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Source: (consider it) Thread: Literary comfort food
Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by la vie en rouge:
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*

Some Don Camillo stories have been on Radio 4 Extra recently. Cadfael stories from time to time too.

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Same if you're stupid.

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Ariel
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Elizabeth Goudge's books are good. They're a bit dated now, but if you can get hold of any of the ones set in the Channel Islands they can be a delight.

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Pigwidgeon

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Speaking of the Channel Islands, may I recommend The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society?

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"...that is generally a matter for Pigwidgeon, several other consenting adults, a bottle of cheap Gin and the odd giraffe."

~Tortuf

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Pigwidgeon:
Speaking of the Channel Islands, may I recommend The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society?

*tangent* when you say "Channel Islands" I think
Channel Islands.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Palimpsest
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Benson's Lucia series is about battles for social supremacy in a small town. Nothing is serious even when the two protagonists are washed out to sea.

I'd agree with the mentions of the OBrian Aubrey/Maturin series. There's a sly comedy of manners whenever they're ashore or afloat.

Some of the books mentioned (My family and other animals) have been recently republished by Slightly Foxed which is an expensive magazine but comfort in it's own right as people write about their favorite authors.

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Nenya
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Some lovely suggestions here that I concur with - I take a copy of "The Wind in the Willows" with me on holiday (particularly abroad) because it's so quintessentially English and speaks of friendship and home. Also Winnie the Pooh, Pippi Longstocking, the Moomins, Elizabeth Gouge ("The White Witch" is my favourite). I offer Kipling's Just So Stories and some poetry. "A Puffin Book of Verse" is a particular favourite, containing such glories as "The Pobble who has no Toes", "The Jumblies", "Alms in Autumn" and the now totally non-PC "Lullaby for a Naughty Girl." So sleep, my Penelope: slaps are the fate Of all little girls who are born to be great; But the world is a lovelier place than it seems, And a smack cannot follow you into your dreams." which I knew by heart as a child but it makes me cringe a bit now.

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TurquoiseTastic

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Well, since I am currently on "King Solomon's Mines" my PC-meter is currently off the scale...

A hunched figure in a cave turns out to be "a dead man... and what was more, a white man"!

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Penny S
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I dumped Haggard after his book with Andrew Lang 'The World's Desire'.

Having got past the opening dumping of the entire population of Ithaca, including everyone I identified with in the Odyssey (bit obvious, that), I reached the woman in Egypt who couldn't hold her husband back from listening to Helen singing, and was told that there were things no woman could understand. It was couched in rather philosophical terms, as if what women couldn't understand was important stuff, and not just the urge to stare at female pulchritude. Having exercised my mind on it a bit, I decided the pair of them were rubbish.

Only then did I notice Haggard's dubious attitude to a) other races and b) white women members of a mysterious mystic elite. I'd been devouring his books like sweeties till then.

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basso

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quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:

"Lark Rise to Candleford" by Flora Thompson (forget the TV series, this is simply a beautiful, enjoyable pastoral autobiography)
...

If you can find it, I'd add Molly Hughes's memoir A London Child of the 1870s and its two successors. Very close in time to Flora Thompson's story of a childhood in Oxfordshire, but in the city. Maybe also A. L. Rowse's A Cornish Childhood.

We could probably make a thread just of childhood stories. Laura Ingalls Wilder, anyone?

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venbede
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Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons books are just the thing for me in difficult circumstances, particulary Winter Holiday and Coot Club.

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Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

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Nenya
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I read Molly Hughes's memoirs and loved them and my mum had copies of them. The question is, were they kept when we cleared her house? I must have a hunt.

I'm currently rereading "Swallows and Amazons" and am surprised to find how much of the detail I'd forgotten. I've just read the bit where Titty is left alone on Wild Cat Island while the others head off to try and capture the Amazons' ship, and their mother comes to visit and they have a great time with pemmican cakes and stories round the camp fire. I'm planning to reread them all as I have the whole set - only in paperback, sadly, not those beautiful hardbacks they also came in.

Alison Uttley's books are lovely too - "A Country Child", "Ambush of Young Days" and "A Traveller in Time" being some of my favourites; along with Little Grey Rabbit. I much preferred her books to Beatrix Potter's.

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venbede
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Of the Swallows and Amazons series, We Didn't Mean To Go To Sea is a very fine novel, in a sense the finest of the series, but the note of anxiety which is present underlying the other adventures (but we know all will turn out all right) is far more prominent - there's an obvious danger these kids adrift on the North Sea will drown.

I find Secret Water a bit dull and I prefer the realistic books to the two fantasies Peter Duck and Missee Lee.

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Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

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Penny S
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This thread has sent me off to find that I have missed the latest Lindsey Davis, which I shall be picking up from Waterstones tomorrow.

Why Ancient Rome should be comfort reading, I can't imagine!

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Nenya
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quote:
Originally posted by venbede:
Of the Swallows and Amazons series, We Didn't Mean To Go To Sea is a very fine novel, in a sense the finest of the series, but the note of anxiety which is present underlying the other adventures (but we know all will turn out all right) is far more prominent - there's an obvious danger these kids adrift on the North Sea will drown.

I probably like that one the least, for that very reason. I was a totally unadventurous child - and nothing's changed there - and never had any desire to try sailing myself. It all felt very safe on the lake, though, in sight of land all the time and in striking distance of the natives. The idea of being cast adrift on the open sea was altogether too alarming.

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Moo

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Just about all the D.E. Stevenson novels are comfort food. They are all out of print, but you can get them on Kindle.

My favorites are Miss Buncle's Book, Celia's House, Listening Valley, Spring Magic, and Mrs Tim.

Moo

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Sparrow
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quote:
Originally posted by venbede:
Of the Swallows and Amazons series, We Didn't Mean To Go To Sea is a very fine novel, in a sense the finest of the series . .

I agree, and I always tear up at the bit when they are sailing home with their father and he tells John, "You'll be a seaman yet, my son" and you know he is saying so much more.

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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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Sparrow
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Sorry to double post .....I'm currently re-reading my childhood absolute favourites, the Romney Marsh and Punchbowl Farm series by Monica Edwards. Very dated now of course but wonderfully evocative of a childhood growing up either on a remote Surrey farm or in a little coastal fishing village in the 1940-50s (though the author was really bringing in a lot of her own childhood memories which would I think have been in the immediate post-WW1 years. So rather rose-tinted and sentimental but a lovely comfort read.

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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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Jemima the 9th
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quote:
Originally posted by Penny S:
This thread has sent me off to find that I have missed the latest Lindsey Davis, which I shall be picking up from Waterstones tomorrow.

Why Ancient Rome should be comfort reading, I can't imagine!

I love those! Haven't read any in ages. Perfect literary comfort. I'll add another vote for Don Camillo, and (also churchily) Adrian Plass - I used to read the Horizontal Epistles of Andromeda Veal endlessly years ago, and Catherine Fox.
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Penny S
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quote:
Originally posted by Sparrow:
Sorry to double post .....I'm currently re-reading my childhood absolute favourites, the Romney Marsh and Punchbowl Farm series by Monica Edwards. Very dated now of course but wonderfully evocative of a childhood growing up either on a remote Surrey farm or in a little coastal fishing village in the 1940-50s (though the author was really bringing in a lot of her own childhood memories which would I think have been in the immediate post-WW1 years. So rather rose-tinted and sentimental but a lovely comfort read.

I was going to say that I absolutely agree - they are very hard to get hold of, and expensive when found. But I can't quite enjoy them any more. We got to know the author's sister, and Monica had been tremendously lucky to escape from the vicarage and marry her Meryon. The father was into coercive control, and her sister was never able to achieve her potential. She survived on money left her by her brother who died young and charity, though she could have made a living from art. She wasn't allowed to finish art school when her father changed parish, and was kept at home. Rather like Caroline Herschel, but without the rescue by her brother.
She ended up in sheltered housing where at one time she was bullied by a bunch of women from Ashford.
Reading Monica now doesn't quite work for me, because of all that history. I think she may have climbed out of the vicarage at Rye Harbour to elope!

[ 11. September 2016, 19:14: Message edited by: Penny S ]

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Sparrow
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She didn't marry her "Meryon" of course, the boy he was based on died tragically young.

But most of the books are available having been recently reprinted by Girls Gone By.

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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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L'organist
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Anything by Angela Thirkell, especially High Rising for beach reading. Hugh Walpole or Gore Vidal for a winter break.

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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Aravis
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Yes to Winnie the Pooh, Wind in the Willows, Swallows and Amazons, Elizabeth Goudge, Chalet School, Anthony Buckeridge.
Robertson Davies is brilliant but not comfort reading.

I would also like to add Milly-Molly-Mandy. And is anyone else familiar with the Teddy Robinson books? Sorry these are for a younger age group, but I still love them!

Miss Read's "Village School" series is another comfort series I haven't read for years. I gather Gervase Phinn is the nearest recent equivalent, but I found his novels lazy (recycling very old jokes) and unconvincing.

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Penny S
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quote:
Originally posted by Sparrow:
She didn't marry her "Meryon" of course, the boy he was based on died tragically young.

But most of the books are available having been recently reprinted by Girls Gone By.

Thanks re: the books.

Dorrie didn't tell us that about the lad, so I picked up the story wrongly. But Monica's husband was not approved of by their father.

[ 12. September 2016, 14:57: Message edited by: Penny S ]

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venbede
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What is so special about Swallows and Amazons is the combination of detailed practicality and wild fantasy.

I imagine you could learn to sail following Ransome’s instructions in the books (I haven’t a clue, but he gives that impression) and we learn in detail about nearly every meal.

At the same time these kids seem incapable of seeing anything in the landscape without deciding it must be something else.

--------------------
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

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venbede
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I'd also recommend Colin Watson's series of Flaxborough comedy thrillers although I suspect they are out of print.

There is usually a murder but the description of small town life is very, very funny. As is the very ladylike con artist, Miss Lucilla Teatime.

http://grumpyoldbookman.blogspot.co.uk/2004/08/colin-watson-crime-writer.html

http://www.crimefictionlover.com/2015/09/cis-the-flaxborough-chronicles-by-colin-watson/

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Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

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Firenze

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They are, however, all available on Kindle I'm glad to say.

Cyril Hare is another one worth looking up.

Anthony Gilbert is dependably cosy. His (a her in RL) problem is that the initial chapters are frequently very good - well written, intriguing, evocative - but falls off into improbabilities and a deus ex machina detective. Passes the time, though.

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Sipech:


You could also try Love in the Time of Cholera.

I'm reading this just now, and not finding it particularly comforting, more frustrating. But it's a matter of taste, of course.

My mother would've recommended Jane Austen and Charles Dickens on a loop.

[ 13. September 2016, 12:18: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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Teekeey Misha
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I have followed advice elsewhere on SoF and purchased a new copy of Fahrenheit 451, which I haven't read since I was a teenager.

Discomfort food? Possibly. I can, though, find huge comfort in reading dystopian novels; I can always tell myself "thank God life isn't like that in reality!"*

And yes, 1984 and Animal Farm are two of my favourite novels!

*You are, of course, completely at liberty to think life is that bad in reality. Your own experience / conspiracy theory of choice takes precedence!

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Misha
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Eigon
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Some years ago, I worked in the Children's Bookshop in Hay-on-Wye, and met a chap who had been learning to sail on nearby Llangorse Lake the previous afternoon. Halfway through the lesson, the instructor said: "You've done this before."
"No," the chap said. "I've just read all the Swallows and Amazons books!"
So had the instructor, and they spent the rest of the lesson pretending to be Swallows exploring the lake!

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Never cruel nor cowardly.
Never give up, never give in.
The Doctor's Promise

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venbede
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I've just bought the first volume of the Don Camillo stories in a new translation and they look to be eminently comfort reading.

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Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

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L'organist
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Of course, we're all forgetting the Tom Sharpe books - especially the Wilt trilogy [Yipee]

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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Welease Woderwick

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My aunt gave me a copy of The Fellowship of the Ring for my 19th birthday back when God was but a slip of a lad and I have probably reread the whole series, on average, at least once a year since then. Last week, as a direct result of it being mentioned on this thread, I discovered the online text version and am now just starting on Book 5.

What is odd is that this online text I am using, based in Ukraine, is from a scan of the text and there are a few miss-scans but I have read it so often over the years that I know exactly which word goes in where!

Great stuff!

eta: Strangely enough I have already decided that my next book will probably be Tom Sharpe's Porterhouse Blue - one of the funniest writers ever.

[ 15. September 2016, 12:19: Message edited by: Welease Woderwick ]

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I give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.
Fancy a break in South India?
Accessible Homestay Guesthouse in Central Kerala, contact me for details


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Welease Woderwick

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...and it occurs to me to mention Graham Greene's Monsignor Quixote - does anyone remember the superb TV version with Alec Guinness and Leo McKern? - and Travels with my Aunt - and Maggie Smith did a fabulous version of that for, I think, the BBC.

But the two books are wall to wall fun - what Greene himself referred to as an entertainment!!

--------------------
I give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.
Fancy a break in South India?
Accessible Homestay Guesthouse in Central Kerala, contact me for details


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Ethne Alba
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Literary comfort food shelf just removed and coming up!

These first few are post 1970's 'getting through sticky times' type of books:
* "Rain" by Paul May is a modern comfort favourite, as is
* "Sky Hawk" by Gill Lewis
* "I carried you on eagles' wings" by Sue Mayfield
* (Apologies for this title but..) "A summer to die", by Lois Lowry
* "A cold wind blowing", by Barbara Willard.
* "White Peak Farm" by Berlie Doherty
Some of the titles are not exactly inspiring, but for me these all induce warm fuzzy feelings! As a plus they were written for young adults so ideal for non complicated, easy reading and usually addressing common life themes.

Gentle ordinary living types of books could include
* Eve Garnett's books about "The Family from One End Street", i think there is a " Further adventures..." and something about a holiday at an inn....
* Kathleen OFarrell's book "The Tylers of Tip Street."
Both those two are set in an early time and heavily nostalgic, in a good way istm...
"Rosehill, Portrits from a Modern City" by Carol Lake is for me a real ole cocoa and toast type of book and it appears when insomnia hits.

The last two are:
"The Little White Horse" by Elizabeth Goodge. Chosen as it has accompanied me through my entire life and who doesn't want to read about silver horses, a bay called Merryweather Bay and a dog, who is actually a lion?

Last but by no means least is "The Good Master" by Kate Seredy. A city girl from Budapest comes to stay with her uncles family in the Hungarian countryside......
Gorgeous illustrations.

All chosen to lift me gently into other worlds and then deposit me kindly back again, once read.

[ 15. September 2016, 12:50: Message edited by: Ethne Alba ]

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Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by Welease Woderwick:
Strangely enough I have already decided that my next book will probably be Tom Sharpe's Porterhouse Blue - one of the funniest writers ever.

Yes, an extremely funny writer, particularly with the Wilt series. The later ones, The Midden and such like, are still very funny but have a bitter edge.

Another frequent re-reader of LOTR, the Mapp and Lucia series, and Paradise Lost.

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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Welease Woderwick

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Lying in bed last night thinking about this I decided that these days much of my reading falls into this category.

I was also thinking of short stories like W S Maugham (terribly dated and out of fashion) but stories like The Luncheon are pure delight. Much of Kipling is of a similar category, though sometimes more tear-jerkingly so; The Miracle of Purun Bhagat has had that effect on me ever since I first read it.

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Posts: 47282 | From: 1st on the right, straight on 'til morning | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
Ariel
Host
# 58

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quote:
Originally posted by Welease Woderwick:
I was also thinking of short stories like W S Maugham (terribly dated and out of fashion) but stories like The Luncheon are pure delight. Much of Kipling is of a similar category, though sometimes more tear-jerkingly so; The Miracle of Purun Bhagat has had that effect on me ever since I first read it.

That is a story that made quite an impression on me as a child. It's one of Kipling's best, and most beautiful. However, "Kim" is his best novel, and one that I return to again and again so I suppose I can consider that comfort reading as well. It has durability and is multi-layered: you can read it for the story as a child and enjoy it, you can read between the lines as an adult and see a lot more in it than the simple adventure story it appears to be. The imagery and little throw-away lines are a delight: Kipling put his heart into that book.

I read one of Tom Sharpe's books once and didn't enjoy it at all to the extent that I've never touched another of his novels, but YM will obviously V on that.

Anyhow, any more feelgood books that give you that warm, fuzzy feeling? Stories that, when you finish them and put them down, make you say, "That was a beautiful story - I wish there was more of it"?

I'm going to throw Dunsany's "The King of Elfland's Daughter" into the mix. If you want rich, beautiful imagery and an old-fashioned romantic tale, this is one.

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Kelly Alves

Bunny with an axe
# 2522

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Buried in storage somewhere, but I have to recomend Tabitha King's " Caretakers" as a short but satisfying literary meal. This was the first novel I ever described as " seamless."
It's the story of the long relationship between a New England native and one of the residents of the house he cares for- a much younger newcomer married to his boss's son. One of those stories of oddballs who find each other, if briefly.

Also, one of the best studies in " show me don't tell me" I have ever read. Her husband could take a page or two from her book, frankly.

[ 17. September 2016, 07:56: Message edited by: Kelly Alves ]

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One of the most enticing temptations the devil throws at us is encouraging us to behave precisely like the person we hate.--TomB

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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Hmm. You can hardly fail with LeGuin's Earthsea books -- the first three are classic. Georgette Heyer's regencies are never demanding and always reliable; to dial it up it is an easy hop to the Hornblower books or Patrick O'Brian. When I need to mainline plot, straight and strong, I go to Bujold's Vorkosigan novels, which are guaranteed to beguile a flight delayed four hours or a horrid medical procedure. Another set of books of similar addictive quality are the Bartimaeus novels of Jonathan Stroud. Essentially crystal meth between book covers, they will get you right out of your irritating or unbearable reality and off into a more thrilling place for a day or so.

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Pigwidgeon

Ship's Owl
# 10192

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quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
I read one of Tom Sharpe's books once and didn't enjoy it at all to the extent that I've never touched another of his novels...

Same here, but that was many years ago. I might try another one some time. Tastes change.

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"...that is generally a matter for Pigwidgeon, several other consenting adults, a bottle of cheap Gin and the odd giraffe."

~Tortuf

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Moo

Ship's tough old bird
# 107

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Georgette Heyer's mysteries are also very nice. I wish she had written more of them.

Moo

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Clarence
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# 9491

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My literary comfort food also includes Georgette Heyer - so reliably entertaining. I listen to the audio books of her regency romances when I'm lying in the dark with a migraine and it works wonders.

There have been a few mentions of Elizabeth Goudge. The book I loan out for anyone needing something gentle to read is her The Scent of Water.

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I scraped my knees while I was praying - Paramore

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Nicolemr
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# 28

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I just thought of L M Montgomery, and the Anne of Green Gables books. They should be listed here.

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georgiaboy
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# 11294

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Absolutely Beautiful was my first reaction to Elizabeth Goudge's 'Towers in the Mist,' I've re-read it many times and still feel the same way.

Set in Oxford in the time of Elizabeth I, it is really an extended love song to that city. Her history is accurate, with notes indicating what she has deliberately altered for her novelistic purposes. And even the gruesome bits (the violation of the tomb of Catherine Martyr, eg) come off well.

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Welease Woderwick

Sister Incubus Nightmare
# 10424

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I have just bought Paul Gallico's The Snowgoose for my Kindle - and it is all your collective fault!

[Big Grin]

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I give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.
Fancy a break in South India?
Accessible Homestay Guesthouse in Central Kerala, contact me for details


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Lothlorien
Ship's Grandma
# 4927

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Thanks WW. My copy went missing many years ago. Possibly I left it at childhood home and with parents moving a couple of times since then it has gone. Guess my next port of call!

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Welease Woderwick

Sister Incubus Nightmare
# 10424

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Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!

Amazon.in have a special offer going on Kindle stuff at the moment - I have just been looking for Goodbye Mr Chips and have ended up buying two collections of the works of James Hilton - but at 49 rupees [well under US$1, just under A$1, about 60 pence UK] per collection I can hardly claim I have been robbed.

Goodbye Mr Chips would definitely be in my list of Literary Comfort Food - a perfectly polished little gem of a book.

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I give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.
Fancy a break in South India?
Accessible Homestay Guesthouse in Central Kerala, contact me for details


Posts: 47282 | From: 1st on the right, straight on 'til morning | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
Welease Woderwick

Sister Incubus Nightmare
# 10424

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[tangent alert]

I've just discovered that in India Kindle Unlimited costs only about UKP22 per year!

Can I resist the temptation?

Should I resist the temptation?

[/tangent]

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I give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.
Fancy a break in South India?
Accessible Homestay Guesthouse in Central Kerala, contact me for details


Posts: 47282 | From: 1st on the right, straight on 'til morning | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
Doone
Shipmate
# 18470

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Go for it WW [Two face]
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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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Is it unkind to mention that all my works are up on Kindle?

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Science fiction and fantasy writer

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