I can come to your library, book club meeting, or conference to talk about how to help your readers find their next good read. Click here for more information.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday Discussion: Homesick Reading

I just returned from 10 wonderful days of vacation touring Boston, Maine, and Nova Scotia, Canada (more on that later this week).  While on vacation I was reading Ahab's Wife: Or, The Star-gazer by Sena Jester Naslund which is very ocean and New England centric.  I am still reading it, as this was an active vacation ( less time to just sit and read), but it fit the bill for the trip.  My husband read books by two Nova Scotia authors What Is Left the Daughter by Howard Norman and Island : Collected Short Stories Alistair MacLeod, both of which we own in the BPL collection.

As the vacation moved toward its conclusion, I was not really homesick, but I was beginning to miss the things I love about where I live.  This got me thinking, we spend all of this time helping our patrons (and ourselves) pick out books for vacations or special times in our lives, but what do we read when we are missing something?

I know for me, as a native of New Jersey, although I love living in Chicagoland and couldn't imagine living anywhere else right now, I do miss Jersey now and then.  For that reason, I do actively seek out books which are set there when I am feeling a bit homesick.  Some favorites are Richard Ford's Bascombe trilogy or Tom Perrotta's Election or Joe College.

But even people who have always lived in the same place miss something now and then.  When I am feeling a bit out of sorts, I tend to read a book by an author I know and trust.  This puts me in a comfortable zone where I can reminisce happily.  For me that means, light series or even an old classic which brought me joy years before.  I would suggest Ian Sansom's Mobile Library Mysteries or Little Women here.

But what about you.  For today's Monday discussion, when you are "homesick" for something familiar, what books do you turn to?

Click here for the Monday Discussion archive which includes everyone's comments.  Feel free to add your own to an older discussion.  People are accessing the page all of the time.


John BPL RA said...

For someone that has traveled so much it's strange that I have never really experienced homesickness. I often tell people that I suffer from "reverse homesickness" - after returning from a trip I want to go back! The books that I choose in these cases are almost always set in my favorite places of the world. Venetian Stories by Jane Turner Rylands comes to mind as does Burning The Map by Laura Caldwell. I sometimes enjoy revisiting the Agatha Christie mysteries as they are often set in familiar foreign locales. I like to compare and contrast the time periods with the present day.

Mike said...


My port of call when I am
bookishly "Homesick" is often
England. Never been there, but
find myself always intrigued
by the sense of place found
in novels by Dickens and Hardy
and the history I learn about
such eras as the Middle Ages
and figures like Churchill
and Thomas Beckett.

Betty said...

I am like Mike. I tend to gravitate to English mysteries when I want some comfort in my life.

Laurie King's Mary Russell series is one of my favorites. Being transported to another time and immersed in a good mystery really does it for me.