Skip to main content

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.


George said…
Anything by P. G. Wodehouse.
danya said…
Some excellent picks here! James Herriot's tales are often so quirky and humorous :)
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.

Popular posts from this blog

Book 40: The Martian by Andy Weir, audiobook read by Wil Wheaton

Note : This will be a general scattershot discussion about my thoughts on the book and the movie, and not a cohesive review. When movies are based on books I am interested in reading but haven't yet read, I generally wait to read the book until I have seen the movie, but when a movie is made based on a book I have already read, I try to abstain from rereading the book until I have seen the movie. The reason is simple: I am one of those people who can be reduced to near-incoherent rage when a movie severely alters the perfectly good story line of a beloved book, changes the ending beyond recognition or adds unnecessarily to the story ( The Hobbit , anyone?) without any apparent reason. I don't mind omissions of unnecessary parts so much (I did not, for example, become enraged to find Tom Bombadil missing from The Lord of the Rings ), because one expects that - movies based on books would be TV-series long if they tried to include everything, so the material must be pared down

List love: 10 recommended stories with cross-dressing characters

This trope is almost as old as literature, what with Achilles, Hercules and Athena all cross-dressing in the Greek myths, Thor and Odin disguising themselves as women in the Norse myths, and Arjuna doing the same in the Mahabaratha. In modern times it is most common in romance novels, especially historicals in which a heroine often spends part of the book disguised as a boy, the hero sometimes falling for her while thinking she is a boy. Occasionally a hero will cross-dress, using a female disguise to avoid recognition or to gain access to someplace where he would never be able to go as a man. However, the trope isn’t just found in romances, as may be seen in the list below, in which I recommend stories with a variety of cross-dressing characters. Unfortunately I was only able to dredge up from the depths of my memory two book-length stories I had read in which men cross-dress, so this is mostly a list of women dressed as men. Ghost Riders by Sharyn McCrumb. One of the interwove

First book of 2020: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by Deborah Moggach (reading notes)

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but I loathe movie tie-in book covers because I feel they are (often) trying to tell me how I should see the characters in the book. The edition of Deborah Moggach's These Foolish Things that I read takes it one step further and changes the title of the book into the title of the film version as well as having photos of the ensemble cast on the cover. Fortunately it has been a long while since I watched the movie, so I couldn't even remember who played whom in the film, and I think it's perfectly understandable to try to cash in on the movie's success by rebranding the book. Even with a few years between watching the film and reading the book, I could see that the story had been altered, e.g. by having the Marigold Hotel's owner/manager be single and having a romance, instead being of unhappily married to an (understandably, I thought) shrewish wife. It also conflates Sonny, the wheeler dealer behind the retireme