It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The excuse to stay at home (like we didn’t have one already), curl up, and dive into something fun or cozy or both! My definition of cozy might be a tad different than most, but that’s only because I think cozy can include nonfiction, too! Let’s dive in!
This was a little bit of a sleeper book from Rowley (The Editor), which is a shame because it’s a ton of fun. Patrick has his niblings, Maisie and Grant, for the summer and they’re ensconced in bright, sunny Palm Springs. Patrick is a well known TV star who lost his partner a few years back, so he’s been in self-isolation ever since. But he can relate to his niblings as they’re going through some tough stuff too; their mother has passed away and their father (Patrick’s brother) is in rehab. So while they’re together and healing and learning how to navigate their summer together, Patrick meets Emory, another actor, and sparks fly.
Read Roar Cat Reads’ review of The Guncle here.
This had me at “magical library and books”. Done. Game over. I’m right there. Now, all kinds of novels have been written with this convention, but never quite like this. Hawk, a trans author, puts a ton of heart, heat, and thrills into his books. The first novel in this series, Widdershins, is far too fun and when you combine magic, books, a grumpy ex-dectective, a nerdy scholar, a murder, AND monsters? Sign me right up. I adore this series.
Honestly, anything by Sam Irby is an auto-read for me. It’s her hilarious, deadpan voice and how she tackles all kinds of topics: marriage, aging, chronic illness (I related so hard to her here in particular, as someone whose body often betrays her), and so much more. Everything that falls off her fingertips and is translated into writing makes me that much more of a fan. And honestly, this IS cozy…in a sarcastic, life-affirming, smart, companionable kind of way. Reading Irby is like having drinks in your living room with a good friend who makes you laugh until you cry, and then makes you cry, then laugh again.
I have been a fan of Lavery’s since his work on The Toast (RIP). I followed him to Slate, to his books, and now I simply eagerly await any of his offerings. There is something ephemeral about Lavery’s voice; managing to be funny, imaginative, and at times cryptic and thoughtful. He can rant about William Shatner as well as engage you in a dialogue about Lord Byron or Jane Austen and all of it feels like you get it. Because Lavery does, and so he passes on those strange, hilarious, and oddly specific rants to your brain, too. Like a precious little gift. I recommend reading this with a nice hot toddy or a cup of strong black tea.
If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Is any of this struggle or fighting worth it?”, R. Eric Thomas is here to tell you YES. Bolded, all caps, absolutely, 100% YES. It’s hard not to feel down about the last few years, and turning to books for comfort is something I think a lot (and I mean A LOT) of us have done. Add Thomas to your feel good list. He’s struggled with self-acceptance and image, racism, sexuality, religion, and yeah, that question of, “What the hell am I even fighting for?” It’s an affirmation of what we see as joyful in life, as worth it, and he fills the book with hilarious and honesty, a honey-sweet combination that we all need a little bit in tougher days.