Gentle Reads for Autumn Days

Village Diary by Miss Read

The morning fog is rolling in and the leaves are turning here in the Pacific Northwest, a sure sign that we are well into autumn. Despite my trepidation that winter will soon close in, I’m so enjoying this season. My knitting needles have come out, my tea is once again served hot, and my library bag is bulging. The cozy spirit of this time of year demands, I think, gentle reads. Here are some favourite authors I always return to when the weather cools. 

Miss Read

Pseudonym of English author Dora Saint, Miss Read’s books offer a wholesome escape into post-WWII rural England. She wrote two series — the Fairacre and Thrush Green novels. In both, the author writes about village life and the delights of the countryside with a wise and discerning eye. The novels are not saccharine nor are they without incursions from the harsher side of life, but they always leave you feeling restored and ready for a walk along the downs.

Barbara Pym

I’ve written about Barbara Pym before, but my enthusiasm has not waned since that first post. Another English author, Pym too wrote about the quiet life, but within different circles and with a sharper, drier wit than Miss Read. She had a fine eye for the intricacies of human relationships, particularly between men and woman. Her novels are incisive and thoughtful but also filled with a charming array of church teas, woolen skirts, and glasses of sherry.

Beverley Nichols

It seems all my gentle reads are coming from English authors today. For my last submission, I give you Beverley Nichols. I think Nichols should best be remembered for his gardening books. He wrote about three of the gardens (and homes) he cultivated over his life. My favourites are the Merry Hall books, which chronicle his time spent renovating a Georgian house and garden. Nichols had an evocative, poetic voice, quite unlike Pym’s restrained dryness. But he was also witty, ironic, and not a little sarcastic. I think you will find his books enchanting, but also very funny.

Until our next read,

Olive

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