Tuesday 1 February 2011

Cheerfulness Breaks In

Thanks for all your kind comments on yesterday's post - you've all made me think, and I believe I've set some of you off thinking too, so Thoughts are being had! What a shame Virago Reading Week is over, but what fun it was. Plus I have two little joint-reads planned with a couple of bloggers, which will be fun - one for a much-loved author, and one for an author I have been meaning to read more by. All will be revealed in due course...

My Monday was a little glum, truth be told - one of those days where you feel sad but don't know why. I used my usual tactics to fend this off: hot chocolate; sitting in a park; calling my parents to have a chat. The last of these was lovely, but not too cheery - please join me in wishing Our Vicar's Wife a speedy recovery from being not-very-well. The hot chocolate, however, was lovely. The park was cold, but I did read a few pages of my book before leaving it - difficult to turn the pages with gloves on.

But this is heading somewhere - I was wondering if you had any books you relied on to cheer you up? Or if you need something new when you're feeling a bit down? I would say The Provincial Lady for me - almost never fails to make me smile - but at the moment (as I think I mentioned the other day) I'm finding non-fiction much easier to read than fiction. And so I'm continuing with To Tell My Story by Dame Irene Vanbrugh, and really enjoying it. I'll write more about that when I've finished, but I think it's the best bet for getting a smile back on my face - especially since having hot chocolate in bed is unlikely to go well.

Let me know how reading can help cheer you up - I look forward to your ideas!


  1. I hope your Mom feels better soon.
    I enjoy reading E. F. Benson's (or re-reading if I've run out) humourous novels to cheer me up.
    I also like to read something new, usually a light, witty murder mystery (such as L. C. Tyler's 'Ten Little Herrings' series or Suzette A. Hill's 'A Load of Old Bones' - about a vicar who gets into something he shouldn't! I also like to turn to Alexander McCall Smith's Edinburgh-based or London-based novels.
    I find series novels comforting as you become faniliar with the author's style and shouldn't be disappointed in future books. It's also relaxing to revisit characters and places that you've grown to love.
    I hope you have a good week!

  2. I always read a Jane Austen if I'm feeling sad. It never fails to lift my spirits! To be cheered I need comfortable familiarity and characters I love and can trust to deliver a happy ending!

    Sorry you are feeling down. Surround yourself with friends and fun movies and comfort food and blankets and buy some daffodils. No one can be sad with daffodils in the house. Hope you, and your mum, feel much better soon.

  3. Hope both you and your mum feel better!
    Comfort reads- cosy detective novels (Agatha Christie or Kerry Greenwood for preference) or favourite childhood books. Nothing makes me feel better like rereading an old favourite.

  4. We will be praying for a quick and complete recovery for OVW! We've been passing colds/flu around our house for most of the month, so we really feel for others who are sick right now.

    Sorry to hear that you are down. Not sure that I turn to books to cheer me up. When I'm down I have a hard time concentrating on reading, so I try to focus on doing something for somebody else - getting my mind off of myself is my quickest cure. That said, Jeeves is a good pick-me-up, as is Jane Austen. Hope tomorrow is a better day!

  5. A writer who always make me smile--and sometimes laugh out loud--is Angela Thirkell. I was introduced to her by a book with the same title as this post, and wondered if you were reading her. Her books are more enjoyable if you've read and loved Trollope's Barsetshire novels.
    In non-fiction, there are Beverley Nichols' enormously entertaining gardening books. Jon Krakauer's "Into Thin Air" is suspenseful and takes you out of yourself. If you want to feel fortunate, there's always Cherry-Garrard's "Worst Journey in the World." ;-)
    Hope you and OVW feel better soon. This time of year can be so gloomy.

  6. I'm reading I Capture the Castle and it's a definite cheer me up kind of read. I hope your mum gets better soon.

  7. Back in the land of the living and trying to forget the last couple of days, I have got through the wakeful hours with Lyndsey Davies' 'Saturnalia' - trying to skip the descriptions of food!
    Seems to have worked!

  8. If I'm feeling a sad kind of down I find Alexander McCall Smith's Isabel Dalhousie novels cheer me up. If it's a lethargic kind of down then a detective novel usually does the trick.

  9. Sorry for a glum day yesterday; hot chocolate is definitely a good cheerer. I like Rachel's suggestion of buying daffodils as they do definitely remind one that Spring is on the way

  10. "The Little White Horse" by Elizabeth Goudge & any/all Mapp & Lucia books by E.F. Benson - works every time :)

  11. I do hope your Mum feels better soon.

    I can just imagine Provincial Lady cheering you up. Her matter of fact way of dealing with obnoxious people was so good that even remembering snippets of it is nice. This is one book you should not have to return to a library which is what I had to do. I think I should try to get it for myself as a permanent fixture around!

  12. I'm sorry you were down yesterday and that your mom isn't feeling well. I hope you both feel better soon.

    My comfort read that I have gone back to time and time again since I was about 11 or 12 is The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery. It's the story of a 29 year old unmarried woman living near the beginning of the twentieth century in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada, with her dominating mother and cousin. She comes out of her shell, begins to be herself, and makes her own decisions for the first time in her life after a surprising revelation. It is a joy to read, and I highly recommend it. It always makes me feel better whenever I need a pick-me-up.

  13. Anything by D. E. Stevenson is a good comfort read for me.

  14. Well you made me laugh with the image of you trying to turn pages with your gloves on, Simon!

    This time of year I find that a visit to my local nursery really cheers me up. It smells nice, is colourful and so warm. And I agree about the hot chocolate in bed, Deacon usually jumps up and then out comes the stain remover!

    All the best to you and your Mum.

  15. Wodehouse's Wooster and Jeeves always seems to work for me. I still haven't read the Provincial Lady books, but I think I must--perhaps next time we have a gray and rainy/snowy day. (That might be tomorrow.)

  16. For non-fiction, one of the two volumes of Nancy Mitford's letters (Love, Nancy; The Letters of NM and Evelyn Waugh) are always reliable for a laugh, and to transport the reader into the mind of another writer.
    Hope you won't need this medicine too often.

  17. Here are some books that have me laughing out loud in public. Anything by Jonathan Tropper, especially The Book Of Joe. I love Michael Malone's Handling Sin, an epic road trip. Hens Dancing by Rafaella Barker. Also the Vinyl Cafe collection from Stuart McLean. Hope these cheer you up. They are a little different from the ones suggested by your other blog readers.

  18. Being both an avid reader and a gardener and being buried by snow here in New England I have been reading gardening books to keep me believing in spring. I never tire of Beverly Nichols' Merry Hall trilogy and am currently reading Robin Lane Fox's "Thoughtful Gardening". However for a book that really makes me grin, it's "Mama Makes up her Mind" or "Sleeping at the Starlight Motel", collections of stories by public radio's Bailey White. Southern eccentricity at its most entertaining. That being said, during the worst time of my life, I discovered D. E. Stevenson and searched out and read all her novels. Knowing you can count on everything turning out all right is a great comfort.
    Hope OVW is feeling better.

  19. Hope your Mum's feeling much better.
    Secret Lives by E.F.Benson, Loitering with Intent by Muriel Spark, and Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford always cheer me up.
    Looks like E.F.Benson is the clear winner here.
    Have you read "Colin II" by Benson? Dark and brilliant.
    Have you read any Laurie Lee? If I had to pick one beloved and cherished book, it would be "I Can't Stay Long" by Lee.
    I vote you the best book blogger :)


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