by Amy and Laura from Secret Book Stuff
There is no greater gift than a book this season. With travel out of the equation, we can journey near and far with the turn of a page. But where to start?
If we had a dollar for every time someone walks into our cosy bookshop in Newcastle, and asks what they should be reading over the holidays, we’d be a lot closer to quitting our ‘day jobs’ and running Secret Book Stuff full-time! As much as we love having individual conversations with bookish minds and souls, and helping them find their next great read, we’ve made it easier for you with this curated list of the best of the bunch. We have read, devoured, cried, laughed, and loved all over these five books recently, and we hope you love them too.
This book single-handedly pulled Amy out of a lockdown reading slump, and she is forever grateful. Written with the same grace and conversational ease as First We Make the Beast Beautiful, this new book by Sarah Wilson once again combines personal essay with educational prose. This One Wild and Precious Life follows Sarah on hiking adventures around the world, and tackles the big issues of climate change and what we humans are doing to our planet. It’s inspiring and heart-wrenching, uplifting and raw. Get on it.
Ghosts by Dolly Alderton
For anyone who has ever been ghosted in the midst of an online dating adventure – or actually, for anyone existing as a 20- or 30-something human in this contemporary world – this book is incredibly relatable. Dolly Alderton’s hilarious voice shines through in her first novel (she previously wrote the excellent book of personal essays Everything I Know About Love) and we couldn’t put it down. The main character is Nina Dean, a 33-year-old food writer in London who is about to publish her third cookbook, has broken up with her longtime boyfriend, and has a father whose dementia is starting to rear its heartbreaking head. All her friends are married and having children and she’s floundering… so WTF is a girl to do but join the apps? Big, big recommend.
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
Reese Witherspoon put this book on the map during the height of coronavirus tension… and thank goodness she did. For those not in the know, Glennon Doyle is a writer and public figure previously well-known for her Christian-values dominated motivational speaking in the US. Then, the unexpected happened, and she fell head over heels (legitimately at first sight… all the cliches!) with a woman – Abby Wambach, star soccer player and fellow author. They’re now married, raising a blended family and winning at life. In this book, Glennon writes about female empowerment, self-love, sexual identity, and living life on your own terms. A must-read.
Nothing Much Happens by Kathryn Nicolai
Based on the popular podcast, this book is full of calming stories to soothe your mind before sleep. Hands up if you’ve been experiencing overwhelm, anxiety and information overload for most of 2020. Yep, just what we thought. Enter this beautiful book, Nothing Much Happens. It’s full of small, sweet moments of joy and relaxation. Who knew words on a page could be so soothing? This is the perfect gift for adults and kids alike, especially those who don’t usually read much!
The Yield by Tara June Winch
There’s a reason Australia was talking about this book for most of the year… The Yield is Indigenous Australian author Tara June Winch’s bestselling novel, and winner of the prestigious Miles Franklin Literary Award earlier this year. The story follows Albert ‘Poppy’ Gondiwindi and his granddaughter August, who lives on the other side of the world. When Poppy knows he’s dying, he takes pen to paper to trace his history. August arrives in her home country and discovers so much about identity and storytelling while she grieves. It’s seriously beautiful.
A note on conscious book-buying: Help support the Australian publishing industry, your local independent booksellers, and small business this festive season. Buy local, shop local, read local… and let’s turn the page on big business.
Secret Book Stuff is a social enterprise bookshop, run by Amy and Laura. For every book sold, they plant a tree and donate a book to a child in a rural Australian community. Visit www.secretbookstuff.com to shop online and sprinkle kindness everywhere.
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