Scant Gleanings and Appreciation for Miss Read

I realized this morning that I had not noted anything of particular interest from my past week’s reading. I think it may be because my reading was scant. That awareness right there is cause for changes for this week. I started out this morning with some reading time and came up with this:

“The writer has the sense that she knows where she’s going when she starts out–that is, she has some intuitive sense of a destination and maybe even an intuitive sense of what the journey will look like. But she doesn’t have anything like a blueprint…she must accept that she is working in the dark; she must suspend her desire to force herself to move in a pre-set direction and must hold tight to a belief in the process.” ~ Eric Maisel, Living the Writer’s Life.

While Maisel directs this truth to writers, let me say this is true for living life in general. We’re all working in the dark. It’s helpful to have goals and plans toward those goals, but we have to open ourselves up to the unexpected, and when it happens, keep faith in the good and able within ourselves and our God.

* * * * *


Dora Jessie Saint, aka Miss Read

I finally finished Thrush Green by Miss Read. This book was the beginning of her series of novels set in the rural fictional community she named Thrush Green. I found there were places I had to skim, and I believe that caused as much by my often fatigue as Miss Read’s sometimes lengthy descriptions.

Yesterday a writing friend and I were discussing the mutual fact that we’re finding it harder and harder to read current fiction. We find so much of it poor writing and crafting in general. Because of that I hesitate to recommend the Miss Read books to anyone under 40; by today’s standards the books appear too simple and quiet. Although I can point out that they have remained in continual print since the beginning back in the 1950s, I believe. Times change, the nature of people does not, and Miss Read writes about people and the earth they inhabit, and flora and fauna does not change much either.

The Miss Read books are definitely worth a read for improving vocabulary and writing in general. Miss Read could evoke feeling from choosing the perfect wording.

Within the books, are addressed love, longing, and heartbreak, the joy of childhood, death, alcoholism and plain meanness, poverty and thievery, beauty and community, being odd and an object of scorn, foibles and hilarity, growing up and growing old and having to let go of lifetime dreams. After identifying these themes, I don’t know how anyone could call the books simple. It was Miss Read’s ability that made them look that way.

Please let me know if you’re reading something you especially like, and why you like it.

6 thoughts on “Scant Gleanings and Appreciation for Miss Read

  1. I found myself going back to Jane Austen and then a few Victoria Holt/Philippa Carr mysteries and historical fiction. I do enjoy them when I am weary of today’s fiction. I love Thrush Green. Read them when I was a young mother. It was good to get away from the stress and go to another place back then. Hugs my friend.


  2. Fannie Flagg is a writer I find comfort in. The books about neighbor Dorothy and her radio show in the 40’s are a joy to me. I picture all the farm women taking a break with a cup of coffee and writing down all the recipts (recipes). These are stories of everyday life. Also love Fried Green Tomatoes (also the movie)


    • Hi Joan,
      Yes, she is another great author but her books are spaced apart so it’s hard to wait for the next one to come out. I finished the “The Last All Girl Filling Station” by Ms Flagg not long ago and eagerly wait for her next book. I particularly liked her book “Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven”. Thanks for replying, I enjoy hearing from others who love nothing better than a good book!


  3. I am 46 and I read Miss Read books too, what is wrong with a restful read, I find those wonderfully relaxing to read before bed. I also get my fix of good reading material in between your books by reading Cathy Lamb, Jan Karon and Michael Connelly. I realize they don’t all go together as genres but my tastes are varied and I only read books with well developed characters, if they don’t live on in my head long after the book is finished I don’t read any more by that author.
    This week I took a risk and am enjoying “The Art of Arranging Flowers” by Lynne Branard. The characters feel like someone I may meet in a small town someday.
    Thanks for your thoughtful posts, it inspires reflection in my reader’s soul!


      • Do you enjoy the Miss Marple books and Mrs. Pollifax books as well? My mother introduced me to those when I was 13, I leap-frogged from middle school books right into adult fiction and I never looked back!
        One of my most loved authors was the late Dick Francis, I have high hopes for his son Felix as an author to keep up the family tradition of fiction that relies on a nice, tight plot and avoids the seamier stuff to propel the plot forward. The inside perspective of the Brits “sport of Kings” is fascinating.


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