Books like Jan Karon or James Herriot
February 26, 2015 8:16 AM   Subscribe

What to read after she's finished the Jan Karon books?

Mom's in the hospital again, and enjoying the Jan Karon book I got her for Christmas as a distraction. It's the last of the Karon books that she hadn't read, though, so do you have recommendations for similar books that are fun and gentle and interesting without being scary or hard? Other examples of books she's enjoyed while ill include James Herriot, the Brother Cadfell mysteries, and YA series. Bonus points: set in rural Britain or other bucolic landscapes. Ideas?
posted by ldthomps to Writing & Language (15 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Going off the animal stories angle of James Herriot, Gerald Durrell's My Family and Other Animals and others are light, diverting and sweet.
Centered around his childhood idyll on a Greek Island, there's a lot of sunshine, and budding child naturalist delight in these books.
This is in stark contrast to his brother Lawrence, do not confuse the two.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 8:25 AM on February 26, 2015 [5 favorites]

Gerald Durrell. His books are not set in rural Britain, but his autobiographical works of his family's time in Corfu definitely have a rural British sensibility. I suggest starting with My Family and Other Animals and moving on from there.
posted by sid at 8:25 AM on February 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

If she hasn't read any Miss Read, she's got a treat in store!

Also, The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim.
posted by JanetLand at 8:28 AM on February 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

Maude Hart Lovelace's Betsy-Tacy series. Set in Deep Valley, Minnesota just before (and during) the First World War -- although there is no war book, not really. I'd start with the older books. Heaven to Betsy starts when Betsy starts high school, and continues on with five more books (now reissued in lovely two-book volumes).

Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat. Three men in Victorian England take a boating trip up the river. Note that this won't be appropriate if she has stitches -- it's very funny.

L. M. Montgomery. Her books are generally set in small-town Atlantic Canada. Your mother has probably read Anne of Green Gables, but the other series are terrific, and The Blue Castle is a classic.

Diary of a Provincial Lady. Everyday life in rural England between the Wars. There is a second WW book and I'd skip that one, but the first book is a treasure.
posted by pie ninja at 8:35 AM on February 26, 2015 [3 favorites]

Can't believe I forgot to put in a plug for my beloved Lark Rise to Candleford. (nothing like the BBC tv show)
posted by JanetLand at 8:54 AM on February 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

Lord Peter Wimsey series by Dorothy Sayers.
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 9:04 AM on February 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

My mother and, to some extent, I, love this type of gentle, pastoral book, which we call "books in which nothing happens."

Angela Thirkell is the queen bee of these. I've recently been reading D. E. Stevenson. I sent my mother a copy of Henrietta's War, which she reports that she enjoyed, although I haven't read it yet.
posted by telophase at 9:34 AM on February 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

D. E. Stevenson and others are currently being republished as part of The Bloomsbury Group, and if those suit, it may be a good idea to poke about the other books in that collection.
posted by telophase at 9:35 AM on February 26, 2015

Cider With Rosie

Also, I think that she should try Rosy Thornton, in particular The Tapestry of Love (don't be put off by how it looks, there is romance in it, but it is primarily a A rural idyll; a love letter to rural France and its people).

I also highly recommend Van Reid's Moosepath League books set in Maine, here's the first one.

Finally, there is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
posted by gudrun at 10:00 AM on February 26, 2015

Lots of great ideas here, thank you! You guys are definitely on the right track, as I think I've seen Gerald Durrell in her bookshelf, know she Loved the Betsy-Tacy books, and see a bunch of others here that look spot-on.
posted by ldthomps at 10:53 AM on February 26, 2015

"The Unlikely Voyage Of Jack De Crow" by AJ Mackinnon!
posted by The otter lady at 11:15 AM on February 26, 2015

Nevil Shute's books are semi-bucolic, but might be hard to find now. Some of them are wonderful.
posted by anadem at 3:53 PM on February 26, 2015

The Darling Buds of May?
posted by Grangousier at 4:51 PM on February 26, 2015

Thanks so much for the great ideas, all! I've marked a few best answers of things I know she likes, and can't wait to send on a few of these other excellent suggestions. Feel free to add more!
posted by ldthomps at 6:42 AM on February 27, 2015

Not in Britain, but would likely meet the rest of your requirements: Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Cafe.
posted by Amy NM at 5:47 AM on March 5, 2015

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