08 September 2010

Top Ten Feel-Good Books

I found this Top Ten Picks meme over on the Random Ramblings blog and decided to participate.
This could just as well be titled My top ten perennial reads. These are books I return to time and again when I need consolation, familiarity, comfort, relaxation and/or guaranteed entry into the story world. In no particular order:

  • Gerald Durrell: My Family and Other Animals. Memoir. This is a cosy, comfortable and occasionally very funny read that is perfect for those chilly winter afternoons. It will transport the reader to sunny Greece and into an eccentric family with an oddball cast of friends and hangers-on. Abounds in wonderful descriptions of nature, people and animals. First encountered when it was published in an Icelandic translation when I was about 10.
  • Lucy Maud Montgomery: Anne of Green Gables. Coming-of age novel. A good soother for frazzled nerves. Another book I first read in translation, and re-read over and over throughout my teenage years, along with books two and three in the series. Especially nice when I want to read about a more innocent time and place.
  • J.R.R. Tolkies: The Hobbit. Fantasy. The first full-length fantasy book I read, I think when I was about 9 years old. Never fails to transport me to Middle-Earth and into the company of Bilbo, Gandalf and the dwarves on their trek to the Lonely Mountain.
  • Michael Ende: The Neverending Story. I discovered this as a teenager, and found in it a perfect escape from the stress of being bullied.
  • Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman: Good Omens. Fantasy, alternative reality. Full of dark humour and wonderful characters, this is a book I always take with me when I go travelling, because it never fails to deliver comfort and distraction from the annoyances and discomforts of the getting-there phase of travelling. I’m on my second copy and looking for a hardcover edition.
  • Jennifer Crusie: Bet Me. Contemporary romance. A perfect modern fairy tale with a couple I can relate to. Perfect for when I need a little romance in my life. Excellent bath-tub read.
  • James Herriot: All Creatures Great and Small. Memoirs, novelised. This omnibus edition of his first two semi-autobiographical books never fails to cheer me up.
  • Elizabeth von Arnim: The Enchanted April. Novel. Perfect escapism into a romantic world of perfect weather, good food and friendship. I can't think of a better rainy day book.
  • Terry Pratchett: Moving Pictures. Fantasy. Always good for several laughs: a perfect pick-me-up after a bad day at the office. (I could actually have chosen a number of Pratchett’s novels, e.g. Small Gods or Guards! Guards!).
  • Georgette Heyer: These Old Shades. Historical romance/adventure. The perfect historical romance and boredom reliever: spirited heroine, bad-boy hero, abductions, swashbuckling adventure, revenge and a happy ending.

3 comments:

George said...

Anything by P. G. Wodehouse.

danya said...

Some excellent picks here! James Herriot's tales are often so quirky and humorous :)

Good Books To Read said...

I love reading books ever since I was a little kid. Now that I am a father myself, I encourage my kids to read good books. There are a lot of good books to read like the Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter or those which are written by Stephen King.