Category Archives: Reading Journeys

Reading Miss Read

In the last few years, I have fallen in love with the Fairacre series, by Miss Read (the pseudonym for English author, Dora Saint). Fairacre is an imagined English village, and the stories about the life and people in this village as told by the village school teacher are absolutely delightful. Not everything is idyllic in the village, but nonetheless, I would love to live there, and I thoroughly enjoy my time spent there when I’m reading one of the books in the series. When I finish reading the Fairacre series, I will most happily move on to her Thrush Green series. Thrush Green is another village full of more delightful stories.

This is an ongoing personal reading challenge…one of my “Reading Journeys.”  I haven’t been reviewing each of the books I’ve read in the series, but this post is where I will keep track of the ones I read and link to the ones I review.

blue = I’ve read but not reviewed
red = click to read my review

The Fairacre series:

  1. Village School – 1955
  2. Village Diary – 1957
  3. Storm in the Village – 1958
  4. Miss Clare Remembers – 1962
  5. Over the Gate – 1964
  6. Village Christmas – 1966
  7. Fairacre Festival – 1968
  8. Emily Davis – 1971
  9. Tyler’s Row – 1972
  10. Christmas Mouse – 1973
  11. Farther Afield – 1974
  12. No Holly for Miss Quinn – 1976
  13. Village Affairs – 1977
  14. The White Robin – 1979
  15. Village Centenary – 1980
  16. Summer at Fairacre – 1984
  17. Mrs. Pringle – 1989
  18. Changes at Fairacre – 1991
  19. Farewell to Fairacre – 1993
  20. A Peaceful Retirement – 1996

The Thrush Green series:

  1. Thrush Green – 1959
  2. Winter in Thrush Green – 1961
  3. News from Thrush Green – 1970
  4. Battles at Thrush Green – 1975
  5. Return to Thrush Green – 1978
  6. Gossip from Thrush Green – 1981
  7. Affairs at Thrush Green – 1983
  8. At Home in Thrush Green – 1985
  9. School at Thrush Green – 1987
  10. Friends at Thrush Green – 1990
  11. Celebrations at Thrush Green – 1992
  12. Year at Thrush Green – 1995

The Caxley Chronicles:

  • The Caxley Chronicles Omnibus: The Market Square and The Howards of Caxley

Other Works by Miss Read:

  • Tiggy – 1971
  • Fresh from the Country – 1955
  • Mrs. Griffin Sends Her Love


Reading Nevil Shute

A portrait of Nevil Shute Norway from the Nevil Shute Norway Foundation website...

A portrait of Nevil Shute Norway from the Nevil Shute Norway Foundation website. Click on the portrait to visit that website.

Some authors, over time, weave themselves into your reading life! When I was in high school, I read a book by Nevil Shute called On the Beach, a story about nuclear war. I remember only a few details of the story after so many years, but I vividly remember the powerful emotional impact it had on me. Then, years later, when my children were young, the Hubby and I enjoyed watching a series on Masterpiece Theatre called A Town Like Alice, based on a book by Nevil Shute. Again, it had a powerful emotional impact on me and I still consider it one of my favorites from many years of stories we’ve watched on Masterpiece Theatre.

Last month, I discovered the audiobook of A Town Like Alice was available through Audible. I downloaded it and enjoyed listening to it while knitting, and was delighted to discover how much I enjoy Nevil Shute’s writing and storytelling. This was an amazing story of love, survival, resilience, and hope during and after World War II. When I finished it, I didn’t want to leave his storytelling presence, so I downloaded another of his books. Pied Piper, the story of a 70-year-old Englishman who was able to lead 7 young children to safety during World War II, also captured my heart and I had a hard time taking off the earphones, listening to it in record time!

So over my lifetime of reading, Nevil Shute has “visited” me numerous times. Each time, I have appreciated that he tells his stories with honesty and emotional integrity; that his characters are ordinary people thrust into extraordinary times and who meet those challenges with courage and kindness. He reminds me that one person can make a difference.

I look forward to reading my next book by Nevil Shute, and welcome his stories of good and caring people into the fabric of my reading life.

Here is the list of Nevil Shute’s books.  I am slowly reading through the list, and although I haven’t reviewed all of the ones I’ve read so far, please click on any that are hyperlinked to read my reviews.

Red = Link to my review
Blue = Read but not reviewed yet

  1. Marazan (1926)
  2. Mysterious Aviator/So Disdained (1928)
  3. Lonely Road (1932)
  4. Kindling/Ruined City (1938)
  5. What Happened to the Corbetts (1939)
  6. An Old Captivity (1940)
  7. Landfall (1940)
  8. Pied Piper (1942)
  9. Pastoral (1944)
  10. Most Secret (1945)
  11. An Old Captivity/Vinland the Good (1946)
  12. The Chequer Board (1947)
  13. No Highway (1948)
  14. A Town Like Alice (1950)
  15. Round the Bend (1951)
  16. The Far Country (1952)
  17. In the Wet (1953)
  18. Slide Rule (1954)
  19. The Breaking Wave/Requiem for a Wren (1955)
  20. Beyond the Black Stump (1956)
  21. On the Beach (1957)
  22. The Rainbow and the Rose (1958)
  23. Trustee from the Toolroom (1960)
  24. Stephen Morris/Pilotage (1961)


Reading Pearl

The little book I reviewed last week, Christmas Day in the Morning, reminded me how much I love the work of Pearl S. Buck.  Her writing is so beautiful and her stories so compelling, whether written for adults or children.  She’s an absolute favorite, and I’ve decided to give myself the gift of reading more of her work.

She was a prolific writer, publishing over 70 books, and although we associate her primarily with China, she wrote novels about other cultures and nonfiction about important issues, as well.  Apart from her novels, she wrote about children with disabilities (her own daughter suffered from PKU as an infant and was severely disabled); she wrote about adoption issues (she adopted 9 children);  she wrote biographies of both her parents and her own autobiography; and she wrote wonderful books for children and young adults. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for The Good Earth, and the Nobel Prize in 1938 for all her work.  She was a great humanitarian and an activist for human and civil rights. She is one of my heroes!

Many of her books are now out of print and available only through the libraries or used books dealers, but they are treasures worth tracking down. There are also a number of excellent biographies of her. One that I have sitting on my TBR shelf is Pearl S. Buck: A Cultural Biography, by Peter Conn.

I’ve put together a starter list of books I would like to read or reread, and will expand this list and link my reviews to it (although I may not review all of the ones I read).  I’m not putting a time limit on this personal challenge. I’ll just keep reading and enjoying her work as time allows.

blue = I’ve read but not reviewed
red = click to read my review

Children’s Books:


  • The House of Earth Series:
    1. The Good Earth
    2. Sons
    3. A House Divided
  • Peony
  • Death in the Castle
  • Pavilion of Women
  • Three Daughters of Madame Liang
  • The Living Reed
  • Mandala: A Novel of India
  • Imperial Woman
  • The Mother
  • Kinfolk
  • The New Year
  • East Wind, West Wind
  • Dragon Seed
  • The Angry Wife
  • Letter from Peking
  • The Goddess Abides
  • The Eternal Wonder


  • A Bridge for Passing
  • The Fighting Angel: Portrait of a Soul (her biography of her father)
  • The Exile (her biography of her mother)
  • My Several Worlds
  • To My Daughters, With Love
  • The Child Who Never Grew
  • The Man Who Changed China: The Story of Sun Yat-sen

May Sunshine Light Your Day…

A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.
— St. Francis of Assisi

When November arrives in the Pacific Northwest, it brings deep darkness and rain. Most of us living here actually like the rain and understand Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s advice: “The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.” But that doesn’t mean we don’t long for sunshine on those long, dark, wintery days. One of my favorite things to do in winter, on a dark and dreary day, is to read a book that takes place in sunnier climates. I love to immerse myself in the written sunlight, and then look up to be startled by the dark contrast outside my window.

As I was looking through the books on my bookshelves this weekend, I was amazed at how many fit that sunshine description. I decided to put a list together of books I can read on very gray days…my own little journey south in search of sunshine.

My Sunshine choices:

People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.
— Anton Chekhov

(Click on the beautiful painting above to learn more about the artist, LaShun Beal.)