logic problem, perhaps with a Venn diagram just for fun. (All comfort reads are rereads. Not all rereads are comforting.)

  29. Jambrea says:

    A comfort read is something you read when you want to feel better. Something that you know might make you laugh or smile. Makes you feel that first love feel. You know?

    A Re read is something most people do when a new story comes out in a series or a book that you enjoyed to help you get out of a reading slump.

    At least…that's how I look at it. 🙂

  30. I am with Matthew. Sex can get really boring sometimes. I like a lot of plot and purely smut books don't cut it.

    Val has an interesting idea about re-reading to check another writer's style. I do that now and then. Of course, with a semi-eidetic memory the good bits tend to stick. (you're not into horror, so I won't quote Brian Keene at you)

  31. Mariana says:

    Comfort reads to me are books that I go to when I'm in the mood for a particular feeling.

    Re-reads are books that I'll read to fill the void.

    Usually for me though they are inter-changeable. I will go through my library of books every once in a while and “remember” why I enjoyed it and will re-read.

    Comfort books I'll know which one I'm looking for and have a specific yen for. They don't necessarily make me feel good, some actually make me cry… but I know that's how the function for me.

  32. “PS – Jarheads? Srsly, Wren??” –

    It's a phase I go through from time to time. When I last went through a bout of not being able to sleep, I found Rock, Rig and Dick's antics most relaxing.

    Please don't tell me you don't have some dirty little secrets or guilty pleasures.

  33. you should know by now i will always bring up the sex. heh

  34. Sean Kennedy says:

    Comfort reads are those that you need when you're down and just need to escape – for me they're usually the Austens or old childhood faves like The Famous Five or Winnie the Pooh. You can learn so many life lessons from Pooh it's unbelievable.

  35. Emilie says:

    Sometimes I reread stories to see if I'm remembering the details right, or because I want to read something that I can relax and not be surprised by.

    Comfort reads are the ones I practically have memorized, but I know make me feel better. If I start to read them, I can't stop — I get drawn right back into the story. Mostly I like ones that are light, but there are some where the characters have real problems, but I know they work them out. They're stories that worked for me on all kinds of levels.

  36. Mumma J says:

    Hi Sissy, for me comfort reads are those books that make me feel good when I'm down – Jane, Georgette and Agatha (jeebs I'm old)and rereads are for passing the time – Nora, Kay and Linda.

    @ Sean I've often thought about buying good old Enid again so I can reread them, mmmmmm maybe I will.

  37. Kris says:

    Chris: O_o No, now you just sound like Yoda.

    Jambrea: I'm with you now. Thanks for the more info. 🙂

    Angelia: “you're not into horror, so I won't quote Brian Keene at you”

    Thank you. 🙂 I was teasing Matthew… mostly. Sex scenes can definitely get boring. I read something the other day and I found myself skipping most of the scenes. I just wanted to know what happened with the characters.

    Mariana: Now all of that makes total sense to me. That is, that a reread may be something you pick up on a whim and a mood, but a comfort read is something you got to because you have for that particular book and the feelings it inspired in you. I think I'm starting to get the hang of this now. Thank you. 🙂

  38. Kris says:

    Wren: Hmmm, I'm pretty much out there. I think you all know a lot of my guilty pleasures. LOL.

    Katiebabs chook: You're right. I should. 😛

    Sean: “You can learn so many life lessons from Pooh it's unbelievable.”

    You can be such a cutehead, Virtual BB… sometimes…

    Emilie: I think that's why I've been a little confused because my rereads and comfort reads are interchangeable. Sometimes they can be a reread and other times they can be a comfort read. The main thing being that they are familiar and effortless. At least, I think that's it. 🙂

    Hey Mumma! 🙂

    Speaking of Nora, do you still have some of my books of hers or has Boris just been creating holes in the shelves by pushing all the books to the back again?? He's such a brat. *sigh*

  39. Mumma J says:

    Pretty sure that I returned them Sissy, it's that pesky pussycat who's playing games again.

  40. Kassa says:

    I'm going with the majority on this one. There are several books I re-read but they're not the same as comfort reads. I think I've re-read all of Anita Shreve (she just emotionally crushes me) but those aren't comfort reads.

    I think of like Jet Mykles or early LKH (before psycho, super slutness), JD Robb/Nora Roberts are more like comfort reads. Great books that I'll just love when I want something easy and comforting.

    Sometimes my favorite comfort reads aren't the best written but I just *like* them a lot. Jet Mykles Tech Support is one of my all time favorites, Sean Micheal's Love in an Elevator (which no clue why but I really love this book), Sophia Titheniel for hot UF sex. These are definitely no thinking, fun books that just work whenever I read them.

  41. Val says:

    (Val, shame on you. You're on jury duty. Pay attention. *g*)

    Ha, ha! I know — it's disgraceful.

    I'm really interested in your thoughts on rereads from a writer's POV, Val.

    Oh, well, glad you asked! Like with Stephen King's Insomnia, I like to read back over all the things he saw in his imagination when he thought about auras.

    I mean, he didn't just describe a glow of colored light around someone's body. He had blue footprints left behind from where someone walked, and he had rust-colored fog drifting out of a truck's tailpipe, and he had a mom and young son walking hand-in-hand and their auras streamed up overhead and braided together in beige and gold tones like icing on a cake. I mean, wow!

    He also had those people whose life-force had been severed walking around with a black aura collapsed over them like slime. Very creepy stuff!

    And like what Katiebabs was saying, I'm definitely going to re-read the sex scenes to see how other writers made these scenes hot. I mean, I want to learn what I can because I need all the help I can get! (Especially as a longtime reader of science fiction and fantasy, a genre that's not known for its hot sex scenes.)

    Or like what Patti says, My comfort reads are books that, I don't know, make my heart feel good? Wow. I would re-read any number of books if I could figure out how to make my own future books do that for reader. That would have to be the ultimate compliment that a reader could give to a book!

    I think that writers re-read and learn from each other all the time. I often feel like I have a limited imagination. For example, before I read K.Z. Snow's book, The Prayer Waltz, I wouldn't have really thought about the possibilities for humor and for giving texture to a character's personality by showing what kinds of dialog he'd be yelling out during his sex scenes.

    Some characters like hers in that book get carried away by the moment and yell some pretty funny things. I'll re-read humor scenes in books a lot, first letting myself just laugh, and then trying to analyze why I find it so funny.

    (Angelia, I wish I had an eidetic memory! I'm so jealous!)

  42. Kris says:

    Mumma: Figures. The little shit.

    Kassa: “Great books that I'll just love when I want something easy and comforting.”

    Familiarity seems to be the key with a comfort read. Something you know you will enjoy and is like slipping into an old pair of slippers or fat pants. 🙂

    Val: Thanks for that insight. It's fascinating that you would break down scenes to try and find out what made them work for you as both a reader and a writer. It's made me think a little more about the techniques used and why some work more for me than others. Only a little though. 😉

  43. orannia says:

    The cat in the photo is so cute!

    And I think there is a difference (between re-reads and comfort reads), although a comfort read is a subset of re-reads IMO 🙂 Too technical?

  44. Kris says:

    Orannia: “… a comfort read is a subset of re-reads IMO…”

    That's the way that I'm thinking now, Orannia. Just makes more sense to me this way and less hurt for my wee brain. 🙂

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