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).
High fantasy: fantasy set in an alternative, fictionalized world
I haven’t stopped loving high fantasy as I’ve gotten older, even if I read it less than I used to. Reading a story that wakes up your imagination is at once comforting and thrilling- comforting because that’s a part of mind that I associate with being younger and the security of being little and taken care of. Thrilling because I can be transported to another world.
It’s this world building that’s always been my favorite thing about fantasy- the maps in the front pages of the book (that sometimes fold out!), exotic names for places and people, fabricated family trees, and the existence of a whole new sequence of history and code of rules waiting to be discovered.
I even dreamed of writing the next great fantasy novel (I can remember so many that I started and never got very far with- “Under the Eye of the Dragon” being a title that springs to mind 😛 ), but characteristically got bogged down in the planning of the details, which was honestly the most exciting part for me. Drawing maps of my own kingdoms, diagramming my own (very convoluted- I read too many books about Tudor England) ancestries, cataloguing the horses in my imaginary stable (with names, breeds, and ages, of course), drawing a floor plan of said imaginary stable on graph paper, and drawing up adoption booklets filled with fictional beasts (and then making my parents adopt them so I could send them postcards from the adoptees).
So I never got around to writing the next great fantasy novel. But that hasn’t stopped me from reading them and appreciating other people’s world-building, character choices, and well, patience, which was the thing that I really lacked.
(Guess what? I have it now and sometimes write short stories! But not so much for people to read, because I know I overuse adjectives and adverbs and comparisons. It’s very self-indulgent writing 😛 )
So if you feel like curling up with fantastical happenings, heroic adventures, and sometimes romance, here are some suggestions that i think do a good job of appealing to the child in all of us while still being well-written and innovative enough to not offend our adult sides. Continue reading “Never Too Old For High Fantasy”
Ayyy, get it? It’s like ‘runt of the litter’, but books and the written word, so literature.
…I’ll see myself out.
Having recently written about my favorite standout works from amazing authors, I decided it was time to do the opposite. That is, rudely single out my least favorite works by some of my best-beloved authors. Blasphemy.
I think my greatest hope, when I write about books, is that people will be inspired to feel like the classics are less remote. It’s logical that, looking at the whole of the history of writing and authorship, you can find better pieces than were published in the past five or ten years. For me personally, writing styles from longer ago are more pleasing than current writing (again, speaking very generally). But I do think that we have a tendency to venerate classic literature kind of excessively. Which makes people hesitant to read it and interact with it. They’re just books like any other, and books are there for people to read and enjoy. A book should never make you feel bad, and you should never feel ‘unworthy’ of a book or guilty for having a negative opinion about one. It’s like trying on clothes. If you try on something that doesn’t fit, it’s the clothing that doesn’t fit you, not you who doesn’t fit the clothing.
Okay, rant over. Here’s a collection of books from my favorite authors who can by and large do no wrong. And these are examples of the doing wrong (again, by me). Books that I am perfectly content to not like.
Continue reading “The Runt of the Literature”
Spring boarding off my post of yesterday, I decided to write a post about the longest books that I have read. At least the longest books that I’ve read and would recommend. It’s a list that makes me feel accomplished (I read so many words!) and kind of nervous, because maybe I’ve already finished all of the best long books… It’s hard to know whether you’re going to die before you finish reading everything you want to, or whether you’re eventually going to find a place where you’ve found and read all of the things that appeal to you most. Both strike terror into my heart.
I once again cut off the list at 800 pages, with the lengths given according to Amazon.com. Some books I real (Moby Dick, The Woman in White, etc.) felt like they should be in here but are apparently not so long as I imagined. Or perhaps Amazon is selling them as large-paged books with tiny fonts? Anyway, they must be omitted, no matter how exquisite and verbose they seemed. Continue reading “Intimidating and Read”
Just like Return of the Sith, another famous Part II, this post is about the father-child relationship. The father being Dad, who doesn’t read overmuch and is not a fan of fiction, and the child being me who reads A LOT and who counts fiction as her favorite genre. Not quite Vader-Luke size differences, but still. Continue reading “Back with Books II”