< Back to all posts

There comes a point when you need to turn off the gloom tap. Yes, we are going to have to stay in, like it or not for the next few weeks, so this is time to create a reading list. Continue reading Scandi Noir and apocalyptic page-turners if that’s your thing, but maybe at the moment it might soothe the soul to immerse yourself in a bit of ‘up lit’. Gentle books, to take you back in time or visit the places where time stands still. 


Lark Rise to Candleford - Flora Thompson 

Lark Rise to Candleford - Flora Thompson

‘The Hamlet stood on a gentle rise in the flat, wheat-growing, north-east corner of Oxfordshire.

We call it Lark Rise because of the great number of sky-larks, which made the surrounding fields their springboard and nested on the bare earth between the rows of corn.’


Flora Thompson's three autobiographical books brought together in one volume, describing rural life in a hamlet, a village and the market town at a time when to see a penny-farthing bicycle would cause the villagers to rush out of their cottages to stare in wonder. 



Honey from a Weed - Patience Gray

Honey from a Weed - Patience Gray

Patience Gray was a food pioneer, forager and certainly cooked seasonally before the idea had even trickled into the mainstream. For more than thirty years she lived without plumbing, electricity or a telephone in a remote area of Puglia in southern Italy. She grew her own food, and gathered and ate wild plants alongside her neighbours. Her autobiographical cookbook was published in 1987 and is still a source of inspiration, and a must-read for any foodie or lover of travel.



The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency - Alexander McCall Smith

The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency - Alexander McCall Smith

A celebration of a gentle life, led with honesty and decency by a lady of a ‘traditional build’. The action ( if you can call it that) takes place in Botswana, a country of empty spaces and echoing skies. Follow the lives of  Mma Ramotswe, Mr J.L.B Matekoni and Grace Makutsi as they down cups of bush tea and ponder on the problems at The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency. Set in Gaborone, this is a world of unfailing politeness, old rituals and a leading lady, content with life.   Certainly up lit. There are nineteen books in this series, an excellent binge read.  

The House in Little Chelsea - Clare Hastings

A story of social change and the evolution of a neighbourhood. The House follows the lives of the inhabitants of a terraced house on the borders of Chelsea. This is the story of some of the people who lived in the house. Their characters are imagined, but their names, ages and professions, provided by the census records are all real. A book to prove that life goes on, and that in every house, in every street ,there is a story just waiting to be told.



The Home Maker - Dorothy Canfield Fisher 

The Home Maker - Dorothy Canfield Fisher

On first glance, this may not seem very up-lit, but it is. Written in 1924, it could have been published yesterday, this is a very modern tale and it is also surprising that more people have not read it. The tale focuses on Evangeline, an obsessively house-proud mother and home-maker, and her husband Lester. One bored and frustrated at home, the other unhappy at work and miserable at home, while the children are stuck in the middle. Stay with this book, it will surprise you.



Master and Commander - Patrick O’Brian

Master and Commander - Patrick O’Brian

Tales of daring do and friendship, set on the high seas as Captain Jack Aubrey and his friend and companion in arms physician Stephen Maturin engage in thrilling adventures, written with elegance and detail by a master of his craft. You may be feeling very landbound, and these books ( there are many titles in the series) will bring the wind and the water swirling around the sofa, as you revel in a sailor’s life.As you would expect there are not many women characters.

This is boys' own territory, but they do pop up. Expected conversations to include ‘How long will your anchor hold?’ ‘ Nor-nor-east - just coming round the point’. ‘She’s dowsed her mainsail.’ 

Period detail is pin-sharp, and fans of Hornblower will be more than delighted.


FURTHER READING >

6 uplifting podcasts to cancel out the noise >>

Why buy it, when you can rent it >>

PrevNext

Brilliant Experiences You Might Like

{{#products.length}} {{/products.length}}
  • Blues Kitchen Shoreditch
  • Bounce
  • Geffrye Museum of the Home
  • Hoxton Hotel
  • Selfridges
  • Soho House