You know, the kind where nothing truly bad happens, and you know everything is going to turn out ok in the end. There’s no awful things done to women of any sort. Any murder is off-stage before the book starts or is a murder of someone nobody (including the reader) liked. Any dreadful dark secrets are things that happened literally centuries ago. Often the worst thing that happens is nothing more dangerous than embarrassing oneself at a party. Despite what Google wants me to think, they don’t have to be mystery novels!
Sometimes they’re delightful. Sometimes they’re calming. Sometimes they’re life-affirming. Sometimes they’re quality, but often they’re popcorn. The kind of book you’re not rushing to end, and you wish you could get back to during a stressful day.
Martha Wells! But not her more recent stuff which is dramatic and not everything works out neatly and perfectly. But #2 just finished and really liked City of Bones. Recommended!
Kismet is fun. :) And the music! And The Importance of Being Earnest. And the Matchmaker (from whence Hello Dolly! came). Also all excellent movies. Well, maybe not Kismet (we may never know, as most of the movies have been lost to the sands of time), but it has a great operatic soundtrack…actually two.
Stranger at the Wedding by Barbara Hambly is a bit on the intense side for this topic (#1 thinks it’s totally appropriate, along with Bride of the Rat God which kind of fits in with Scalzi’s Agent to the Stars), but A College of Magics by Caroline Stevermer is just right. (As is Sorcery and Cecelia and some of Diana Wynne Jones. Often YA is a great place for this stuff. A lot of Nina Kiriki Hoffman stuff is life-affirming, though NOT Fall of Light which is triggery and victim-blamey) #2 has re-read the first few books of Amber in The Great Book of Amber compilation a bunch of times. Basically I find the throne war fascinating but I’m meh on the stuff that comes after. (TEAM BENEDICT 4 EVAR!)
I feel like we should have some Chick Lit here, but I never keep the Chick Lit so I don’t really know any titles. There were a bunch of Chick Lit vampire books that we sent back and forth to each other, but I’m blanking on titles (Dead girls don’t…?).
#2 adds that Dune (#1 Dune? Really?) and Jane Eyre are both soothing to me after years of many re-reads. A lot of Mercedes Lackey is questionable but Arrows of the Queen and Owlsight are both familiar and therefore soothing. Lord Peter Wimsey novels by Sayers. Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman, because it’s nonfiction about books, which is the most soothing of all. Sometimes nonfiction works out nicely because it’s not necessarily about any characters getting bashed on. I also appreciate Amanda Cross’s Kate Fansler mysteries because they are full of the main character being in her head, and I am too. You can be sure that justice and harmony will prevail in Dee Goong An (Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee). And of course, the queen of the cozy mystery, Agatha Christie.
I need more of these. MORE.
Gentle readers, please give me recommendations!