Editor’s note: Please welcome back Deborah from Debbish (dot com) who’s been sharing her favourite new releases with Styling You readers each month.
Winter is finally here so it’s the perfect weather to curl up by the fireplace with a glass of red wine, some chocolate, a fluffy blanket and a book.
Although… I live on the Fraser Coast in Queensland so it’s really not that cold. So I’ll just skip the fireplace and blanket. Picture me instead with my
bottle glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, bag of Caramello Koalas and a book or three.
In honour of the colder weather I thought I’d mix things up and share with you some of my all-time favourite books and series for your reading pleasure.
Room by Emma Donohue
This is quite possibly my favourite book ever. Donohue does an amazing job with this novel about a young woman who’s been held captive for seven years. The novel unfolds through the eyes and voice of her five year old son, Jack. It’s cleverly written and is as much about life after, as it is about life inside, room.
If you don’t get a chance to read this then make sure you watch the movie as it does the book justice and includes some wonderful performances.
Past the Shallows by Favel Parrett
Another contender for my favourite book EVER is this 2011 debut novel by Parrett. I was a latecomer to its brilliance and only recently listened to the audiobook (narrated by David Wenham), which I adored so much I bought a print copy as soon as I’d finished. I also loved Parrett’s 2014 novel, When the Night Comes which also features lyrically beautiful writing and an achingly poignant plot.
But that later release is edged out of my all-time-faves list by Parrett’s earlier work about two young brothers and their distant and abusive abalone fisherman father.
Aussie Parrett’s passion and respect for the ocean is obvious as it’s akin to another character in her books. Spoiler-alert… you will need tissues. Lots of them.
The Eye of the Sheep by Sofie Laguna
This is another book beautifully written from a child’s point of view. It’s one I also read some time after its release and… I fell in love. Like Parrett’s work, it was Laguna’s writing that won me over – her words and her phrases gliding effortlessly from the pages. The voice Laguna gives to our narrator Jimmy (aged 6 then 12) is delightful. He’s autistic and amazingly conscious and connected to everything around him. Laguna deals deftly and pragmatically with domestic and family violence in this Miles Franklin Award winning book. The issues are complex and Laguna pulls no punches.
It’s a book that stays with you and is – most definitely – worth a read.
The Complete Works of Jane Austen
Six years ago I went to fat camp. It wasn’t actually called that, but that’s what it was. Knowing I had a month away from civilisation, diet coke and carbohydrates I took this tome with me, suspecting it would be heavy going… so I was surprised when I lapped it up.
In all honesty Austen was incredibly long-winded, but she’s also delightfully sardonic. I can’t even imagine how ahead of her time she was. Instead of finding the novels dreary and heavy-going (Wuthering Heights I’m looking at you!), they’re witty and entertaining. So if you’ve been nervous about embarking on Austen, never fear – she’s wordy but not dour.
JD Robb’s In Death series
If you’ve got a year or two spare, you might want to embark on this futuristic police series as the 43rd ‘In Death’ book is soon to be released… and that doesn’t include a number of short stories and novellas.
Set in 2058 (ish), we follow the exploits of New York Homicide cop, Lieutenant Eve Dallas; her mega-wealthy husband (and former do-er of illegal deeds) Roarke; and a merry band of helpers.
JD Robb is in fact the queen of romantic suspense, Nora Roberts so we’re (mostly) offered a good balance between the two. And although I do groan (and not in a good way!) at some of the sex scenes, it’s a pretty good series. There’s a crime to be solved in each book and the overarching plot arc involving Eve and Roarke keeps me coming back for more.
Spenser for Hire by Robert B Parker
Another of my guilty secrets is a series which kicked off in 1973, featuring old school gumshoe, Spenser.
Parker wrote in the vein of Raymond Chandler so you won’t find complex psychopathic serial killers here. Rather, there’s burglaries, the odd murder or two and some infidelity thrown in for good measure. The thing I love most about this series however, is Spenser and his smug wise-cracking ways. He’s got a strong sense of right and wrong though plays fast and loose with the law.
Parker consistently offered readers fast-paced witty dialogue and remarkably sturdy plots. After Parker’s death in 2010 his Estate decided to continue the series with new authors. And I for one am relieved that Spenser lives on.
And that’s it for me. Sadly my ‘to be read’ pile almost qualifies me for an episode of Hoarders, so I won’t get to re-read any of these faves for some time.
Do you read more in winter?
Do you have favourite books or series?
Deborah Cook blogs about books, not-dieting and life in general at Debbish. Her life-long love of reading was only surpassed by her addiction to vanilla diet coke (which she has now given up!), baths, chocolate and champagne.