Photo via here
"I must have dropped off to sleep at this point, for the next thing I knew was that I had been woken up by the sound of the front door banging. I switched on the light and saw that it was ten minutes to one. I hoped the Napiers were not going to keep late hours and have noisy parties. Perhaps I was getting spinsterish and 'set' in my ways, but I was irritated at being woken. I stretched out my hand towards the little bookshelf where I kept cookery and devotional books, the most comforting bedside reading. My hand might have chosen 'Religio Medici,' but I was rather glad that it had picked out 'Chinese Cookery' and I was soon soothed into drowsiness." -- Barbara Pym, Excellent Women
"I suppose an unmarried woman just over thirty, who lives by herself and has no apparent ties, must expect to find herself involved or interested in other people's business, and if she is also a clergyman's daughter then one might really say that there is no hope for her."
Barbara Pym is a treasure and if you haven't read anything by her I highly recommend Excellent Women as a place to begin. I have returned to it many times over the years, finding pleasure and comfort in the funny, wise and good-natured voice of its narrator Mildred Lathbury. Her insights into human nature have the wit and style of Jane Austen. It never fails to take me to a cozy place and always make me feel good. This comic masterpiece is sure to make you smile. And laughing out loud in bed is always a good thing!
I would love to know what book you reach for at night when you need to be soothed.
Are you a fan of Excellent Women and have you read any other books by Barbara Pym?
P.S. The first photo of the bedroom, where I could easily imagine myself reading Barbara Pym, is from the Covent Garden Hotel in London, part of the Firmdale Hotel Group. I've been following them on instagram and fallen in love with the beautiful and quirky decor in all their hotels. The rooms are just stunning. I've never seen beds with such gorgeous fabric-covered headboards! The designer is the very talented Kit Kemp who has recently come out with a book, Every Room Tells a Story, filled with images from the various hotels she has designed. Go here to learn more.
And just one more thing -- I have been intrigued by Arianna Huffington's new book The Sleep Revolution and want to pick up a copy. Have any of you read it? I would love to know her thoughts on reading in bed. It always seems to work for me!