Between my newest RIP reads, which I have added to an already towering pile of 'in progress' reads and a number of crime novels (which seem to make up the bulk of that towering pile at the moment), I am very much in the mood for a story of the 'charming', 'comfort read' type. I wouldn't mind a story that is somewhat predictable or even very romance-ish. Something 'nice' with no violence or nasty characters, but in keeping with trying to reduce the number of books already on the go, I was thinking that it is time to pick up my next Melville House novella. I have fallen very behind in my subscription reading, and I have about three novellas now that I need to write about sometime soon before they completely fade from memory.
Have you read Christopher Morley? I think he is quite popular with booklovers. He wrote Parnassus on Wheels in 1917 (finally a book to add to my 'Century of Books'?) and a sequel, The Haunted Bookshop in 1919. I have strong feeling that they are both going to fall into that 'charming' category. The blurb notes that Parnassus on Wheels has been a "longtime favorite of bibliophiles". It is "not only a charming romantic comedy, but an inspiring ode to a life in books." It is a story of a woman who thinks books can "rescue her from a life of servitude."
I'm only just starting to read the novella, so here is a teaser from the opening pages:
"I wonder if there isn't a lot of bunkum in higher education? I never found that people who were learned in logarithms and other kinds of poetry were any quicker in washing dishes or darning socks. I've done a good deal of reading when I could, and I don't want to 'admit impediments' to the love of books, but I've also seen lots of good, practical folk spoiled by too much fine print. Reading sonnets always gives me hiccups, too."
"I never expected to be an author! But I do think there are some amusing things about the story of Andrew and myself and how books broke up our placid life. When John Gutenberg, whose real name (so the Professor says) was John Gooseflesh, borrowed money to set up his printing press he launched a lot of troubles on the world."
Hah. The story's narrator (in Parnassus on Wheels) has a wonderful 'voice'. She makes me chuckle inside with her wry observations. If this is what I had to do every day I would want a little adventure of my own, too (which I think in this case is going to be having a roving bookstore).
"I didn't think much of all this, but I'm an easy-going woman and as long as Andrew kept the farm going I had plenty to do on my own hook. Hot bread and coffee, eggs and preserves for breakfast; soup and hot meat, vegetables, dumplings, gravy, brown bread and white, huckleberry pudding, chocolate cake and buttermilk for dinner; muffins, tea, sausage rolls, blackberries and cream, and doughnuts for supper--that's the kind of menu I had been preparing three times a day for years. I hadn't time to worry about what wasn't my business".
That's quite a daily menu! It reminds me of the Little House books. I guess all that heavy farm work calls for lots of serious meals!
I think this is going to be great fun. I wonder if I can count The Haunted Bookshop towards my RIP reading? This should be a satisfying read, but I might just have a look at a few lists I made in the past of favorite comfort reads (here and here) and mine the lists for another potential comfort read. It's been a few years since I have made those lists, so maybe it's time to revamp them. Surely I've added to them in the last few years. What is your latest favorite comfort read?