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Books for Judy

Judy Haley of the Coffee Jitters blog contacted me recently, asking for recommendations for books to lighten her mood while she is dealing with breast cancer. I took some days to think it over, and then came up with the following:

Dear Judy,
Your request sent me to my re-read and feel-good shelves. I imagined what it would be like to be in your situation and which books I would read for comfort, and I chose a number of my favourites.

You have probably read some of these books, but you might have to be reminded of them just the same. You wrote that you enjoy chick-lit and mysteries, but also that you were looking for feel-good books, so I included books in other genres as well. I have put them in in no particular order, just as I spotted them on the shelf.

Specific titles:
  • Jerome K. Jerome: Three Men in a Boat (to say nothing of the dog) – classic humorous novel
  • Connie Willis: To Say Nothing of the Dog – speculative fiction, time-travel, romantic, funny (it helps to have read Three Men in a Boat first, but it's not necessary)
  • Jennifer Crusie (Jenny Crusie): just about all her books, but especially Bet Me, Anyone but You, Welcome to Temptation and Faking It. These are admittedly romances, but with strong, capable women in the leading roles. No simpering misses here.
  • Lily Prior: La Cucina – love story (not a typical romance novel). Warning: does have chapters in which the protagonist is severely depressed.
  • Dodie Smith: I Capture the Castle – lovely coming of age story, funny and engaging protagonist.
  • Sebastien Japrisot: A Very Long Engagement – mystery. Warning: the heroine is disabled (but not suffering from illness)
  • Stella Gibbons: Cold Comfort Farm – very funny. If you haven‘t already read it, do. If you have, it‘s worth a re-read.
  • Patrick Dennis: Auntie Mame – slapstick funny
  • Graham Greene: Travels with my Aunt – sly humour
  • Georgette Heyer: just about anything of hers, but especially The Corinthian, The Nonesuch, The Grand Sophy and Frederica. These are Regency romances, written by an author who simply has no equal for combined quality of writing, humour and knowledge of the era. I tried to keep away from the very silly heroines when choosing books to recommend.
  • Dorothy Cannell: The Thin Woman – funny mystery
  • L.M. Montgomery: Anne of Green Gables – another coming-of age story, funny and loveable heroine.

Author recommendations:
  • Jasper Fforde: the Thursday Next books – speculative fiction, mysteries
  • Andrea Camilleri: any of his books – mysteries, taking place in Sicily
  • Charlotte MacLeod: the Peter Shandy mysteries – funny mysteries, full of strange and wonderful characters
  • Yrsa Sigurðardóttir: any of her books – darkly humorous mysteries
  • And, finally, anything by James Herriott and Gerald Durrell. Their books are mostly memoirs. Herriot wrote funny and evocative books about his veterinary practice, and Durrell about his animal-collecting expeditions to far-flung corners of the world. My Family and Other Animals is a classic.

I hope you will find some good reads in this list, to keep your spirits up and hopefully you will even find some new favourites among these titles.


CoffeeJitters said…
Thank you so much! And I love the Thursday Next books! Off to the library...

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