old books magical comfort read reading

7 Magical comfort reads

The definition of a bookworm according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is a person who likes to read books and who spends a lot of time reading and studying.  The definition of the Urban Dictionary states:  A bookworm is a person who is so fascinated by books that he does not know what is happening in the world.

The definition of chocolate cake is a cake flavoured with melted chocolate or cocoa powder, but there is no definition for books that makes you feel like you are eating chocolate cake.   We need a word for that.   Any ideas?

My definition of a bookworm is someone to whom to read is to breath.  Even though I have a busy life and five kids I am always looking for stolen moments when I can stick my nose in a book.  I read while I wait for the bath water, while blow drying my hair,  waiting in line, waiting for kids, every moment waiting is time better spend reading.  If you have a full, busy life every five minutes count.

My house is full of books, my Ipad is loaded with more books that I will ever find the time to read in my lifetime and even though there is soooo many books that I still want to read there is some books that are like old friends that welcome you home.   You pick them up when you’ve hit a bump in the road, or a bit of a rough patch or just when you need a little bit of magic.

These are the books that I pick up when I need a hug and a little bit of comfort.


1)  Like water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

“There are some things in life that shouldn’t be given so much importance, if they don’t change what is essential.”

book chocolate like water laura esquivel

This is a book where you leave your cynical beliefs behind and enjoy it like you would a fairy tale.  Savour it for the beauty, magic and wonderful cast of characters.

It is the story of Tita, the youngest daughter of her family, doomed by tradition to stay home and look after her ageing mother instead of marrying for love.  Tita falls in love with Pedro at first sight, but her mother forbids the marriage and offer him the hand of her sister, Rosaura, instead.

Tita grew up in the kitchen and each chapter starts with a separate month and recipe based on the events in the story.  Tita’s cooking is influenced by her emotions and love for Pedro.  One of the magical moments is that on the wedding day Tita’s tears fall into the meringue, this ends in a flood and fills everyone at the wedding feast with a longing for lost loves and roads not taken.

If you are an adventurous cook you can try the recipes like Quail in Rose Petal Sauce, it’s a bit above my skill level in the kitchen but reading about it was exquisite.

Read this book for:     The recipes, the old style charm, the forbidden romance and the complicated dynamics of what makes a family.






2)  Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

“Take a pinch of marigold to stimulate affection, add a dash of snapdragon to repel evil influences, finish with a generous helping of rose petals to encourage love, then stand back and let nature take its course. “


Comfort read, garden spells

Book, Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen



Garden Spells is a book of about the Waverley family.  For generations the woman of the Waverley family possessed a unique magic which kept people at at distance.   Claire is a successful caterer that makes dishes from the herbs and flowers that grows in her garden that affect the people who eats them.  When her sister, Sydney, returns home after years of absence with a little girl of her own Claire’s quiet life is turned upside down.   The book is full of herbal potions, magical garden lore and an apple tree that throws fruit at you if it does not agree with your life decisions.   It is a sweet, enchanting book about an charming, endearing family.

Read this book if:  You have a sister,  if you are a hopeless romantic or if you have endearing, strange family members.





3)   When Autumn Leaves by Amy S. Foster

“Not everyone may believe in the same thing, but everyone can believe that even the darkest, coldest winter will move over and make room for spring.


When Autumn Leaves


Autumn is a member of the Jaen, “an ancient order of woman who dedicate their lives to the service of others” and the resident witch of a tiny town called Avening.   There the shoe in the window always fit, you can buy love potions at the corner shop and the woods at the outskirts of town might just be the doorway to another world.

Autumn is promoted to a higher coven and must find a new witch to replace her.  She asks the woman around town to submit letters why they believe they are qualified to replace her.  She ends up with a short list of thirteen and each chapter deals with a separate character on her list.

The author is an award-winning song writer that wrote for songs for Michael Buble and Andrea Bocelli.  The prose is beautiful and the imagery makes me want to pack my bags and move to Avery immediately.

Read this book for:   The beautiful descriptive language,  the quirky characters and if you have ever hoped that magic is real.

buy3._V192207739_When Autumn leaves


4)   The House at the end of Hope Street by Menna van Praag

“There is no going back in life. No return. No second chance. When you waste your days, they are wasted forever. So be honest about the things you really want, and do them, no matter how fearful you might be.”


Magical comfort reads

The House at the end of Hope Street Menna van Praag



The house stood at the end of Hope street for nearly two hundred years giving refuge for woman in need. You can stay for ninety-nine nights and then you must leave. The house has magical abilities and heals woman that show up on the door step. Alba is walking through Cambridge, England when she stumbles across the house and decide to stay. She discovers that past residents includes famous writers like Beatrix Potter and George Eliot.

Magical, quirky, full of hope – just a few of the words used to describe this book. You will fell in love with the rich cast characters of which the house is the most enchanting one.

Read this book for:  The celebration of woman, the enchanting house and the beautiful literary references.





5)    Julia’s Chocolates by Cathy Lamb

 “… I would far rather get to be ninety years old and look back and say, “I tried my damnedest” to succeed, rather than get to be ninety and think, “I wonder what would have happened if only I had done something different.”




Julia’s Chocolates is a funny novel about strong, eccentric woman living in Oregon. It starts when Julia Bennett leaves her abusive fiancé and throws her wedding dress into a tree.  The book follows Julia’s journey back to herself through friendship and making chocolate.   You will cry and sometimes you will laugh till you cry. A truly endearing book full of lovable, eccentric characters which shows that you can find healing in friendship.    You will meet Aunt Lydia, who has painted her house pink,  Caroline Harper, a physic who hears the screams of the world and Lara Keena, a ministers wife who feels trapped.  The woman will start to feel like old friends and you will root for Julia to find a place to call home.

Read this book for:  The wedding dress in the tree, the love of truly good chocolate and the quirky characters and wonderful friendships.



6)     Nutmeg by Maria Goodin

” I am everything you ever taught me, even when you thought I wasn’t listening.”



In the UK the book is titled Nutmeg, in Australia The Storyteller’s Daughter and in the US The Kitchen of Half Truth. I have the UK copy called Nutmeg.



It is the story of Meg and the truth, half-truths, lies and everything in between her mother told her when she was growing up.mother used to tell her first tooth was so sharp that her mother used her as a can opener; she lived in a world of fairies and talking animals. At five the other children laughed at her in school for her beliefs which leads to her turning her back on the magical fantasies told by her mother and decided to turn to science.

After finishing her degree in Science she comes home to a dying mother and have to deal with the mystery of her mother’s lies and past.

Read this book for:  The complicated relationship between mother and daughter,  the humour and the power of stories.





7)   The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister

“Life is beautiful. Some people just remind you of that more than others.”




The School of Essential Ingredients is a book about eight students that attend a cooking class on Mondays in Lillian’s Restaurant.  Each chapter has a cooking lessons from Lillian and follow a different character and gives you a glimpse in their lives.  Students include a young mother, an Italian kitchen designer and a widower mourning his wife.       Lillian has discovered that you can heal many wounds through cooking and she teaches this to her Monday night students.   Each of the character’s stories centers on a different dish or ingredient and changes the way that they see the world.   Through cooking the students start to heal their own lives.  An enjoyable, relaxing read.   The second book in the series is called The Lost Art of Mixing.

Read this book for:   The delectable descriptions of food and the sensual writing.  Do not read this if you are hungry.





These books are all infused with beautifully written words about cooking, complicated relationships and magic and can be classified as Magical Realism.   They feel like old friends with whom I have a quick cup of coffee to catch up after a difficult day.  Pure comfort.  I am always looking for new suggestions to add to my growing to be read pile.  What is your comfort read?

If you liked this post you might enjoy  Unforgettable Dr. Seuss Quotes

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This post was linked here:   The Book Nook at Create With Joy

4 replies
  1. Juli
    Juli says:

    Hey there! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be
    ok. I’m undoubtedly enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.

  2. Create With Joy
    Create With Joy says:

    Thank you for sharing these awesome books with us at The Book Nook at Create With Joy – I see several I would love to read and esp love the quotes!

    Look forward to seeing you at The Book Nook #6 this weekend! 🙂

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