Monday 5 September 2016

It's A Wrap - 20 Books of Winter

Where did that time go?

It only seems like just the other day that I was signing up and planning which 20 books to read over the Australian winter/Northern Hemisphere summer with Cathy @746 Books.

I picked 14 books off my TBR pile and left 6 books as freebies to be filled throughout the winter.

And I read 20 books in 3 months.

Just not the 14 that I initially selected.

(replaced All My Januaries on my list)

Sadly All My Januaries bored me to tears, that is the first couple of chapters that I attempted, bored me to tears. Perhaps it improved, but I wasn't in the mood to find out. I replaced it with this fascinating memoir about growing up black in Australia instead.

2. Ruins by Rajith Savanadasa   (reviewed 30/6/16)

Another ARC with a BIG rap from my Hachette rep; another July release; another Australian author.
I also adore Indian literature, so this one has the best of both worlds for me - a Sri Lankan born Australian with his debut novel set in Colombo.
Great cover too!

Loved this book. Such a self-assured debut novel - cant wait to see what Savanadasa does next.

3. Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift (reviewed 9/6/16)

I've been hoping to get into this well-reviewed story sooner rather than later (and I can't wait to read JoAnn @Lakeside Musing's review when she writes it as her social media raves this weekend have been very tantalising :-)
This book has been languishing on my TBR for long enough now.

OMG!!! I adored this book to pieces & would have reread it straight away, except it was already 2am!

4. Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty  (reviewed 6/8/2016)

I love my reps!
My Pan Mac rep came through a week ago with an ARC of Liane's latest book.
Mr Books snaffled it straight away since I had just started The Story of a Lost Child.
He raced through it with great pleasure and is now eagerly awaiting our discussion when I finally read it.

Sadly, reluctantly, but truly the most disappointing book on my list.

5. Everywhere I Look by Helen Garner  (reviewed 27/7/2016)

Most Aussie readers will know (& most likely adore) Helen Garner.
I have her latest non-fiction personal essays tempting me from my bedside chair.

Wonderful, wonderful stuff. So many gems, she can do no wrong to my mind!

I'm up to the fourth book in this gentle crime series set in Sydney in the 1930's.
I love Rowland Sinclair and his Bohemian friends.
This series has become my comfort read. As the days get colder and darker, I can safely say that a comfort read will be required at some point!

One rainy. cold, miserable weekend, I needed comfort.
This was the perfect tonic.
So perfect that I had to grab book 5 and read it too (see below).

7. Joan of Arc by Lili Wilkinson (reviewed 8/8/2016)

I've had Lili's fictional bio for teens on my bedside chair ever since I read Green Valentine last year & discovered that she had written a much earlier story based on the life of Joan.
Louise @A Strong Belief in Wicker has a review of the book here.
I'm a BIG fan of Wilkinson and always intrigued by Joan.

Fascinating, easy to read bio that has me wanting to revisit George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan.

Carol @Journey and Destination first put me onto this beautiful looking book.
You may have already spotted the other theme developing with this list....
No chunksters to bog me down this winter!!

I slipped this book into my bag on our recent getaway to Far North Queensland, so I can actually say that this was one of my books that classified as a summer read!

9. The Santiago Pilgrimage by Jean-Christophe Rufin   (reviewed 22/8/16)

Spotted at this year's Sydney Writer's Festival - sounds intriguing.

And it was!
I may do a long walk one day, but I doubt that it will be this one. Too many ones closer to home (with more consist scenery) to tempt me.

10. On the Beach by Nevil Shute  (reviewed 13/6/16)

Nancy @Ipsofactdotme reminded me of this Australian classic about the end of the world, when she read it for AusReadingMonth three years ago. 
I've been meaning to read it ever since.

I cannot thank Nancy enough for reminding me about this book and author.
I may have to revisit A Town Like Alice for AusReading Month.

11. The Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore    (reviewed 3/9/16)

August readalong with Cirtnecce.
(replaced The Bell Jar on my list)

I really do want to read The Bell Jar one day, but this readalong popped up instead! It was too good an opportunity to miss to finally read this Indian classic lurking on my TBR pile.

12. Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner   reviewed 22/7/2016

I read and loved, loved, loved Crossing to Safety four years ago.
I've been meaning to read another Stegner ever since.

Fascinating story with some controversies to tease out.

13. I'm Supposed to Protect You From All of This by Nadja Spiegleman  (reviewed 4/9/16)

(replaced Our Man in Havana on my list)

This was a random pick up at work just before going on holidays.
I was hooked from page one & Nadja suddenly found her way into my luggage.

14. The Last Painting by Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith  (reviewed 31/8/16)

(replaced Villette on my list)

Villette just seemed too big and too chunky for me to tackle this winter.
Whereas Smith's book sounded like the perfect holiday read...and it was.

15. Every Man For Himself by Beryl Bainbridge  (reviewed 18/6/16)

This is how it happens.

Barely one day after compiling my list of 14 and leaving a space for 6 books in August, I have discovered that Annabel's House of Books is hosting a Beryl Bainbridge reading week from 13th-19th June.

The Bainbridge ended up on my TBR when Lisa @Bookshelf Fantasies told me about this other Titanic story after we both shared our love for The Midnight Watch.

16. The Course of Love by Alain de Botton  (reviewed 2/8/2016)

(replaced The Bone Sparrow on my list)

A quick, easy book to read, that gave Mr Books and I plenty of discussion topics!

17. The Catherine Wheel by Elizabeth Harrower is my #CCSpin 13 choice.
(reviewed 31/7/2016)

Fortunately my spin book was a slim Aussie classic, although the topic had it's heavy moments.

18. The Ladies of Lyndon by Margaret Kennedy    (reviewed 20/6/16)

Jane @Beyond Eden Rock's had a Kennedy readalong that I discovered at the last minute. My 6 free spots filled up very quickly!

19. Gentlemen Formally Dressed by Sulari Gentill   (reviewed 27/6/16)

My lingering winter cold saw me dive into another cosy, comfort read.


Auggie and Me: Three Wonder Stories by R J Palacio   (reviewed 13/7/2016)

After a drama at work, I needed something light and easy to dip into. Something that I knew would be heart-warming and uplifting.
The companion book to Wonder was an obvious choice.


9 of the 20 books were Australian.
2 were YA titles.
6 were classics.
5 were non-fiction.
4 books were read as part of a group readalong.
And 9 were 2016 new releases.

My favourite?
Mothering Sunday

The one I would recommend to everyone?
The Last Painting of Sara de Vos

Author/s I plan to hunt down their previous books thanks to the above?
Graham Swift
Sulari Gentill
Helen Garner
Margaret Kennedy
Elizabeth Harrower
Nevil Shute
Arthur Conan Doyle

Next year?
Yes, definitely! But only select 10 books from my TBR pile.
Leave 10 freebies - accept that this is how I read.

What am I reading now?
The Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey

The Middlepause: On Turning Fifty by Marina Benjamin

What about you?


  1. Whoo hooo, well done!! I am about to finish Book 19 of mine, and Book 20 is in Icelandic and I was allowed to just make a start on it. You've made me feel better about swapping out a few, too!

  2. Well done for getting to your goal. Interesting reads, I was surprised that you put The Bone Sparrow aside- I'm hearing nothing but good things about it- and I went to half of the launch in Melbourne.... but that's a story for another time.

    1. I plan to read it still Louise, I just wasn't in the right frame of mind to tackle a refugee story at the time and something else cropped up....the usual story of my reading life!

  3. Anonymous7/9/16

    Congrats....bravo, you did it!
    What a varied selection of books, lots of non-fiction too!
    'Last Painting of Sara de Vos' ...well this is a Dutch #MustRead for me!
    Sara de Vos is admitted as a master painter to the Guild of St. Luke's in Holland.

    1. It's entirely fictional Nancy, but feels very embedded in the real world. It has all the possibilities of fact... so much so I had to google various parts to see what was real and what wasn't.

  4. some of these look quite good. I will be borrowing a few titles.


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