In praise of lists…

Back in early 2000, I spent a few weeks travelling around the Philippines with my best friend, who was taking a break from her VSO placement in China. Naomi and I have an infinite capacity for silliness when we’re together and in this particular instance it manifested itself as a seemingly inexhaustible passion for creating lists – our Top Ten sandwich fillings and ten things we’d take with us to a desert island are two that stick in my mind (for the record, my mum’s egg mayonnaise came in at No. 1 and I recall including the shoes I’d bought for our friend Fiona’s wedding the previous summer in my desert island kit because they were beautiful and I loved them and certainly not because a heeled mule from Russell & Bromley would be remotely practical!) Which is a very long-winded way of going about saying that I love lists and fully intend to indulge myself here…

To get us started, here’s a – by no means exhaustive – list of my favourite comfort reading (and I believe the credit for that phrase belongs to India Knight, for which I thank her):

Jane Austen’s Persuasion – by far my favourite Austen and the best happily-ever-after ending in the business.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson – credit for this one goes to Kathryn, who introduced me to both the story itself and the delightful Persephone Books that publishes it (www.persephonebooks.co.uk). If you’ve only seen the film, I implore you to read the book, which is infinitely superior in every way (if you haven’t seen the film – lucky you! Even the acting chops of Frances McDormand and the charm of Amy Adams can’t salvage the superficial nonsense arrived at by the team behind it. Honestly, I don’t know how they did it – like alchemy in reverse!)

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (she of One Hundred and One Dalmations fame) – it was my dad, of all people, who gave me this to read when I was 11 or 12 and if memory serves, it was his eldest sister (and my favourite aunt, now no longer with us, sadly), Margie, who put him on to it, so something of a family affair, this one.

That’ll do to get us started. I’ll add more – and more lists – as I go along…

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