If you’ve ever pictured yourself living a life out of Country Living magazine, then this reading list is for you. Country-lit is the literary equivalent of a cup of tea and a hot buttered crumpet on a cold autumnal day. Unlike chick-lit, it is funnier, better written and doesn’t leave you feeling embarrassed when you’re intellectually-smug friend comes over and says, “You’re not actually reading this… are you?” Here are Owl Eyes’ hand-picked selection of our favourite country-lit books…
Mr. Rosenblum's List: Or Friendly Guidance for the Aspiring Englishman
By Natasha Solomons
Jack Rosenblum arrives from Germany in 1937, eager to immerse himself in British culture by becoming the perfect English gentleman. After moving to the countryside with his wife, he embarks on a project to help him fit in to the local village community. Both funny and heartbreakingly sad, you’ll empathise with Jack as the comic foreign underdog, whilst also wishing that you could live life in 1940s Britain.
Nothwithstanding: Stories From An English Village
By Louis de Bernières
Known for his success with Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernières departs from his usual style to write a collection of short stories, set in the English countryside. As the eccentric village characters interweave in each other’s lives, you slowly begin to get a picture of the loves, mishaps and tales that play out within this small rural village. You honestly won’t want to put it down.
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
By Helen Simonson
Major Pettigrew is not interested in the modern world. He just wants to be left at home in peace with his books and a good cup of tea, away from the daily irritations of his self-obsessed son, intrusive sister-in-law and impending destruction of his local countryside. Then he meets Mrs Ali and forms an unexpected friendship that forces him back into the twenty-first century.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
By Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
Set just after the Second World War, uninspired writer Juliet Ashton finds herself writing letters to a fellow literature lover, a man named Dawsey Adams, who is a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. Intrigued by this bizarre society, Juliet visits Guernsey to discover what life was like under German occupation just a few years earlier. A charming novel, described by The Guardian as “a golden comedy…thronging with loveable people”.
Read these if… you like watching Doc Martin, reading Country Living magazine, and making jam in your spare time.
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