Posts filed under ‘Gentle reads’

Featured Genre Friday: Gentle Reads

And now, for a complete antidote to my last genre study, I bring you: gentle reads!

At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon / Pub Date: 1994 / 432 pgs.

Visiting Mitford, North Carolina, is almost like visiting a fairy tale, and there lies the appeal of this classic series by Jan Karon. Realism is important to me, personally, in a book, but readers who enjoy escaping to a completely pleasant world have a lot to love about the Mitford series. Despite the book’s sometimes difficult to swallow characters and situations, Mitford won even this skeptic over. Father Tim lives alone in Mitford’s rectory, in the middle of this idyllic town.  Soon, without knowing quite how, he acquires a dog, an 11-year-old boy who becomes sort of an adopted son, and a sweet relationship with the new neighbor next door.  Karon’s folksy Southern characters are ones you’ll want to return to, and you’re in luck, because At Home in Mitford is only the first book of a nine-book series. Waiting for you after you finish those is Karon’s newest series, a spinoff  starring Father Tim started in 2007 with Home to Holly Springs, boding well for future books.

Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man by Fanny Flagg / Pub Date: Sept. 1992 / 320 pgs.

If you enjoyed Flagg’s classic Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle-Stop Cafe, certainly try this hilarious, light-hearted tale of Daisy Fay Harper, writing as a precocious pre-teenager in the 1950’s.  The book takes the form of Daisy Fay’s diary during her most…interesting years, from age 11 through the end of her teens. Daisy Fay gets herself into a variety of wacky adventures growing up in Mississippi.  Flagg paints a loving picture of Southern small-town life in a bygone era, and Daisy’s voice will grab you from the first page.

The Girls by Lori Lansens / Pub. Date: May 2006 / 352 pgs.

This book captures the feeling of a small town and all its quirky characters from a very unique perspective–that of a pair of conjoined twin sisters by the names of Rose and Ruby Darlen.  In alternating chapters, Lansens narrates the story from the point of view of each sister, cleverly crafting separate identities for them. Writing their autobiography is budding author Rose’s idea, one that Ruby, the prettier though less linguistically inclined sister, just goes along with. Ruby, however, adds her own valuable insight to their tale. This is a lesser-known book, but I added it for the depiction of country life and Lansens’ interesting characters–none more so, of course, than the twins themselves.

Other Suggestions:

The Good Good Pig by Sy Montgomery / Pub. Date: May 2006 / 272 pgs.

Like Marley and Me, but with a lovable 750-lb. pig as the main character.  Christopher Hogwood–aforementioned 750-lb. main character–charms author Montgomery and the other members of her small New Hampshire town.

Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind by Ann B. Ross / Pub. Date: June 1999 / 288 pgs.

Proper Christian widow Miss Julia is startled by the arrival of her late  husband’s mistress and her nine-year-old boy, her husband’s “last legacy.” From Publisher’s Weekly: “Ross’s characters resist their stereotypical outlines…along with its homespun appeal, the novel offers an interesting take on gender, race and family in the South; it’s fast-paced and funny despite Ross’s persistent asides to readers and reference to serious issues.”

February 12, 2010 at 2:48 pm Leave a comment


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