This week I’m heading across the Atlantic to meet Canadian author Tom Halford. Tom lives in Newfoundland where I suspect the chilly winters provide ample opportunity for comfort reading!
Thanks for having me on your blog, Rosie. I really appreciate it.
When I think of my favourite comfort reads, I always think of the bildungsroman. The bildungsroman is roughly defined as the novel of development, and these types of books usually focus on a younger person coming of age.
Here are my top five comfort reads.
Of Human Bondage W Somerset Maugham
When I started reading this book, I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. I can remember sitting in my parents’ basement over the Christmas holidays. There was this dusty, smelly red-orange chair that I had stuffed into my bedroom. This was where I befriended Philip Carey, Maugham’s protagonist, who has to come to terms with the fact that he will never become a professional artist. He chooses a more practical path and becomes a doctor. This book had a strange effect on me. Even though the conclusion was ultimately about choosing to be practical, Maugham’s style and character development led me to be even more obsessed with writing novels. I come from a family where almost everyone is a dentist (this sounds like a joke, but it’s true). After reading this book, I knew that had to at least try to be a writer. If I became
David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
Where was I when I read this book? I believe I was staying at my parents’ camp while I worked at a nearby campground on Lake George, New Brunswick. This was one book that I didn’t want to end. There are a number of parallels between Philip Carey and David Copperfield. Both of them lose their mother at a young age. Both meet a host of characters both good and bad. I’m not sure why I was so drawn to these two books. I don’t have much in common with either hero, but they’re both great
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, JK Rowling
By the time I read the Harry Potter series, I was finally out of my parents’ house. My wife and I even own our own house now!
Currently, I end up driving everyone to where they need to be and am in our van for roughly an hour and a half each day. In the fall, I listened to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in the van on a loaned copy from the library. Harry Potter is an incredible main character, and each one of the supporting characters
The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Samuel Pepys
On that note, I’m going to argue that The Diary of Samuel Pepys can be considered a bildungsroman. It’s not a novel but a series of diary entries spanning from 1660 to 1669, so I’ll lose the battle in relation to the “roman” of bildungsroman. However, it is a book where the reader gets to see a clear development in Pepys. These developments are not always better for Pepys on a personal level. His relationship with his wife becomes increasingly strained, but he advances considerably in his professional life. So, even in relation to “
I don’t care though. I love Pepys. Of any literary figure, Pepys is the most alive to me. I feel as though I have gone back in time between 1660-1669 and hung out with him. This was at a lonely time for me, before I’d met my wife (yes, I also read The Diary of Samuel Pepys in my parents’ basement), and reading about Pepys’s life was one of my most comforting reads.
Mean Boy, Lynn Coady
Lynn Coady’s Mean Boy is more of a
The comfort that I find in the bildungsroman genre is that the main character usually becomes a friend. I learn about his or her life from a young age, the struggles and the successes. In a way, I feel like Philip Carey, David Copperfield, Harry Potter, Samuel Pepys, and Lawrence Campbell are more than characters; they are good friends who I knew very well for a short period of time.
Tom Halford lives with his family in Newfoundland, Canada. His novels
He maintains a Twitter page: twitter.com/tomhalfordnovel
And he maintains a Youtube account: youtube.com/user/CyrilTrout
Tom’s debut novel Deli Meat is published by Crooked Cat Books and available on Amazon.
Thanks to Tom for sharing his choices and