Sunday, September 21, 2014

Miss Read

I have been knocked out by the most awful head cold.  I'm left with watery eyes, a dripping nose, a sore throat, and a dull headache.  Gah.  And it add insult to injury, today was Music Sunday at church.  Every 5th Sunday, we have a gorgeous, completely music-centric church-service and today's was particularly gorgeous.  And, people, I couldn't sing.  I was disgusted.  I came home and brewed myself a cup of tea and pulled out a Miss Read novel while the rain gently drizzled down.  It was lovely to curl up with a gently gossipy novel and forget about my streaming head cold for a few hours.
Miss Read, otherwise known as Dora Saint.

Miss Read wrote these two cozy, gentle series about two English villages.  The stories are just daily life accounts, rather like having a long gossip session with a good friend.  The two series (Thrush Green and Fairacre) are both about small country villages full of eccentric characters who, in spite of their quirks and foibles, are lovable people.

The stories are told by Miss Read herself as though she is just filling you in on the town news.  Here's the excerpt from the back of the book, as the book itself isn't really summarizable (no, that's not a word, but I'm sick and my brain isn't functioning, so I'm allowed to make up words):

"This sleepy, pristine setting conceals a flurry of activity among the villagers.  Rumor has it that Mr. Venables is considering retirement just as the village's teacher is about to make an important decision. Molly Curdle prepares for a new baby.  The kindly vicar, Charles Henstock, works on his sermon-quite unaware of the disaster that will overtake him.  However, there is never any doubt that all will end well in this very English village."

There is nothing thought-provoking or challenging about these books.  They are simply stories about everyday people living everyday lives.  The goings-on are mild and rather uninteresting, if one is used to thrilling, action-packed, drama-filled novels, but that's really the charm of these books.  Their gentleness is what is so drawing about them.  

I think the last time I read one of these books was when I was sick.  These books are akin to a cup of hot tea or a very thick wool blanket (you know, the kind that is so heavy you can barely move your shoulders).  If you are suffering from any sort of ailment, pull yourself off of your sickbed and stagger to the library and pull one of the shelf.  If you aren't suffering from any ailment, just keep these books in the back of your mind for next time your nose runs.  They make being sick positively enjoyable.  


7 comments:

  1. I have loved and re-read Miss Read many times They are as you say gentle and friendly. They also have made me laugh out loud. Miss Read's decidedly unsentimental observations about her students sometimes catch me by surprise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree! I love how briskly and unsentimentally she refers to her students.

      Delete
  2. I'd forgotten about Miss Read, I actually read one or two when I was an older teenager (my mother read them.)
    You comment '...rather backwards country villages...' which I would take issue with. In English English (as opposed to USA English) you can use backwards two ways - either the population are not very bright (or intelligent) or the village is out of the way (a long way from town and cities.) I hope you mean the latter! I was born and grew up in such a village, and even in the late 1960s the villages we lived in were pretty much like the ones she describes.
    Either way, I think I'll search out a copy and read them again as an act of nostalgia!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whoops! I meant it as in, "out of the way...or far away from a huge metropolis." I've never heard it used as unintelligent! Interesting.

      Delete
  3. In the late 1950s early 1960s 'backward' was a official label in schools for children with difficulties in education, these days in the UK known as 'special needs', I'm glad you meant it the other way!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh I'm sorry to hear you are sick! And that explains the lack of singing on Sunday, I love to hear you all sing and missed your beautiful voice. Feel better soon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I'll be sure to stand next to you again and sing extra loud ;)

      Delete