For some people, it's murder mysteries. For others, it's Georgette Heyer Regency romances, or the reliable battiness of P.G. Wodehouse, or escape into high fantasy.
For me, comfort reading means kids' books - the kind of books I devoured when I was a child myself. It doesn't have to be the exact same books. In fact I've been overjoyed to discover some "new" authors lately - new to me, at least - whole new shelves of treasures to savour. What I love most are old-fashioned story-tellers, writers with safe hands, where the writing is so clear and assured that I can forget that I'm reading, and I begin to live inside the story. Strong and complex characters are important, but an evocative setting draws me in, too.
So who have I been turning to? My "new" authors are K.M. Peyton and Cynthia Voigt; I also have a Rumer Godden waiting on the bedside pile. Noel Streatfeild is always reliable. These are books that need to be read as books - holding the battered paperback in my hands, turning the slightly yellowed pages is part of the comfort experience. Reading these books on an electronic device (can't you just see my nose wrinkling in distaste?) would be like trying to eat macaroni cheese in pellet form. Pointless.
And the other day I wavered outside a secondhand book shop I hadn't visited before (Barwon Booksellers in Geelong). 'You're not here to buy anything,' said my friend sternly.
'I know,' I said. 'But I just have to look. What if they have The River at Green Knowe?'
And you know what, faithful reader? THEY DID!!
What's your comfort reading?