chestnut book blog

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Comfort reading

Comfort eating is a term we hear all the time, but personally, when the chips are down, I turn to my books. It has been a difficult fortnight for many reasons and so I have been burying myself in a few books to keep my chin up. I thought I’d share them with you in case you do the same or in case they are as helpful to you as they have been for me.

The first thing I consulted was The Novel Cure: An A-Z of Literary Remedies. I thought this would have some wise suggestions and sure enough, it did. Jane Eyre was one of the prescriptions for my particular malady and so I turned to the classic gladly.

The second thing I did was to reach for the books that I know I find comforting. The literary equivalent of a hug. There were as follows:

– Howards End is on the Landing by Susan Hill

A book about books that I have mentioned many times and will, unapologetically, continue to mention. Hill’s gentle memoir is like a long warm soak in a bubble bath, followed by warm, fluffy towels. She describes pouring over pop-up books and reading Dickens by the fire as the rain hammers on the windows. Wonderful stuff and just what I needed this week.

– The Magic Apple Tree by Susan Hill

Another Susan Hill, but no apologies from me for it! The descriptions of her making marmalade in her country kitchen, the seasons changing around her cottage and the moods of the magic apple tree of the title are so comforting. Some of the scenes remind my of my own childhood in the countryside, which is one of the reasons I find it so therapeutic. There is also something about nature being so much bigger and older than ourselves that I find strangely calming. This is just such a gentle, peaceful book and that is just what a troubled soul needs.

The English Country House by Julian Fellowes and James Peill

The English Country House by James Peill

The English Country House by James Peill

Does any one else find gorgeous interiors and big fat coffee table books dripping with images incredibly soothing? This was one of my Christmas presents from my lovely husband and I’ve been drooling over it!

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R.Tolkein

If life is proving a bit tricky, I find a bit of pure escapism is sometimes a balm. How could I worry about my own troubles when there is a dark magic ring to destroy, mountains to climb, rivers to cross and orks to avoid? The central message that friendship conquers all also has a nice feel to it.

So after all that reading, I am now feeling a lot better and ready to return to my blogging. Normal service of two to three posts per week will be resumed and I am looking forward to sharing lots of bookish things with you.

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A Private History of Happiness No. 2

After reading Myerson’s A Private History of Happiness, I’ve been thinking more about happiness and decided to consult my other new book on the subject. The Novel Cure – An A to Z of Literary Remedies prescribes for ‘happiness, searching for’ Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. That wouldn’t have been my choice I’m not going to lie, but here is what authors Berthoud and Elderkin have to say:

The relentless pursuit of happiness is an aliment, and  must be cured. Ray Bradbury knew this too…Fahrenheit 451 will teach you that life is made of a rich variety of experiences. Live to the full not by seeking happiness, but by embracing knowledge, literature, truth and feelings of every sort.

Hmmm, that feels quite profound doesn’t it? Food for thought!! But in the meantime, on a less profound note, I will leave you with a few autumnal pictures that make me happy. I hope they do for you too!

Roaring Fire

Roaring Fire and Pumpkins

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