Every night, I relax with a (hopefully) good book. I am a devotee of the classics, but I am not above re-reading the entire Harry Potter series every year. It helps me to unwind after a hectic day and keep my mind diverted on lighter things (instead of worrying) and drift off to sleep. I have done this for as long as I can remember. I remember being scolded as a girl because my reading lamp was still on late into the night because I kept saying to myself, “just one more chapter!” I already did a list of books I wanted my girls to read here , but I wanted to divulge what I have been reading lately. Just for funsies.
For the past several months, I have been alternating between cravings for the authors P. G. Wodehouse and Rex Stout. I read Rex Stout when I am feeling particularly braced. Like God is in his heaven, and all is right with the world. My favorite series of Rex Stout’s is the Nero Wolfe series of murder mysteries, of course. Nero Wolfe is a corpulent New York City detective (from Montenegro) who lives in a brownstone with his debonair assistant Archie Goodwin, his Swiss chef Fritz, and his sea of priceless orchids in the greenhouse on the roof. He solves murders and mahem without ever leaving his office, but only because he can send his wisecracking assitant Archie in his stead. It is an enjoyable romp, but if I am already stressed all of the murders can become upsetting after a while. This one is probably my favorite Nero Wolfe mystery.
If I am feeling stressed and overwhelmed (an admittedly common occurrence), I opt for a P. G. Wodehouse story instead. Wodehouse has two character series that I really enjoy. One is Lord Emsworth, the other is Jeeves. Lord Emsworth is a wealthy peer from England who enjoys a quiet life, but mostly his prized sow, aptly named the Empress of Blandings. His bossy sister and her nagging ways and his goofy son and his foolhardy enterprises are always interrupting his aims, however. Hilarity ensues. This is probably my favorite of the Lord Emsworth stories. The other beloved Wodehouse character, Jeeves, the personal gentleman’s gentleman, you might have heard of from the British comedy, “Jeeves and Wooster,” starring Hugh Laurie of “House” fame as Bertie Wooster and Stephen Fry as Jeeves. The books are even funnier. This is my favorite collection of Jeeves stories. They are laugh out loud and scare your husband half to death in the middle of the night funny.
My dear friend (and daily texting buddy) of this blog recommended this book for me. She is a lovely mama to eight children, and has been giving me sage advice on how to establish some manageable family boundaries, especially since the holiday season is coming up, and we tend to be confronted with a lot of demands on our time, funds, and energy during that time. I’m trying to get us into a workable routine so that we can avoid being stretched too thin. I’m sure many of you can relate. The Christmas season in particular can be so hectic and distracting during a time when you just want to slow down and reverently meditate on the joyful mystery of the nativity of our Lord. Anyway, the book approaches boundaries in relationships from a Biblical perspective, and I found it very enlightening. I’m not sure if I agreed with everything the author says, but I found many passages helpful nonetheless.
What are you reading these days? I’m always on the prowl for good literature. I was thinking about starting “Jane Eyre” as my primary education was sorely lacking and I neglected to read it. But I’m hesitant because I’m afraid it will be too stressful. Ah, reading probs.
Cover photo: “The Story Book” William Adolphe Bouguereau