Obviously, this picture was not taken on a train, but at my dad's house where I'm uploading this post from
Obviously, this picture was not taken on a train, but at my dad’s house, where I’m uploading this post from. I’m drinking that tea as we speak 🙂

While I was growing up, my mother and I had a special term for books that we read the same way as one would eat chocolate: as a treat, without any effort, immediately making you feel warm and fuzzy inside. We called these ‘sink-away’ books (in Dutch ‘wegzak boeken’) because they feel like sinking into a warm bath. They completely immerse you in another world, making you feel like you aren’t reading at all, but rather living a nice adventure with your fictional friends.

Having just completed one of these books on a long train journey up to my ‘childhood home’ and feeling slightly sentimental because I miss its main character already, I’ve started to wonder –

I don’t read much ‘adult chicklit’ or ‘light romances’ or whatever this is called (help!). I generally prefer books with several layers that have some kind of arty, ‘complexity of real life’ feel to them. (Snob alert :p.) These books intrigue me, inspire me, and fill me with wonderful new insights, but they never make me feel as cosy as a ‘sink-away’ book. As much literature as I have studied, it is just really nice to read about an uncomplicated world where people go on sunny adventures and live happily ever after.

The book I just finished is called Lydia, written by Natasha Farrant. It is a very funny, light, and surprisingly clever re-imagining of Pride and Prejudice from Lydia’s perspective, given to me for my birthday by two friends who appear to know me very well ;). I shan’t spoil the plot for you – if you enjoy the original, but also have an open mind for deliberately unconventional interpretations, I suggest you give it a read. It was lovely to be in that universe again and have such a warm-hearted, passionate, and head-strong companion by my side.

So why do I not read this kind of book all the time? To start, real ‘sink-away’ books are very personal and very rare. It isn’t often that a book hits exactly the right tone with me like that, and when it does, the book I adore might mean nothing to you. There is little way of knowing which book will have a warm-bath effect and which will be enjoyable-but-not-captivating or plain-old-boring. Moreover, putting more ‘effort’ into great works of literature does pay off. I worry that if I only read ‘easy’ books, I would ultimately feel unfulfilled. I need to alternate to appreciate (that would make one cheeky bumper-sticker).

What it is that makes cosy books so special? I still don’t know. The only thing we can do is reserve some space on our bookshelves to gather a short row of books on that never fail to amuse us, warm us, and cheer us up when we’re sad. What’s on yours?


4 thoughts on “A Book like a Warm Bath

  1. Hi Emmie! Been absent from the blogging word for a while, so it’s a bit strange popping out of nowhere. Still, I’m so proud of how you’ve been consistently blogging your little anecdotes and thoughts. As a reader, I’ve encountered lots of those “sink-away” books. I think my most recent one is Howl’s Moving Castle by Dianna Jones. It was spectacular and reminded me a lot about my childhood. Lydia sounds fascinating! Love your content!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for this lovely message! I’ve only read Charmed Lives by Dianna W Jones and that was a while ago, but I remember it as very good. I loved the Howl’s Moving Castle film though, so I’m adding it to my goodreads TBR as we speak.


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