Stories Are Soul Food (Pt. 2)

This is the second part of a list of books highly recommended by yours truly. To peruse the first installment, click here.

We all need literature. It brightens a rainy day, brings hope to a desperate situation, and inspires the reader to do what their favorite character would do if he were in their shoes. Below are two rainy day recommendations rich with wit, smiles and warmth, and below them is one intensity-packed series steeped in cocaine (meaning you canNOT put it down), photosynthetic men, and polygoners. To me, these are soul food series.

Mary Poppins by Pamela Travers

(Mary Poppins) was wearing her blue coat with the silver buttons and the blue hat to match, and on the days when she wore these it was the easiest thing in the world to offend her.

Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins! The nanny every human under the sun wishes would blow into their life and make the medicine go down with a spoonful of sugar, a snap of her fingers, and a catchy theme song. I read this series a few years ago, and immensely enjoyed each page of it. The sharp, frowning countenance of Mary Poppins, the innocent joys and trials of Jane and Michael and their siblings, and the vast array of characters liberally dispensed throughout each chapter makes these stories the perfect go-to when there’s a rainy day or it’s time for a study break.

We all know Walt Disney’s movie of Mary Poppins, yet, just as is the case for so many other books adapted to film, the books are twice as enjoyable to consume. The Mary Poppins of the book is a vain, firm, haughty, and a very easily offendable woman who is capable of all sorts of magical things.

Mary Poppins was very vain and liked to look her best. Indeed, she was quite sure that she never looked anything else.

Mary Poppins

There are 8 books in this series, and each one is so whimsical and written in such an imaginative way that I can’t quite explain the feeling one has when reading them; they are the sort of book that were written to make you happy, and they accomplish just that.

Winnie The Pooh by A.A. Milne

Now we come to Winnie-ther-Pooh, the most beautiful, happy, solemn-in-a-laughable-way books I have ever read. This series about a neighborhood of friends are the perfect read-aloud, the best way to unwind, the cozy companion of a gloomy-as-Eyeore day.

An Introduction is to introduce people, but Christopher Robin and his friends, who have already been introduced to you, are now going to say Good-bye. So this is the opposite. When we asked Pooh what the opposite of an Introduction was, he said “The what of a what?” which didn’t help us as much as we had hoped, but luckily Owl kept his head and told us that the Opposite of an Introduction, my dear Pooh, was a Contradiction; and, as he is very good at long words, I am sure that that’s what it is.

Contradiction

Not only are the innocent, playful, but very serious plots of Winnie The Pooh entertaining, but the style of Milne’s writing is light, whimsical and delightful to peruse; it transports you (no matter where you are) beneath the sun, which is beaming through the Hundred-Acre trees, leaves tinting the light a warm green as it reaches where you lay, doing nothing, besides the creek where Pooh and Piglet play pooh-sticks.

A bear however hard he tries,

Grows tubby without exercise.

Our Teddy Bear is short and fat,

Which is not to be wondered at.

But do you think it worries him

To know that he is far from slim?

No, just the other way about–

He’s proud of being short and stout.

Teddy Bear

There are four books related to Winnie-the-Pooh and his adventures; two of them are poetry books which are just as wholesome and lovely as the tales, and I hope you pick up these little wonder-filled books and wonder with Roo if it is Going To Rain, or agree with Rabbit to round it up to 16, or make up your mind to Run Away to Sea with Piglet after reading this short eulogy.

The Ashtown Burials by N.D. Wilson

Cyrus squinted through the rain at the old man, at the truck, at the crackling Golden Lady. What was going on? None of this seemed real. But it was. The rain on his skin. The soggy waffle and drooping napkins. The smell of gunpowder.

The Dragon’s Tooth

Yes I do have the same author listed twice in my recommendations. One, because he coined the term “stories are soulfood” and two, because he works that term in his own books. The Ashtown Burials are even better than 100 Cupboards in its character dynamics, development, and plot progression. The (un)intentional nods to other literary characters are undeniable, rich and amazing, the dialogue is beautiful, rich and witty–but the cliffhanger my siblings and I have been left on is one that gnaws us every day.

Run faithfully to the end, and like all good men, you will die of having lived.

The Drowned Vault

This series has not been completed due to the publishing company being absolute prigs and denying readers the closure we desperately need. So far there are three books, and Wilson is working on the final one and sending it out in chapters to subscribers, which, sadly, we could not do before they sold out–which is great news for Wilson, but chair-kicking annoying to yours truly and her siblings.

The Ashtown Burials series follows the Smith family (is it any wonder it made it on my list of favorites?); more specifically, it follows Cyrus and Antigone Smith. The two siblings live with their older brother Daniel in a rundown motel while their mother sleeps in the hospital and their father beneath the waves.

By a series of crazy events, the two of them join a secret society, and in my determination not to spoil any of the plot, I will sum up the summary by saying each chapter becomes more dangerous and intense than the last. The villains are a demented doctor and a dragon fused with a trans mortal, the allies are Narnian in the sense one wishes to befriend them, and the simplest way to describe the plot is as follows: fallen but good people striving to defeat evil.

Cyrus Smith knew who he was. He had seen nightmares become real. He knew what it was to be hunted, and he knew what is was to hunt, to run and attack, to stand his ground, willing to kill and willing to die. He knew the smell of Death’s breath and how cold it felt on his skin…”

Empire of Bones

I advise one who is interested in consuming this soul food series to wait until the Silent Bells (the fourth book) is published, for the absolute torture in not knowing whether one’s favorite characters survive is not worth subjecting yourself to–but that is merely my advice, take it or leave it as you see fit.

There they are, 6 series that are for enjoyment, entertainment and encouragement. I hope you decide to look into these soul food stories and if you do, let me know–I love discussing/fangirling over literature with others.

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