The literary equivalent of a sun-dappled landscape
March 23, 2020 4:29 PM   Subscribe

What books are the literary equivalent of these paintings? Other things I'm vibing that could appear in these novels: cottages, monasteries, herbs, laborious cooking or fermenting, identifying plants.
posted by tofu_crouton to Writing & Language (18 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
cottages, monasteries, herbs, laborious cooking or fermenting,

Let me introduce you to Brother Cadfael and a bunch of classic cozy medieval whodunnits.

Also maybe Redwall, a cozy medieval mouse fantasy.
posted by SaltySalticid at 4:39 PM on March 23 [14 favorites]

Edith Holden's The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:49 PM on March 23 [5 favorites]

The art makes me think of Anne of Green Gables and Howard's End, though that may not be the kind of thing you have in mind at all.
posted by pinochiette at 5:03 PM on March 23 [2 favorites]

Seconding Brother Cadfael.
posted by MexicanYenta at 5:09 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]

LM Montgomery's Jane of Lantern Hill and The Blue Castle always make me want to visit Prince Edward Island and the Muskoka region in Canada.
posted by Constance Mirabella at 5:14 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]

In addition, I like a lot of domestic fantasy for stuff like this. Robin McKinley's Chalice and Jo Walton's Lifelode are two that are very centered around the domestic (beekeeping and housekeeping, respectively).
posted by gideonfrog at 5:30 PM on March 23 [5 favorites]

Thornyhold, by Mary Stewart (as long as you don't mind a little bit of good witchery in your cozy cottage).
posted by dizziest at 5:34 PM on March 23 [3 favorites]

Also maybe Sylvia Townsend Warner's Lolly Willowes (more witches), or The Corner That Held Them (nuns).
posted by dizziest at 5:35 PM on March 23 [4 favorites]

The Green Knowe books. Just look at the house that inspired them!
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:55 PM on March 23 [3 favorites]

I love Brother Cadfael but they're all murder mysteries; I don't know if that's what you're going for.

Super wholesome and earnest and really lovely: In This House of Brede about a woman who enters a 20th century convent. Was written in cooperation with an actual abbey.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:29 PM on March 23 [4 favorites]

Warner was who I thought of first.

You might also like the pre-war parts of Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man.
posted by praemunire at 7:39 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]

Nathalie Sarraute, a lifelong writer, friend of Sartre, finally hit the best seller list for something she wrote when she was in her 80s.
posted by Winnie the Proust at 7:52 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]

The comic Travelogue by Aatmaja Pandya, maybe.
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:58 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]

Paintings like these bring HV Morton to mind, especially In search of England - 1928. Like many of his era he was racist and most others -ists, but he did describe places and people very well. Parts of some of Buchan's works recall similar scenery, e.g. Mr Standfast 1919.
posted by unearthed at 10:45 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]

My first thought was Jean Hegland's 'Into the Forest' but you probably don't want to read that with what is happening in the world right now...
posted by robotot at 2:41 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]

I thought of Cadfael too, but life in his time was harsh with many unpleasantness.

Memoirs might fill the bill as well as novels. My first thought was maybe one of the Mitfords, but I dont know them well and a glance at reviews would steer you away from some.
posted by SemiSalt at 4:47 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]

Wow, y'all really understood what I was going for. These are all great suggestions. My initial thoughts were Sylvia Townsend Warner and "what if Redwall, but for adults?" and y'all immediatelly identified those.

I've started reading a Cadfael book, but keep the suggestions coming. We can all use some tranquil reading in these times.
posted by tofu_crouton at 5:18 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]

Hild, which is also about wars and geopolitics in 7th-century England and focuses on the youth of Saint Hilda of Whitby, has a TON of householding detail: harvesting, cooking, fermenting, weaving, medicine-making, etc. Great read.
posted by zingiberene at 1:48 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]

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