Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Novels with Domestic Arts

Here I am reading about housework rather than doing it. (Actually, this is Sunlight and Shadow by Winslow Homer, 1872)

In case you missed the suggestions for good books that bring in scenes of women's domestic work and homemaking that are in the comments to the post of August 19, here are your suggestions:

Books by Barbara Pym
Louisa May Alcott's lesser-known novels, Rose in Bloom, Eight Cousins, and An Old Fashioned Girl
The Cutters by Bess Streeter Aldrich
Books by Elizabeth Goudge, notabley the Daermoshay Trilogy, which includes Herb of Grace (also known as Pilgrim's Inn in the United States), along with The White Witch and The Scent of Water.
E.M. Delafield's Provincial Lady books, which are available through Persephone Books
Miss Read's Village Books
Books by O. Douglas
My Dear Aunt Flora by Elizabeth Cadell
The Quiet Hills by Iris Bromige
Winter Solstice by Rosemunde Pilcher
Mrs. Appleyard's Year by Louise Andrews Kent
Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struther
Books by D. E. Stevenson

Thank you! I should have done this in the spring before vacations! Ah well, we are heading into those nice cool winter months that also invite reading.


Jodi said...

I find that reading about domestic work helps me to want to do it sort of.....but I'm more in agreement with C.S. Lewis., who said something to the effect of domestic chores being good for warding off idleness and unkind thoughts, but maddening when you'd rather be doing something else. Ha ha.

gina said...

I love to find books with cozy domestic details; in fact, I've been re-reading Winter Solstice for just that reason (funny to see it on the list!) so thank you very much for this! God bless!

emilyatheart said...

I also like what Irma Bombeck said about housekeeping (even though I love HOMEkeeping and reading about it): "Housework done properly can kill a person"...

Nan said...

I just got The Cutters through the inter library loan program. You know, I've been thinking of a few other writers you might like - the former editor of House & Garden magazine wrote two wonderful books about her own home and garden: Dominique Browning. And the beloved Gladys Taber's books are full of homey details and observations. And two by Raffaela Barker - Hens Dancing and Summertime.

Thomas said...

I feel like I have read a million of them but I can't think of any at the moment. The Barbara Pym suggestion was a good one, I just read her first book, Some Tame Gazelle and it is chock full of domestic chores.

April Sage said...

Thank you for sharing this delightful list. I agree about Barbara Pym, all of her books show domesticity as the greatest of comforts. Speaking of domesticity and literature, has anyone else noticed that Jane Eyre speaks like a feminist about a woman place in the world, but that her ultimate place in actuality ends up being homemaking? When she comes into her money, her first impulse is to make a homey, traditional Christmas for her loved ones. When she finally gets her man, she nurtures him in their cottage like any good homemaker?

Linda said...

I didn't realize who Barbara Pym was until April Sage chimed in and I saw in his blog his post on Pym's Excellent Women, which I have read. I found the book a bit sad, but I noted how it was always mentioned that the heroine washed up her plates and cups, etc., after eating her meal. When I first read it, I found it a bit strange that cleaning should be so prominent in the life of a single person, but now that my daughter has gone off to college I am amazed at how quickly I can make a complete mess all by myself! And also, I have thought that it would be very nice to write a novel about the kind of person for whom cleaning up the kitchen would be an activity worthy of mention. Why is it, I wonder, that the most mundane of activities seems to hold such emotional content?

Jill F. said...

I am so happy to see you mentioned several of my favorite authors on your list; Elizabeth Cadell (I love the Lark shall Sing!) and Elizabeth Goudge (she has several charming children's books) as well as Bess Streeter Aldrich. Great writers!