Fathoming Books

Fathoming Books: 6 Features of a Chillout Read

I should start this by pointing out the differences between a chillout read and a comfort read (which I’ve already done a list about). A comfort book is something personal to you. Something you grew up with or just something you love going back to or that you turn to if you’re feeling upset. A chillout read might be a book you’ve never read before. It’s a book you read that makes you feel so relaxed afterwards that you feel like you’ve had a massage. It’s a book that doesn’t challenge you from the start but takes you on a relaxing ride through a sweet story. Yes, there’s a degree of overlap with comfort reads but I’m going to treat them like they’re different for the sake of this list.

So, here are six features of a comfort read.

1 ft – Your Fantasy Setting

Fathoming hexagon 1ftTo clarify, this isn’t always a magic fantasy setting. It’s just your personal perfect setting. It could be a tropical island. It could be a cabin in a snowy forest. It could be a palace. It could just be a part of the world you wish you could visit. Wherever you want to go, this book has it. It has everything you wish to find in that place whether it’s wildlife you always wanted to see in the flesh, a warm crackling fire to sit by at night or just brilliant meals served every day. It’s the sort of setting that makes you feel warm inside just thinking about. For me, it would be somewhere snowy and lonely like a cabin in the forest (but with perfectly working communications with the outside world and several escape options – I know how these kinds of stories work!).

2 ft – Characters You Wish Were Your Friends/Family

Fathoming hexagon 2ftThey’re full of words of wisdom that you wish you had come up with or that you would remember to put into effect more often. They reassure you when the main character goes through a similar situation to what you might be in. They give the main character the attention, support or a big opportunity (like an all-expenses paid trip to a month or two of luxury) you wish you had. They make you laugh when you need a laugh. They have that one brilliant scene that makes you reel back for a minute and go ‘wow, why aren’t my friends/family like that’. If you’re lucky, they will insert themselves into your life in a manner of speaking. They say that you unconsciously imitate the people you like. When you’ve finished the book, you’ll remember their quotes, repeat them to others and, perhaps, come close to being those great characters that you enjoyed. Or, you’ll imagine what they might say to you and try to follow their advice. Either way, the characters will make you smile and make your world a little brighter.

3 ft – Cliches You Love

Fathoming hexagon 3ftJust because you’ve seen it a hundred times before doesn’t mean you don’t mind seeing it again. We all have our own favourite cliches. We love it when an author can play with them and put new spins on them. However, even if the author plays them straight, they still make you smile and inwardly say, ‘oh, there it is’. Like a familiar recipe, you know what’s going to come next and you could probably see what’s coming a long way off but that doesn’t mean you don’t like it. The same goes for plot twists. Yes, you know that the seemingly standoffish gentleman that the clever, witty Regency gentlewoman hates at first will turn out to be her perfect match but you’re just here to enjoy the ride, not be thrown out of your seat by the shock of a big twist.

4 ft – Cute Scenes

Fathoming hexagon 4ftI don’t just mean romantic scenes either. I mean a scene where a party goes really well or the main character realises something important about themselves. It could just be an outing with kids who just want to be kids (see the adventures in The House In the Cerulean Sea). It’s something that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy and ignore that little voice in your head saying that the real world doesn’t work that way. There will be a good load of cute scenes too. Not just a couple of happy moments in a character’s downtime but a constant stream of adorable moments. If they have an impact on the main character and show that they were wrong about something or that they had a talent for something they never considered before, then that’s all the better. A chillout read is supposed to feel like a warm blanket and that means a lot of soft, cuddly scenes.

5 ft – Not Too Long

Fathoming hexagon 5ftThis depends on who you are as a reader, of course. Personally, if I want to chill out, I don’t tend to commit to a long series and prefer a nice self-contained story that isn’t contained in a book big enough to serve a doorstopper. It could be something you take on holiday with you or something you can binge if you have a spare afternoon. Some outliers might be a large hefty book that you can dip in and out of but those are few and far between. When reading a chillout read, you don’t want to have your brain tied in knots over heavyweight world building or tangled character arcs. You want everything to be nice and easy on the brain. If it is long, it’ll be at a nice slow pace. If it’s short, then everything should be wrapped up by the end. Maybe, you like a question to chew on after the book is closed. This book will give that to you. It won’t outstay its welcome and it won’t take up more headspace than it needs to.

6 ft – Happy (not realistic) Ending

Fathoming hexagon 6ftLet’s be honest, we know this would never happen in reality but who cares? We are reading to chill out, not to pull ourselves back down to earth. We just need to have a moment to imagine that this really could happen, that the stars could align just right, that people could communicate that well or luck would be on our side. Or, that magic really could make it all right. Everything will have been a fairly easy ride for the characters up until that point and the climax will likely just be the extra sweet icing on a sugarly piece of goodness. If there’s some tragedy, then it’ll be sorted out soon and in a very satisfying way. You won’t feel like any real injustice was done to the characters and that everyone acquitted themselves well in the end. Who cares if you know that bad character wouldn’t give in just like that or you know that it’ll be all downhill from there? Everyone’s happy and so are you.

Which is your favourite chillout read? What makes a great chillout read in your opinion? Let me know in the comments below!

I hope to see you again very soon.

Cool Text - Laura 319874629599889

3 thoughts on “Fathoming Books: 6 Features of a Chillout Read”

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