Books for Nooks: Coziness, Togetherness, and Peace

illustration-fireplace

It just occurred to me that a nook is actually a technological thing on which I believe one can, in fact, read books.

The title of this post is meant rather in the sense of ‘books for nooks and cozy crannies’.  Let’s imagine that that’s the full title.

Granted, I don’t know what books you go for when you’re curled up in bed under piles of blankets (ahem, like I am now).  Maybe a twisty murder mystery is more your thing. Or an eye-opening biography. Or a sordid true crime.

For me it’s something a bit more pastoral.  Quiet stories about quiet lives lived with quiet purpose.  Close to nature, close to the seasons, and close to loved ones.
And nothing too mentally taxing.
Add in a dash of children’s literature and a sprinkle of fantasy and you’re all set.

  • The Wind in the Willows is one of my favorite books. Full stop.  Cozy dens and animal friends.
  • A Christmas Carol is the perfect novella for the more festive-minded.  We read it aloud as a family in the days before Christmas a few years ago and it was a really lovely thing to share.
  • The Country of the Pointed Firs is a series of sketches of life in a fictional Maine fishing village.  At once a meditation on the hardship and isolation of rural life and the intense beauty of the solitude and the relationships forged therein.
  • The Hobbit is the perfect cuddly fantasy adventure featuring the perfect balance of magic, mystery, and unforgettably lovable characters.
  • Stillmeadow Road hits very close to me, as the author shares a year of New England seasons from her 1690 New England farmhouse. The voice is laid-back, wise, and incredibly comforting.
  • The Little House series was a favorite of mine as a child and I remember it so fondly, but I’m not sure the pacing and reading level would be super pleasing to me at this point. But if you’re reading with a child or your mind is in need of something a little more serious in the way of R&R, I really do recommend these.  Is there anything more cozy than a little house in the big woods? (Maybe a little house on the banks of Plum Creek).
Advertisements

Last Friday in America: 9/8

14-irving-penn-w600-h315-2x

Fuck, that’s scary.

Lots of links, though! Continue reading “Last Friday in America: 9/8”

Role Models: Literary Villainesses

estella-havisham_el_7feb12_rex_b_639x426

You may have noticed that I took the weekend off from posting, which was nice because I didn’t have anything I very much wanted to get out.

But today I’d like to talk about some of the women in literature I find to be very inspiring- the women who are pretty much the devil incarnate.

Putting aside issues of women’s representation in literature and other arts, and how it may or may not be more connected to men’s imagination than female actuality… some of my favorite characters are strong, selfish, and mean people.

I’m not sure why this is, especially because I’d like to think that I personally am nothing like that.  But it’s also not difficult to see why their drive, anger, and uncompromising attitudes are appealing.  After all, the world is a scary place and women are frequently expected to be easy victims of it. Continue reading “Role Models: Literary Villainesses”

Intimidating and Unread

Inspired by this post that I randomly ran across, I’m creating a list of the most intimidating (read: long and/or difficult) books that I haven’t yet read- but plan to.
I’m very proud to admit that of their ten, I’ve read six- but also a bit ashamed because I’m reminded of my tendency to put off the longest and scariest of books for as long as possible. It’s hard to make that kind of commitment.

the last long book I read was Swann’s Way, and I’m waiting for my next break (coming up in a week!) to approach part two of Remembrance of Thing’s Past, In The Shadow of Young Girls in Flower.

And while I have no desire to read Ulysses and Ayn Rand is anathema, a few are ones that I share with the list originator. Thanks to Parchment Girl for this idea! Continue reading “Intimidating and Unread”

Flower Boys

13754265_1175285505844381_8769031594307091430_n

We give girls flower names all the time but boys are really rarely named after botanical things- particular botanical things as frilly and fecund as flowers.  Even though when you get down to it, flowers have both lady-parts and man-parts.

Not that I’m advocating naming your young boy something like Candytuft. Don’t name a girl Candytuft either.  Or Ranunculus.

Candytuft and Ranunculus aside, I think there are profound unplumbed depths in flower names. Especially for boys and especially in English, because I don’t know about where you are, but America is very annoyingly anti-feminine.
Flower names can be both sensitive and strong, so in the interest of equal opportunity naming, here are some of my favorites that I think would suit little boys (and eventually men and granddads) to a tee. Continue reading “Flower Boys”

Back with Books

And we’re back.

It’s taken me a while to regain the desire to blog (or do anything, for that matter) post-election. I haven’t made the fact that I’m fairly liberal a secret, on this blog or anywhere else. And I’m very distressed about the looming prospect of a Trump presidency.
However, this is something I’ve talked about on various other social media, and for now I don’t see this blog becoming a platform for that. In very great part because it’s not something I’m ready to talk about to a general audience.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how to broach the subject of the election here. This is all there will be for now.

And in the meantime, I’d like to let you in on some family dynamics. Some family reading dynamics.  We’re all rather literate.  I read more than either of my parents do. I also think about and talk about books a great deal more.  There are over 400 distinct titles on my ‘to read’ list at the moment, and at one point it was over 2000.

I love recommending books to people (especially when people are willing to talk about their other favorites so I can get a good idea of what they like)- this may sound a bit strange, but I’ve realized that searching for ‘the perfect thing’ is one of my favorite things to do.  I do it with movies, books, gifts, names, everything really.

In a horrible twist of fate, I don’t like taking recommendations very much.  Especially when it comes to books.  Books take a little while longer to get through than movies, and while I will not infrequently add things to my reading list based on recommendations, I’m not likely to let some upstart recommendation jump the 400+ line of books waiting for my love and attention.  And you have to read a book when you’re in the right mood for it.  I can’t just be in the right mood for a book because someone recommended it.

But to the point of this post: My parents and I trade recommendations pretty frequently.  Or they sometimes recommend things that I eventually get around to and the rest of the time I’m shoving an elite selection of books at them, desperately trying to get them to read when really they have lives and other hobbies and I… well, I do, but not as much.

So a dissection of this over the years, starting with Mom- I’ll do Dad tomorrow: Continue reading “Back with Books”

My Favorite Authors

What qualifies an author to be counted among my favorites?
I have very high standards, as befits such a coveted distinction.  You know Orwell is just rolling over in his grave because he’s not on here.

It’s a fairly simple standard actually: if a book is written by one of these authors, I don’t have to worry too much about the risk of disliking it… because I generally won’t.

So in no particular order:

 

Henry James

The first book I read by Henry James was The Portrait of a Lady and it took me so long to begin because the first sentence was so convoluted I was terrified. But it’s an absolutely beautiful book, as are most of his novels and short stories.

Continue reading “My Favorite Authors”