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Source: (consider it) Thread: Literary comfort food
la vie en rouge
Parisienne
# 10688

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Wanted: unchallenging, uncomplicated reading material of a heart-warming nature, liable to promote warm fuzzy feelings of happiness.

I am thinking The Wind in the Willows and The House at Pooh Corner.

Suggestions?

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HCH
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"The Throme of the Erril of Sherril" by Patricia McKillip"
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Helen-Eva
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P.G.Wodehouse books? Things always come out right for Jeeves and Wooster.

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Ariel
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# 58

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quote:
Originally posted by la vie en rouge:
I am thinking The Wind in the Willows and The House at Pooh Corner.

Totally agree with "The Wind in the Willows".

How about "The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency"? It has a lovely sunny feel to it, and the Precious Ramotswe books always perk me up. I'd describe them as heartwarming.

"Lark Rise to Candleford" by Flora Thompson (forget the TV series, this is simply a beautiful, enjoyable pastoral autobiography) and "A Country Child" by Alison Uttley are wonderfully rich, very refreshing, and leave you - well, me, anyway - wanting more.

Thanks for starting this thread. I'll note suggestions with interest.

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Welease Woderwick

Sister Incubus Nightmare
# 10424

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Following with a bit more Milne:

When We Were Very Young.

and how about:

Little Lord Fauntleroy ?

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Sipech
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Normally I like recommending Thomas Hardy and H.P. Lovecraft, but I don't they fit your criteria.

How about anything by Dame Barbara Cartland or Jules Verne?

You could also try Love in the Time of Cholera.

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Lyda*Rose

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# 4544

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Marley and Me? Big, fuzzy, goofy dogs are always winners.

Any old anthologies of columns by Erma Bombeck: life for an American housewife, homey and hilarious. [Cool]

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Brenda Clough
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Comfort reads for me involve plot, so that I can fall into the story like a well and not come out. Detective novels, always good. The Curse of Chalion, LOTR, Austen, Heyer, Forrester.

Here is an entire blog post discussing Comfort Reads, with masses of recommendations.

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Pigwidgeon

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quote:
Originally posted by Lyda*Rose:
Marley and Me? Big, fuzzy, goofy dogs are always winners.

Any old anthologies of columns by Erma Bombeck: life for an American housewife, homey and hilarious. [Cool]

Dog books are only winners when they end happily. I can't bring myself to read Marley and Me.
[Frown]

Many years ago I was a fan of Erma Bombeck, but she grew stale very rapidly (and now her themes are very dated).

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Pigwidgeon

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quote:
Originally posted by Helen-Eva:
P.G.Wodehouse books? Things always come out right for Jeeves and Wooster.

Many years ago I was dumped by my first serious boyfriend and was heartbroken. The one thing he did for which I will always be grateful was introducing me to PGW. His books -- which always work out in the end despite seeming impossibilities -- helped me through much heartbreak when I couldn't concentrate on anything heavier.

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Hedgehog

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For joy of reading, I'm fond of Michael Ende's The Neverending Story provided that you can get it in the proper red and green ink.

Less demanding and also fun, there is Ende's The Night of Wishes.

But your initial instincts are good. The House at Pooh Corner is an excellent choice.

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Polly Plummer
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I always find the Brother Cadfael books very soothing. You know that the baddies will get their comeuppance, the young couple will be brought together to live happily ever after, and the Benedictine way of life will continue untroubled.
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Carex
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Indeed, Brother Cadfael jumped to my mind as well as I read through the other recommendations, due in part, I'm sure, to the calm of the Benedictine tradition and the general simplicity of life in that era.

But I'm also fond of Pooh, particularly when read aloud with different people sharing the voices. I was surprised how popular this turned out to be with the rest of the crew in a logging camp in Alaska.

I'd also suggest Shel Silverstein's books of poetry, such as Where the Sidewalk Ends. Silly and whimsical.

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Nicolemr
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# 28

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I agree with Brenda Clough about detective novels. The ones where you know everything comes out all right at the end, not the suspense type where something awful might happen.

When I was pregnant I found I could not read anything that didn't have a happy ending. I subsisted on a diet of Mary Stewart romances.

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georgiaboy
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Agree totally about Brother Caedfel.

A short book, but good for picking up and opening to random pages for a pleasant (and educational) read:

'London Has a Garden' by Clemence Dane. A history of Covent Garden and its environs from the beginnings of London through all the twists and turns until (IIRC) the mid 1950s. Packed with the author's personal history and the lives of the great and the humble whose lives touched/were touched by this bit of real estate.

And for all that, it's light reading!

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Stercus Tauri
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The Little World of Don Camillo by Giovanni Guareschi. I have read it many times and will read it again.

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Pigwidgeon

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quote:
Originally posted by Nicolemr:
I agree with Brenda Clough about detective novels. The ones where you know everything comes out all right at the end, not the suspense type where something awful might happen.

Yes! I think that's why I'm addicted to them, especially the "cozies." I read them before I go to bed, and then the problem-solving part of my brain is engaged in trying to solve a problem that doesn't matter in real life, rather than stuff that might keep me awake.

quote:
Originally posted by Stercus Tauri:
The Little World of Don Camillo by Giovanni Guareschi. I have read it many times and will read it again.

Yes, to these as well! I discovered Don Camillo when I was about 11 years old (I think one of the chapters was included in my Sunday School book). I haven't read them in a while, and need to do so soon.

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jedijudy

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When covered up with w*rk and other stresses, one of the things that cheered me up was reading a Cat Who murder mystery. Lilian Jackson Braun's style changed (of course!) as she aged, and I preferred the middle and later books, except maybe the last one or two. Even so, the books are easy reads and this cat lover enjoyed reading about Koko and YumYum.

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Lothlorien
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quote:
Originally posted by Stercus Tauri:
The Little World of Don Camillo by Giovanni Guareschi. I have read it many times and will read it again.

I first read these in my early teens with no idea that I was mispronouncing many names in them. Still think of the characters by those names as I called them, even though I now know better. I haven't thought of them for years, but have read them many times..

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Golden Key
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"The Secret Garden" (FH Burnett), the Pippi Longstocking books (Astrid Lindgren), "The Five Children & It" (E. Nesbit). Possibly the early Anne of Green Gables books, if you can cope with *some* bad events.

"Cozy", non-bloody mysteries: Nancy Atherton's Aunt Dimity series. Probably best to start with the first one--"Aunt Dimity's Death"--because it sets the tone for the series.

Dorothea Benton Frank's slice-of-life "Low Country" novels have some bad events within a cozy atmosphere; but the arc of the story is always towards growing, healing, making things better, and finding a creative way to get on with life. I've only read a few, but I highly recommend "Pawley's Island".

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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I've returned repeatedly to Robertson Davies' books. They are intertwined trilogies with a curious hidden reality behind. The Deptford trilogy has a boy throwing a snowball with a stone in it at a second, who ducks out of the way, such that it hits a woman who gives birth suddenly. One book is about the snowball thrower, another about the ducker, a third about the boy born that night. I particularly like The Manticore which has one of them in Switzerland getting Jungian analysis. Characters reappear in subsequent series. The Cunning Man from the unfinished final set is about a doctor set up in a church glebe house, doctoring the parishioners in an Anglo-Cath Toronto church. Transported to real people in an old world of hidden realities and connexions. Though perhaps Canadian authors are off the radar....

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cliffdweller
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Christopher Moore's books always take me out of whatever circumstances I find myself. He creates such engaging characters and such deeply woven communities that suck me in. Then, of course, halfway in something truly demented and weirdly wonderful will happen that turns everything on it's head. I'm always sorry when the story is over. Theonerds should of course begin with Lamb (altho the preachers will experience frustration that the keen spiritual insights would be so much more quoteable to tender ears if the context weren't so, well, again, demented). Then once you've gotten that out of your system, you can move on to the truly hardcore twisted stuff.

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Patdys
Iron Wannabe
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Stardust by Neil Gaiman.
The Princess Bride by William Goldman.

Beautiful, heart warming and makes you glad to be alive.

Drops the mike.

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Cathscats
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Happy, light, profound and always a good read: "Theophilus North" by Thornton Wilder.

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Jane R
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Howl's Moving Castle and The House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones.

Actually, just about anything by Diana Wynne Jones except for her very early books (eg Dogsbody, Wilkins' Tooth).

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Sarasa
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Patricia Wentworth's detective stories, Nancy Mitford's books, E.Nesbit and Diana Wynne Jones, specially The Crown of Dalemark all do it for me.

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Sipech
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# 16870

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Your mention of Nancy Mitford has stirred a reminder in my head. Not of her, but of one of her contemporaries: Stella Gibbons. In particular, her finest work, Cold Comfort Farm.

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jacobsen

seeker
# 14998

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Dorothy Sayers, Georgette Heyer, the Cadfaels and children's books by Marjorie Phillips. In times of deepest stress, the Chalet School series by Elinor Brent-Dyer. There's nothing like a safe and structured world where things end happily, at least for most.

Jill Paton Walsh's continuation of the Whimsey books are also most satisfactory.

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betjemaniac
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Not sure I'd describe Cold Comfort Farm as light and heart warming!

However, John Hadfield's immortal Love on a Branch Line, HE Bates' Larkin books (Darling Buds of May), Somerville & Ross' Irish RM stories, maybe some of RF Delderfield (although some of his can be very melodramatic - To Serve Them all My Days fits the bill, as does the Horseman Riding By trilogy - don't, for the love of God, read Diana; I'm still traumatised by that awful, awful excuse for a lead character (genuinely))...

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Jack the Lass

Ship's airhead
# 3415

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I'm not brilliant with fiction (although I agree with Ariel's recommendation of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series), but some non-fiction that might fit the bill: Clare Balding's "My Animals and Other Family", or any of Billy Connolly's travel books (TV tie-in books) - "Journey to the Edge of the World" in particular is brilliant and I just wanted to travel with him and view the world as he did. Also what about "84 Charing Cross Road" and the follow up "The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street"?

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Nicolemr
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Oh, in non-fiction, any of James Herriot's books.

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Stercus Tauri
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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...
...Though perhaps Canadian authors are off the radar....

I don't think I agree! Stephen Leacock's lovely books, like
Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town are culturally portable, but perhaps that's partly because he was English and took his English humour to Canada with him. Anything he wrote is firmly in the category of memorable literary comfort food.

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chris stiles
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# 12641

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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
I've returned repeatedly to Robertson Davies' books. They are intertwined trilogies with a curious hidden reality behind.

And the trilogies themselves follow very much the same arc. It's great literary comfort food that still remains literary. I suspect it also depends on whether or not one wants tension in the middle of the warmer experiences though.

I'd second the PG Wodehouse recommendation above. Additionally, some of RK Narayan's books which have a similar gentle quality about them.

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Pigwidgeon

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# 10192

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quote:
Originally posted by Jack the Lass:
...but some non-fiction that might fit the bill: Clare Balding's "My Animals and Other Family"

Or Gerald Durrell's "My Family and Other Animals," as well as his other hilarious books. I also second Nicolemr's recommendation of James Herriot's books.

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Eigon
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Some great suggestions here!
I'd like to add the Anastasia Krupnik series by Lois Lowry, an American children's series which was very soothing (and funny) at a time of stress for me. And also The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Armin - or Elizabeth and her German Garden by the same author. There's nothing like a month's holiday in a small Italian castle to de-stress!

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Ariel
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quote:
Originally posted by Nicolemr:
When I was pregnant I found I could not read anything that didn't have a happy ending. I subsisted on a diet of Mary Stewart romances.

I went through a spate of Mary Stewarts recently (not for that reason) and enjoyed them.

I'm just embarking on the old Moomintroll books I had as a child. Those are quite good, if the idea is to look for that uncomplicated, childlike simplicity and a happy ending.

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Moo

Ship's tough old bird
# 107

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The Mitford books, by Jan Karon

Moo

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georgiaboy
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# 11294

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quote:
Originally posted by Jack the Lass:
What about "84 Charing Cross Road" and the follow up "The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street"?

Also, the following-on 'Q's Legacy'

And for those of us state-side, Helene Hanff also wrote 'The Apple of My Eye,' in which she and a friend cover Manhattan from top to bottom, gathering material for a travel guide project, IIRC

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Piglet
Islander
# 11803

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quote:
Originally posted by Polly Plummer:
I always find the Brother Cadfael books very soothing. You know that the baddies will get their comeuppance, the young couple will be brought together to live happily ever after, and the Benedictine way of life will continue untroubled.

Absolutely. I've just started re-reading the books, but have ground to a halt as the rest of the set* is in our old house, so I'll have to wait until our stuff arrives and we move into the new place next month.

For sheer "guilty-pleasure" escapism, the Jilly Cooper Rutshire books always do the trick for me [Hot and Hormonal] (and I understand there's a new one just out, which I shall devour once it becomes available in paperback). [Yipee]

* except for Saint Peter's Fair, which I lent to someone 20-something years ago and never got back, and haven't been able to find again. [Frown]

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Moo

Ship's tough old bird
# 107

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quote:
Originally posted by Piglet:
I've just started re-reading the books, but have ground to a halt as the rest of the set* is in our old house, so I'll have to wait until our stuff arrives and we move into the new place next month.
<snip>

* except for Saint Peter's Fair, which I lent to someone 20-something years ago and never got back, and haven't been able to find again. [Frown]

Have you tried abebooks? That's where I got all my Brother Cadfaels.

Moo

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Kerygmania host
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See you later, alligator.

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Kelly Alves

Bunny with an axe
# 2522

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quote:
Originally posted by georgiaboy:
quote:
Originally posted by Jack the Lass:
What about "84 Charing Cross Road" and the follow up "The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street"?

Also, the following-on 'Q's Legacy'

And for those of us state-side, Helene Hanff also wrote 'The Apple of My Eye,' in which she and a friend cover Manhattan from top to bottom, gathering material for a travel guide project, IIRC

[Hot and Hormonal] There were follow-ups??? Going straight to Amazon!

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"Take your broken heart, make it into art"-- Carrie Fisher (1956-2016)

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Sparrow
Shipmate
# 2458

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I see that many here have the same tendency as me to go back to childhood favourites at these times. I was recently pointed in the direction of the website of Girls Gone By who are publishing reprints of many including the Chalet School series.

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For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life,nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
Shipmate
# 76

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[Tone lowering warning]

Old Viz annuals generally bring a smile to my face when I'm feeling miserable. Who can't laugh at farts eh?

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Ariel
Host
# 58

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I can’t say I’d describe Robertson Davies’ books as uncomplicatedly heartwarming with a feelgood factor. I read one once (I can’t remember which it was, but part of a trilogy) and it left me feeling depressed and slightly queasy.

But do carry on with the suggestions, people’s ideas of feelgood and heartwarming vary quite widely so I’m sure there’ll be something for LVER to try.

In amongst the books I brought back from my mother’s house there should be some Abbey Girls (which I always much preferred to the Chalet School stories) and a copy of Pollyanna. It’ll be interesting revisiting them. I found the Abbey Girls quite refreshing when I was young but will they stand the test of time?

[ 09. September 2016, 10:59: Message edited by: Ariel ]

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TurquoiseTastic

Fish of a different color
# 8978

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Having recently finished "My Family and Other Animals" by Gerald Durrell (having meant to for many years) I would say it fit the bill perfectly.
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la vie en rouge
Parisienne
# 10688

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Don't people get murdered in Cadfael? Sounds a bit upsetting already.

I'd forgotten about Don Camillo. They had a dramatisation on the radio a few years back which I very much enjoyed. *Heads to Amazon*

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Sipech
Shipmate
# 16870

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How has this thread been allowed to go on for this long without anyone mentioning The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?

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I try to be self-deprecating; I'm just not very good at it.
Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheAlethiophile

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Penny S
Shipmate
# 14768

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Not exactly comfort reading, but of we are allowing HHGG, I must list Jennings, especially read under the bedclothes with a torch.

Have I said before that I was holding forth on Anthony Buckeridge as a great comic writer when one of the boys put his hand up and told the class that he was his uncle?

[ 09. September 2016, 18:43: Message edited by: Penny S ]

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Nicolemr
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# 28

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How about The Last Unicorn by Peter S Beagle? A lovely atmosphere of surrealism, calm and soothing. The only thing is the ending is a little bittersweet.

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On pilgrimage in the endless realms of Cyberia, currently traveling by ship. Now with live journal!

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Sparrow
Shipmate
# 2458

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quote:
Originally posted by la vie en rouge:
Don't people get murdered in Cadfael? Sounds a bit upsetting already.


My aunt, a rather refained lady, used to say that she liked the Cadfael books because they were "gentle" murders!


[Confused]

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For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life,nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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