Thursday, May 05, 2016

Book Talk

I will be forever thankful to my friend, Kristi, for encouraging me to read novels by D. E. Stevenson.  Books by Stevenson are in their own little bookshelf in my home (along with their friends by Elizabeth Goudge)... greatly treasured.

Kristi gifted me with Listening Valley last year and I (no surprise) loved it.  For my favorite books by Stevenson either take place in Scotland or the characters end up in Scotland. 

After finishing that book, I looked to see if there were any sequels and I found, while not really a"prequel", Celia's House takes place in the same small Scottish town, ending just prior to when the main character of Listening Valley moves to the town.

A couple months ago, I used Amazon credit (thank you!) to purchase Celia's House.  While I adore old and well worn books, it is quite wonderful that so many of these old favorites are now available in paperback (and some on Kindle) at a reasonable price.

I had to set it aside to finish a couple of review books but when I was finally able to read it, it had the same affect that many of Stevenson's books do... I felt I was in England and Scotland!

Celia's House is about a family who are surprised to inherit the family home from the husband's Great Aunt Celia.  We learn some of Celia's past and we go through the years with Celia's nephew and his family as they love the grand old home.

As with other Stevenson books, the house and the land and the neighbors become central characters in the book.  Which is why one feels they could smell the aroma of the Scottish sod.

Although it had only been last year that I read Listening Valley, I read it again immediately after finishing Celia's House.  For that is where it belongs in its' proper reading.  (Although I didn't know Celia's House existed before my research.)

While each book can be enjoyed on their own, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Listening Valley even more the second time around because I now knew the history of the people and the town.  As with other Stevenson novels, I also noticed a name or two associated with the delightful series that begins with Vittoria Cottage.

I wrote recently about my need to "run to the lovely" and these are the kinds of books that help keep joy alive.  I love books about Great Britain in WWII and the Scottish Highlands and how we all need each other in times of trouble.  They will definitely be read again. 

I also read a nonfiction book last week that I greatly enjoyed. 

I will admit to following Amazon recommendations.  You know, those "People Who Bought this Book Also Bought" rabbit trails.  That's how I find great books that were not on my radar.

The Cozy Life by Pia Edberg came along just at the time I needed to read about Beauty and warm and fuzzy things. The subtitle is "Rediscover the Joy of the Simple Things Through the Danish Concept of Hygge".

Pia now lives in Canada but was born in Denmark.  This book is not very big but it is exactly what I needed.  In reading about how the Danish cherish and live with the warm, cozy, lovely concepts of adding Beauty to their every day lives.

I purchased this as a Kindle download (it is still very inexpensive) and when I finished it, my Kindle loaned my daughter's Kindle the book immediately.  I plan to purchase the paperback version when I have a little extra Amazon credit.

Pia explains in the book how the long, dark winters in Denmark brought about the simplicity of lighting candles, enjoying hot coffee or tea when arriving home in the cold, adding beauty to their homes to bring warmth and light in their stark environment.

While there are times I feel winter will never end in my part of the world (it has been a very cool spring), we don't live in an area where it is dark for months upon months at a time.  However, we can learn a lot from the Danish people and their love of Hygge. 

Reading this book while listening to a cold rain outside my window was in itself, practicing Hygge.  Loved it.

Listening Valley can be found... here.
Celia's House can be found... here.
The Cozy Life can be found... here.

I mentioned D. E. Stevenson's wonderful Drumberely series which begins with Vittoria Cottage.  I know I've given links to the three books before but I'll add them here, too.

The hardback is pricey but the Kindle Version for each of the three books in the series is only $3.99 each.  They make perfect summer reading!
Vittoria Cottage (Book 1)... here.
Music in the Hills (Book 2)... here.
Shoulder the Sky (Book 3)... here.

*Most links to are Associate links and I earn a very small percentage.


Thickethouse.wordpress said...

I do love suggesting DEStevenson to people who then read and love her books. There are other books in Ryddleton. You would probably like Anna and Her Daughters.

Susan D said...

Kristi sent me here.... I like to hear about other people discovering and loving DES. Read long and prosper.

Karen Knox said...

If you have loved these DES books, do start right away on Miss Buncle's Book s well s its two following books, Miss Buncle Married and The Two Mrs. Abbotts. They are all three available from Persephone Books or from other sources as well as on Kindle. And you can always rely on Kristi for good book recommendations!

Karen Knox

Terra said...

I do have D.E. Stevenson on my wish list, and also the Miss Buncle book. I like novels set in Scotland and England, whether in the 1880s or the 1940s or any time in between.

Jenny said...

Thank you for recommending DE Stevenson! I read Vittoria Cottage and was hooked! She is now one of my al time favorite authors.

Julie B said...

I'm another directed here by Kristi : ) My D. E. Stevenson books are also neighbored by my Elizabeth Goudge books. I think the Goudge's used to be my favorites, but as I get older and need books that are easy reading and joy-giving, I think my Stevensons have moved into favorite status. Here in the Chicago area, we had the privilege of getting to see a play of 'Miss Buncle's Book', which has always been one of my very favorites, because of the humor. Some even flew in to the area from great distances, to get to see it. My husband drove myself, our daughter and two daughters-in-law in to the city to see it. It was a treat!

Vee said...

I have been floating out on a link three times and each time I got lost. I feel like I'm living in a certain Frost poem. Anyway, I found a number of these books available at Abe's books, even a first edition in only fair condition. Okay, Kristi told me about Miss Buncle and I downloaded it on my Kindle app, which is located on the now croaked PC. I am going to redouble my efforts.

Marie said...

Thank you so much for your recommendations! I am really enjoying your Book Talk posts and find good reading material there. Thanks so much!

Mary said...

Ooo, thank you for the book recs, Brenda. I'm looking forward to reading each one! I read the
Miss Buncle series (also by DE Stevenson) and enjoyed it. Have you read Maud Hart Lovelace's
Betsy-Tacy series and Emily of Deep Valley? I love these books - the first 2 books in the B-T series
are for young children, But the rest are very enjoyable jr. fiction (for seniors, too ;). They are set in
Minnesota in the early 1900s. TTFN~

Karen Andreola said...

I read "Celia's House" over the winter on kindle and enjoyed following the life of a whole family of characters. I loved the ending (but don't let me temp your readers to peek). When I like the mother of a story it makes me happy and I feel I've made a book-friend for life. But in "Celia's House" I also liked the father and several of the children very much, too. "Miss Buncle's Book" was a gift to me from a friendship-afar (on kindle) that made me smile and chuckle most of the way through. Humor in a story makes a cozy read.

Finding Joy said...

I own 12 of DE Stevenson's book, old now as they once belonged to my mother. I use to read them as a teenager (many moons ago) and didn't realise that there are other women who enjoy her books :)))

Earlier this year I wrote two blog posts about the concept of "hygge" and found it very interesting, so did my readers. I try and incorporate the ideas of hygge into my home as I think they are wonderful and what we all should be as if it was normal rather than different.

Regards Jo