Books that are really engaging, but easy to read.

The details on this ongoing project, and the factors I’m taking to heart.

Readers told me 3 books they loved, 1 book they hated, and what they’re reading right now. In turn, I’m recommending 3 books for each reader. (Or more, if I can’t help myself.)

This week we’re choosing books for Carrie. Carrie is pregnant, and was hospitalized seven weeks ago with preterm premature rupture of membranes at 21 weeks. After six weeks of bed rest, Carrie sent me an SOS request for literary matchmaking, saying the antsiness was beginning to undo her. (I can imagine!)

She also said that she needed “something really engaging to help pass the time, but at a reading level that’s not too difficult because I have trouble concentrating right now. (Could be a general pregnancy thing, but it’s also a side effect of bed rest. Ugh!)”

Books that are really engaging, but easy to read. | Modern Mrs Darcy

With that in mind, Carrie’s books are:

Love: The Happiness Project, On Rue Tatin (“I’m a big Francophile”), Little Women

Hate: Gone Girl

Last read: To Kill a Mockingbird

My picks: 

An outstanding French memoir: My Life in France by Julia Child

A fun, not terribly challenging novel: The Princess Bride by William Goldman

A new book about happiness: The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau

Wonderful kid lit: Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott

Also recommended: any breezy novels or kid lit selections from the MMD reading guides

I sincerely hope Carrie has already read My Life in France because it’s absolutely perfect for her. If she hasn’t, this should be her #1 choice (and I don’t use the word “should” very often when I talk about reading, so that’s saying something!) Even if you’re not an avid Francophile or foodie, it’s a wonderful book: Child is warm, wise, and laugh-out-loud funny.

I chose The Princess Bride because it’s entertaining and engaging, but not a difficult read, and Carrie’s likely already familiar with the story. (If you’ve seen the movie, it’s worth reading the book. They’re both good, and very different.) I’d also recommend any number of breezy novels as found in the summer reading guide, which are fast and easy-to-read, but not dumb.

I chose The Happiness of Pursuit because of Carrie’s love for The Happiness Project. I’m reading this new release right now, and am enjoying it enough to recommend it as an engaging nonfiction pick.

Kid lit is an obvious solution to Carrie’s requirements: this would be a wonderful time to read or re-read any of the wonderful series by authors such as Noel Streatfeild, Maud Hart Lovelace, L. M. Montgomery, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and more. I chose Rose in Bloom because it’s a wonderful, though lesser-known work by the author of Carrie’s favorite Little Women. (It’s also free for Kindle.)

What books would YOU recommend that are really engaging, but not difficult?

(AN UPDATE: Carrie delivered baby Josiah Levi at 27 weeks. His doctors say he seems more like a 29 week-er. The doctors say they’re not worried about him, but they both still have a rough road ahead of them. Thoughts and prayers appreciated.)

View all the literary matchmaking posts here.

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  1. Leora says:

    This is one of my favorite features of your blog. Every time I read one of these, I think about what a unique, wonderful service it is . This time more so than ever before.

    Wishing Carrie and her family the best.

      • Jenna says:

        Yes! I was miserable at work pumping until I finally brought my kindle in with me. The time was still long, but at least I could justify reading something fun at work while I pumped.

      • Jennifer says:

        Carrie, Your post about Josiah’s birth hits home even though I haven’t had a preemie. Your thoughts on c-sections rings very true. You may want to look into the ICAN group on Facebook for support after a c-section and if you are interested in a VBAC one day. It has been a great group for me after my c-s and with my VBAC this year. I pray you heal well and Josiah continues to grow and thrive.

  2. Victoria says:

    I’ve been looking forward to reading My Life in France this November for nearly a year! I’m weird…But, I decided it would be the perfect November read, so I’ve been saving it. 🙂

    Congrats, Carrie! Enjoy your new baby! 🙂

  3. liz n. says:

    Along the lines of France+biography+French chef+easy-but-good-read: Jacques Pepin’s autobiography, “The Apprentice,” and Noel Riley Fitch’s biography of Julia, “Appetite for Life.”

  4. Caitlin says:

    Eight Cousins is the book before Rose in Bloom and is even better I think. Rose In Bloom is its sequel. I read them both as a child and again as an adult. Eight Cousins was the first book I remember being sad when it was over.

  5. Carrie says:

    I am a fairly new reader to your blog and this is my first time seeing a post with this particular project! What a fun idea 🙂
    I LOVED Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom! I have watched The Princess Bride many times but didn’t realize there was an actual book, lol! I should tell my husband that one is going to our to-read-together list 🙂
    I have never read a foodie-type book but I think. I should now….now to find Child’s book at e library :))

  6. Carrie says:

    Congratulations Carrie! Hope you and your baby continue to be well, and that he keeps being healthy and gaining weight and all those wonderful baby things! 🙂 Hope this book list helps pass the long days and nights ahead 🙂 Blessings~

  7. Laura says:

    Impressed that you used the correct terminology for PPROM! I work as a nurse-midwife and people get it wrong All the Time (and Congratulations Carrie!)

  8. Lee Ann Roberts says:

    Congratulations, Carrie! Praying for you and Josiah Levi.

    For an easy, breezy read, it’s hard to beat Georgette Heyer’s outstanding Regency novels. Funny, clean, with a bit of romance but never anything graphic. The Grand Sophy, Frederica, and Sprig Muslin are my favorites.

  9. Carol says:

    I think it’s so great that you do this. I love books and I’ve read a lot but I can’t imagine recommending like this… I’d ask you to recommend for me but I already have a HUGE pile to read!!!

  10. Dana says:

    I loved, loved The Princess Bride. It is zany and escapist. I have the movie but have not watched it yet. My Life in France sounds wonderful. I always watched Julia Child cook on TV when I was younger. She was so funny and charming. I loved Julie and Julia. Another great book for a francophile is The Piano Shop on the Left Bank by Thad Carhart. A great, charming non-fiction read. It got me interested in playing the piano again after many years. My husband actually bought me a keyboard after I gushed about that book!

    My life in France will go on my Christmas Wish List along with so many others!

  11. My favorite lesser-known book for Francophiles is Almost French by Sarah Turnbull. Man, I loved My Life in France! I liked Bringing Up Bebe, too, although found it’s really hard to implement any of it in the States.

    I’m reading What Alice Forgot, and if Carrie hasn’t read it I think it’s a good one for this category!

  12. Donna says:

    Anne, you’ve said a couple of times recently that you haven’t read a Sophie Kinsella novel. You haven’t had fun reading, until you’ve read Confessions of a Shopaholic. 😉 (The movie is great, but different – it combines a couple of shopaholic books.) I’m not much of a shopper, but the main character’s non-sense reasoning is so funny to me. I definitely recommend Confessions of a Shopaholic as your first SK book. Can’t wait to read your review!

  13. Faith Raider says:

    I LOVED “Little Men” & “Jo’s Boys”
    The book Julie & Julia was quite good, (though the movie was in a lot of ways better) and has to do with the life of a big fan of Julia Child but it was super easy to read.
    Another book I thought of was “eat pray love” while she goes to Italy and not France it’s still a fun engaging light read. I was sad when it was over (and hated the ending) but in general really enjoyed it.

  14. erin says:

    When I was on hospitalized bedrest for my last pregnancy (Weeks 28-32), I read a few great books, and I totally understand why she wants something simple, yet engaging. Youth Lit would be great (I read a Betsy/Tacy classic book & City of Ember), and a short story collection by L.M. Montgomery.
    One other which I would recommend is the The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It helped me to take my mind off of my own troubles, but could be interrupted when nurses came to check on me, or hospital roomies began chatting on their phones, etc.
    Since my time on bedrest, four years have gone by. Now, I’ve discovered the ease of audiobooks, and man, I wish I had been able to use those when I was in the hospital.
    Best wishes for a safe delivery, and boredom-free days on bedrest.

  15. Congratulations, Carrie, on your new little one! I hope you recover quickly and that little Josiah grows healthy and strong!

    I recently finished Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart. I really loved her style–engaging but very easy to read.

  16. Anne says:

    Congratulations, Carrie!! I pray you will recover well, and Josiah continues gaining strength. Best wishes for successful pumping and nursing. 🙂 This just pushed My Life in France up the list even further, though I am intrigued by it being a November read. Have you read the Shopaholic series? They really are crack-ups!

  17. SoCalLynn says:

    Carrie, have you read Peter Mayle’s book A Year in Provence? There are two follow up books to this one, each telling the story of how he and his wife moved to Provence, set up a home and try to understand and fit into their new life. It is so funny!

  18. Arati says:

    I would always recommend the 50+ Georgette Heyer titles for anyone wanting an engaging read with a varying content of love, history, and a great dose of humour.

  19. Lisa says:

    Carrie, many congratulation on the birth of your son. It sounds like you were a rock star to get him to 27 weeks. I had a 30 weeker, so I’m sending you heart felt prayers that your NICU time will be smooth and shorter than anyone anticipated.

    Have you read Mitten Strings for God? It’s a parenting book but an easy read and very soothing. I try to reread it once a year. A good fiction book about a preemie is The Hatbox Baby by Carrie Brown. It’s really a love story in the setting of the World’s Fair.

  20. Lynn K says:

    Congratulations, Carrie, on the birth of Josiah! You must read Eight Cousins first as Rose in Bloom is the sequel. You will LOVE it! If you’re a francofile you will probably enjoy Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky but you may want to wait a few months till the pregnancy brain has worn off. Lol

  21. Hannah Beth Reid says:

    I am so glad to hear Carrie’s baby is born and doing so well!
    I’ve got to add some of these suggestions to my reading list…

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