For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:
This week, I wasn’t really feeling the topic:
January 22: Books I Meant to Read In 2018 but Didn’t Get To
So I decided to do something a bit different. Since I’ve been kind of stressed lately I’m sharing some of my favorite comfort reads. These are great for when you need cheering up.
This is a rare case where I prefer a film adaptation to its literary source because the film developed some things that the book didn’t. But that also makes the film a bit heavier. The book its lighter than air, which is why its a great cure for a bad moon.
From a literary point of view, Pride and Prejudice is obviously far superior, but from a “happy” perspective the modern craziness of this appeals to me. I recognize Bridget’s overwhelming life with family, job, friends, dating etc, and while Bridget is too over the top to be realistic, that recognizability helps me to relate a bit.
I prefer Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle, but I don’t consider it a “happy” book in the same way, because a few parts make me sad. This one is… sillier. But ultimately it’s about resilience. When a wealthy-ish man must flee the country for legal reasons his four kids must figure out how to exist in the world without Daddy’s money. The things they come up with aren’t always moral, are sometimes shocking, but usually goodhearted.
This spoof of gothic, melodramatic novels always makes me smile. I love Flora Poste, the Londonite who comes to Cold Comfort Farm and tries to fix the lives of her relatives who live there from her Uncle Amos who preaches fire and brimstone; to her cousin Seth who loves movies, but does nothing around the farm but impregnate the the serving girl; to Aunt Ada Doom who hasn’t been quite right since she “saw something nasty in the woodshed…”
This also has some sad parts. We lose characters that we’ve come to love. But Anne’s characteristic optimism makes it feel comforting even when we do.
Any Jane Austen has a certain comfort factor. What I love about Emma though is that it’s full of imperfect people with good intentions. People are silly, petty, frivolous, but no one is really bad.
Major Pettigrew is a cranky old man who falls in love with someone very unexpected in the comedy of manners. It fits in very well with my love of authors like Jane Austen, Barbara Pym, Stella Gibbons, etc.
I had trouble picking just one Ibbotson novel for this list, since most of her books are great comfort reading. I went with this one because it’s got a nice “slice of life” quality. It’s set around a square in Vienna in 1911. We get to know it, and the characters that live there, and they come to feel like friends.
This novel, about an orphan girl who makes a home for herself never fails to make me smile. It’s reminiscent of The Secret Garden, but less broody and gothic.
A lot of the time (especially when things are stressful) I feel like if I just had a bit of magic things would be easier. But this book is a nice reminder that that probably isn’t the case! Still the fact that it’s got a tight knit family at its core makes it a great comfort read.