Nick Hornby is a feel-good comfort read for me. Even though he tackles people and situations that are difficult there is a hopefulness about his writing and characters that set my little heart a flutter.
I'd be surprised if you weren't at least vaguely aware of About a Boy- the movie with Hugh Grant and Nicholas Hoult was quite popular and pretty damn good in my opinion. It follows the lives of Will, a good but shallow thirty something, and a young boy with a scary home life and quirky personality named Marcus. Their lives become hilariously and tenderly interlinked. Hornby has a real knack of writing believable characters and interesting plots. It would be too easy to make Will into a completely sleazy, disgusting person and have Marcus be the little cherub that turns his life around. Or even to have Will as the rascal-with-a heart-of-gold that makes Marcus cool a-la Danny and Sandy in Grease. Instead we get 3d characters that change and grow and that I was really sad to part with at the end of the book. I gave it three and a half stars, just because it's excellent but not absolutely earth shattering but it's absolutely a book worth the time and money.