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03/14/2010

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I just read a book called When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead - it provided me with a moment of lachyrmal purging and I'm not even overflowing with prolactin. It is a short, quick and lovely little book (I believe it's technically a young adult novel but please don't let that stop you).

I burst into floods of tears yesterday at an episode of Schoolhouse Rock. I am neither pregnant nor a new mother. But I just might be cuckoo bananas.

My cheer-me-up-reading is your blog actually, among other things. Thank you for writing it! As for literature recommendations: anything by Lois McMasterBujold (Vorkosigan Saga) - very entertaining space fantasy, and if you can get them Lindsey Davis' detective stories set in Rome AD 70. I love Terry Pratchett's books and these two other authors are also among my favorites.

John Collier's Fancies and Goodnights. H.H. Munro's The Complete Saki. Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat and Three Men in a Bummel.

These are doubtless already well known to you. I apologize for my shameful suggestions.

Would Tove Jansson's 9 Moomin books fit the bill? I've only read Moominland Midwinter but I really liked the Moomin world. We recently devoured Garth Nix' Old Kingdom trilogy (starting with Sabriel) and found it smart and rich YA reading. PG Wodehouse? Though I found the books hard to divorce from the BBC series (but I am mentally puny).

Norah Lofts (not really funny, but charming and not stupid).

I never get bored of PG Wodehouse, but other people do. "I read about 5 or 6 of those before I realized they all have exactly the same plot" said my uncle. Whatever. It's reassuring!

Edmund Crispin, Colin Watson, Michael Innes.

Right then. Get into Iris Murdoch if you haven't already. Brain candy of the highest order, and there are lots of them. Avoid the most recent ones until you're good and hooked, as they're the weakest. (The Nice and the Good would be an excellent place to start.)

Also those Lettice and Lovage things would probably fill the brief.

Plus stuff by and about the Mitford sisters. Like great sci-fi it adds up to a coherent universe with bizarre yet consistent rules and dramatis personae, only with more laughs.

Ben, our copy of The Complete Saki has a misprint and is missing an entire signature from When William Came. This is a great tragedy, and I will never learn how those plucky Boy Scouts got to it.

Also, you should read Connie Willis' Jerome K. Jerome homage/time-travel farce, To Say Nothing of the Dog.

You -- and snark, this goes for you too -- should read Homeland, by Sam Lipsyte. I was laughing so hard, and so gaspingly/chokingly, that Colin came to check on me and thought I was having a fit.

Now I want to read Angela Thirkell. :)

Another vote for Wodehouse, the moomins, Three Men And A Boat, and To Say Nothing Of The Dog. (If you like To Say Nothing Of The Dog consider also Bellwether and Inside Job, but do not be confused and think Willis's plague, Civil War, and WWII books will be lighthearted!)

Adding Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (though I think from the godlike snacks you already know her), Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer, The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer, I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, Bet Me and Faking It by Jennifer Crusie, Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson, The Secret of Platform 13 (or any of Eva Ibbotson's children's books), the first ten or so Amelia Peabody mysteries by Elizabeth Peters (I haven't kept up & can't voich for the rest). If you like any of these, there are more. Well, except for I Capture the Castle - I can't vouch for the dalmations.

I now feel surprisingly well-read -- perhaps I have found my niche at last! Let me know if you need more. (I find wit is essential and plot is optional for my taste in this category.)

I love the "things I cried over" sidebar.

I've been saving Trollope for such an occasion (worked well for the Fillyjonk), and saving Georgette Heyer for the next-after-that such occasion. (Hey, I'm fifty; I'm likely to be in beds more often from here on out.)

I and (of course) the Fillyjonk love Tove Jansson's books, but that's partly due to their sturdy melancholy: Moominvalley in November and Tales from Moominvalley are like a child's garden of Beckett, and the Squirrel with the Marvelous Tail could easily slip a crying jag into Moominland Midwinter.

Nero Wolfe books? There are seventeen million of them, all wonderful yet exactly the same. Likewise Ngaio March, and Michael Innes. Maybe especially Michael Innes.

Oh, and while I'm listing silly mystery novels, Margery Allingham.

I'll second the Lindsey Davis mystery series. I thought an ancient Roman detective sounded really rotten but she has a light touch and gobs of good historical info.

Another reliable mystery writer for me is Jane Langton. Her Homer Kelly books are smart New England cosies.

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redfox is a small furry animal, but unfortunately not the sweet and adorable kind. she lives in an awfully large house with her black-bearded husband snarkout and marauding child jane.

see also: the hungry tiger

Dinner reports

More dinners.

Things I Cried Over


  • The Great British Sewing Bee.

  • Window washers.

  • Lilo and Stitch. Repeatedly.

  • "No one was with her when she died."

  • Slings and Arrows.
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