Here are some reading recommendations for a non-stressful, “gentle” reading experience. Click on the title to check availability.

If you want to escape to a simpler time, try one of the books by “Miss Read” (Dora Jessie Schafe) set in a British village during the 1950s. In Storm in the Village, the headmistress of Fairacre School learns of a the proposed new housing development that soon has the citizens of Fairacre up in arms.

or Thrush Green. On May Day during the annual fair in the small village of Thrush Green, complications develop in the relationships of a group of inhabitants.  Curtis Library has copies of several books in both the Fairacre series and the Thrush Green series.

You may want to spend time in the fictional rural county of Barsetshire, in the witty novels by Angela Thirkell.  Her books are filled with social climbers, eccentric aristocrats and scheming servants.  Try Wild Strawberries.

The inimitable PG Wodehouse used slapstick and satire in his novels. The best known are probably the Jeeves and Wooster stories, featuring Bertie Wooster and his valet Jeeves. For a sample, try The Most of Wodehouse, a story collection.

Stella Gibbons’ Cold Comfort Farm also takes you back to a simpler time.  First published in 1932, this classic satirical novel tells the story of sensible Flora Poste, who is orphaned at age 19. Leaving the city to go live with relatives in deepest Sussex at the aptly named Cold Comfort Farm, she meets the gloomy and eccentric Starkadder family. Flora soon shakes things up.

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym is a subtle comedy about life and its complications chronicles the experiences of spinster Mildred Lathbury, who tends to become involved in other people’s affairs, set in England during the 1950s.

Looking for a setting closer to home and a bit more modern? You might like the Mitford novels by Jan Karon. Set in fictional Mitford, North Carolina, this heartwarming series features Episcopal priest Father Tim Kavanaugh and the denizens of Mitford.  Start with At Home in Mitford.  If you have already read the series, but want to learn more about the world of Mitford, consider The Mitford Bedside Companion, a treasury of favorite Mitford moments and author reflections.  Or Bathed in Prayer, collection of prayers, sermons, and inspirational quotes from the Mitford series’ beloved fictional religious leader is complemented by new essays and author reflections on faith.

Ann B. Ross is best known for her “Miss Julia” series, which features the eccentric characters of a gossipy small town, including the proper yet sassy Southern septuagenarian Miss Julia. Ross writes warm, quirky character novels. Start with: Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind.

You can’t go wrong with one of Debbie Macomber optimistic, inspirational novels, which often feature a romance. The Blossom Street novels, (just one of her many series), are set in contemporary downtown Seattle. These inspiring stories bring together women of all ages and backgrounds for knitting classes at Lydia Hoffman’s A Good Yarn shop. As they work together on projects, the characters grow in self-awareness and work through personal issues, often also finding true love in the process. Start with: The Shop on Blossom Street.

Jennifer Chiaverini writes heart-warming, character-centered gentle reads with a focus on the dynamics of small town life and of intergenerational conflict, as well as the traditional art of quilting. In her Elm Creek Quilters series, women gather from all walks of life and ages, putting aside their differences and working together to create fabric masterpieces. Try The Quilter’s Apprentice.

Adriana Trigiani has earned a tremendous following with her formula of engaging and animated characters, humorous description, and lots of love, both familial and romantic Start with: Big Stone Gap.

For more gentle humor, try Sophie Kinsella‘s My Not So Perfect Life  or Nina Stibbe’s Man at the Helm.


Need more recommendations?  Want us to put together a “grab bag” of books? We are happy to help!  Call us at 725-5242 or email