A Reading Rainbow (Of Books for Adults)

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 


About sylcell

Wife, mom of four girls, Catholic, insatiable sweet tooth
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9 Responses to A Reading Rainbow (Of Books for Adults)

  1. Paige says:

    Boundaries is indeed very helpful. I read it a couple of years after college, and found myself wishing I’d known about it much earlier. If you’re into non-fiction or biographies, I’d recommend anything by Eric Metaxas. He has one on William Wilberforce called Amazing Grace and another on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but I prefer the shorter and much easier to read 7 Men And The Secret of Their Greatness for bedtime.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rachel O says:

    I love reading (and re reading ) sir Arthur Conan Doyle’ sherlock holmes stories. They are classics that are fun and exciting but not too heavy and stressful if life happens to already be that way ( it often does for me). I also recently found a two book series that my older kids (11, 10 and 9) love to hear/read called “Hook’s Revenge” and “Hook’s Revenge: the Pirate Code”. Super fun! A light hearted twist on Never land and those connected to Hook and Peter Pan. It’s my unwind book right now I love it! Happy reading!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • sylcell says:

      I’m such a wimp, the Sherlock Holmes books stress me out too! I was re-reading “The Hound of the Baskervilles” recently and I had to put it down because it was scaring me to death, LOL. I’ll try those Hook books, thank you!


      • Rachel O says:

        The Hour of the Baskervilles is one of his scary ones! I tend toward the collects of short stories more than the novels. But I totally understand. I am a wimp too, i dont do scary, or voiolent or anything too risqué. My favorite Holmes collection is ” The Return of Sherlock Holmes”, alot of the stories are intrigue and mystery more than murder. You can often download them free on kindle.

        Liked by 1 person

      • sylcell says:

        Awesome! I remember reading them when I was young, but other than that, I remember next to nothing about them, so it would be fun to revisit them. Thanks for the rec!


  3. DEFINITELY read Jane Eyre! It’s one of my absolute favorites. I teach high school English, and I just finished teaching it to my upper-level kids … it was well-received. I should add that it may keep you awake at night, though, because at a certain point you simply won’t be able to put it down ….

    I love Wodehouse too. My “go-to” reads when I want something light and non-angsty before bed tend to be the Miss Read novels. They are pure English coziness.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sylcell says:

      Well, that settles it. Jane Eyre it is! And I haven’t heard of the Miss Read novels! I must look them up. Thank you for the recs from a pro!


      • There are two Miss Read series … I think the Fairacre books are better than the Thrush Green ones. The first one of the series is called Village School. The books start out good and get even better as the series goes on. Happy reading!

        Liked by 1 person

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