The 10 top reads for winter
Is it just me, or is it becoming increasingly harder to find the time to lose yourself in a good book these days? This year I’m determined to broaden my reading list beyond celebrity gossip and friend’s status updates and, do you know what, this is the one resolution that I stand half a chance of keeping to, for January at least. It’s been that long since I’ve read anything decent though, so Clare at Dartmouth Bookseller, in the town’s lovely old Foss Street, has kindly recommended her ten top reads to snuggle up with this Jan.
Jane Austen the Secret Radical, Helena Kelly £20
2017 will mark the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, so prepare for a tsunami of tributes to one of the greatest female novelists ever, including a crisp new tenner that will feature her. But how well do we really know her and her novels? In her first book, Jane Austen expert, Helena Kelly wants to set us straight on some of the myths that surround Austen and her much-loved books and heroines.
Thin Air, Michelle Paver £12.99
Michelle Paver has mastered the art of penning chilling ghost stories. Thin Air is both literally and figuratively chilling as we join five Englishmen in 1935 on a determined journey in the Himalayas to conquer the summit of Kangchenjunga. Plagued with altitude sickness and worsening paranoia the group encounter rifts and yawning crevasses that twist and deepen physically and psychologically as they ascend the mountain.
A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled, Ruby Wax £6.99
As one would expect of Ms Wax, this isn’t your average guide to a more mindful life. Instead, it’s an honest, practical and funny book of tricks to help you get there, inspired by Ruby’s own bumpy background. She’s mastered the art of de-frazzling, which kind of makes me think anyone of us can too.
Five Give up the booze, Bruno Vincent £7.99
Thinking of giving Dry January a go? Five Give up the Booze is one of a set of reimagined Enid Blyton stories with an adult and humorous twist. George, Dick, Anne, Julian and Timmy the dog take on the tough challenge. Without the warm glow of ‘just the one’, the days are seeming longer and sober dinner parties disturbingly revealing. Can they do it?
A Snow Garden and other Stories, Rachel Joyce £7.99
Rachel Joyce, the author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, has released a wintery but warming collection of short stories. Read on Radio 4 as a Book at Bedtime the seven loosely connected stories are poignant and unforgettable.
The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way To Live Well, Meik Wiking £9.99
Roughly translating as ‘cosiness’, hygge is a Danish art to life that is starting to take hold here. Just a fad? Well, Denmark is regularly touted as the happiest country in the world. So, let’s a take a leaf out of their book and snuggle up on the sofa with a big cup of cocoa or invite friends over on a winter’s eve to share your favourite comfort food.
The Little Red Chairs, Edna O’Brien £7.99
Edna O’Brien’s first novel in a decade is a sensual and engrossing tale of evil and human endurance. A charismatic Balkan war criminal arrives in a small Irish village and declares himself an “holistic healer”. The exotic stranger arouses suspicion but is able to charm his way of out trouble and attracts the attention of Fidelma McBride. The ensuing relationship has inconceivable and dark consequences taking the reader to truly unimaginable places.
A History of Britain in 21 Women, Jenni Murray £ 16.99
In light of the recent revelation that women make up only 17% of Wikipedia entries, books like this are desperately needed to redress the balance. Jenni Murray has chosen 21 extraordinary British women she feels has had an impact on our history and tells their story with great wit. Many you will have heard of but there are also a few you likely will not have. Do you know Elizabeth Garrett Anderson? If not, you need to read this book.
Dadland, Keggie Carew £6.99
The debut non-fiction work from Keggie Carew has just scooped the Costa Book Award for a Biography. Dadland follows the emotional journey of Carew’s 10-year race to uncover the truth about her father’s past as he becomes lost to dementia; but in her efforts to rebuild his life, she discovers more than she could ever have imagined.
Cheer Up Love, Susan Calman £7.99
Dartmouth Bookseller, 3 Foss Street, Dartmouth, TQ6 9DW. Tel: 01803 833383 dartmouthbookseller.co.uk