Sunday 21 June 2020

Winter Solstice Reading


Today is the Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. The shortest day, and therefore, the longest night of our year.

We have had a delightful time of it in Sydney this past week. Brisk mornings, clearing up into lovely sunny, almost warm days. Great for long walks, sitting in the sun with the family over a long lunch and even longer evenings for curling up on the lounge with a glass of wine and a good book. But today, the solstice, is grey, rainy and miserable.

I'm always thrilled to reach the winter solstice every year. From here on in, the days will slowly lengthen again, even though the worst of winter is yet to hit us, the promise of brighter, sunnier days is on the horizon.

As I write this on Sunday morning it is 10℃ outside with a predicted top of only 18. A cold day but not terribly so. However we're about to head up to our house in the mountains where it is currently 3℃ with a predicted high of 12. Brrrrr!

I do not enjoy being cold and wearing layers and layers of clothing. I do not enjoy waking up in the dark and then walking home from work in the dark. The day always seems to disappear before it has even started. As an introvert, I should be revelling in the hibernating aspects of this solstice, instead I find myself counting down the days until spring and summer return once again!

These long, dark nights of the soul should give me more time to read, but somehow that never seems to happen. And this year, two winter solstice events will make that even less likely to occur.

Firstly, Radio National is hosting their Big Weekend of Books, with great names like Bernadine Evaristo, Hilary Mantel, Bruce Pascoe, Tara June Winch and Tony Birch on offer.

And secondly, a friend of mine who writes for - a blog that offers up an independent, in-depth look at social journalism for health - alerted me to their solstice reading event. This is their third annual #CroakeyReads, although this year's offering is truncated thanks to Covid. Join in from 7-9 pm at their website or on twitter using the hashtag. You may even find a book or two recommended by me!

If I find time to read today, I will be falling back into Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar. It has been my lunchtime read at work for a week or so, but I'm now at that point where I no longer want to wait to read it in short bursts. I had hoped to spend more time with it this weekend, but so far that has not happened.

What will you be reading during your Winter/Summer Solstice weekend? 


  1. The photo of the tree is so dramatic and perfect for your solstice thoughts. I am reading The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson, a book I don't want to put down. Surviving the severe bombings of London puts our pandemic difficulties in perspective for me.

    1. I have yet to read any of Larson’s books & I don’t know why. They sound like something I’d enjoy too.

  2. I wish we could have some cold weather. I really envy those who have a change of seasons.

    1. I have family in the Northern Territory, who also have only wet and dry seasons, like Sr Lanka. They never visit us during the winter months, preferring to come south in the summer...then they complain how cold our summer is!!


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