My six are a mix of old favorites and new discoveries—books I’m glad are in the world and books I’m glad to be reading now.
1. Ten Apples Up on Top. No matter how many times I read this book, the expressions on the animals' faces, especially the dog’s (see above), make me happy. It is brilliant.
2. The Blue Sapphire, by D.E. Stevenson. Jen has talked in the past about her fondness for D.E. Stevenson’s book, Listening Valley. Although I like that one too, The Blue Sapphire is my favorite Stevenson comfort read. It’s plot is not much—girl strikes out on her own, finds job selling hats (which is a lot of fun to read about), gets a stock market tip from a handsome stranger that leads to a solid chunk of money, heads off to Scotland to visit ailing uncle, redecorates his house, finds romance…yeah. Whatever. But believe me, it is truly comforting book.
3. My Family and Other Animals. Gerald Durrell is a favorite author of mine to read when things are grey and despondent. In this book, he combines the sunshine of an idyllic Corfu, a wonderfully insane family, and natural history to create a perfect comfort read.
4. Poison Study, by Maria Snyder. I had read quite a few mentions of this in various blogs, all recommending it. I shall now recommend it too, to anyone looking for a really gripping, really interesting, really good “girl discovering secret powers while a victim of adverse circumstances book.” It makes me happy to think that when I go home in a few hours I will be curling up with it again…
5. What Darwin Saw: The Journey That Changed the World, by Rosalyn Schanzer. A wonderful picture book, that uses Darwin’s own words to tell what he saw. It is so gratifying to bring home a book that is an acceptable offering for one’s eight year old, as this one was. Few things beat seeing your child quietly reading to himself. (Although this morning my boys played their first board game (Parcheesi) alone!!! Without a parent! Without fighting!).
6. And finally, here’s a nod to the small but significant group of books in my possession that make me happy even though I try not to ever open them—the Valuable Ones. One in particular that makes me happy is my first edition copy of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as illustrated by Arthur Rackham. I worked my tale off for this book about 15 years ago, when I was a poor graduate student, scrounging at library book sales for anything I though could remotely be traded in for book store credit at my local used book store. It took about two years, but finally I had enough in credit to be able to afford the balance. At last it was mine…However, the owner of the book store kind of hinted that he didn’t want me to do it again. And I haven’t…but oh my gosh it is a lovely book.
And here are the six people I'm tagging next, either for the original version or the books version: Sheila at Wands and Worlds, Anamaria at Books Together, Sibylle at In Training for a Heroine, Els at Librarian Mom, Em at Em's Bookshelf, and Jen, at Jen Robinson's Book Page.