Some of our favourite things about this season include the darker evenings and colder climes. Why, we hear you ask? Because they create the perfect excuse to curl up in an armchair with a cosy throw, flickering Winter Candles and a page-turning novel. So, before the busy festive countdown commences, we recommend enjoying a peaceful evening (or two) of luxury lounging with one of these Winter reads.
Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, available now)
Semple’s latest novel charts one chaotic day in the life of Eleanor Flood. Eleanor vows to devote herself to a day of self-improvement (tacking her marriage, her child and her now redundant career – just the big stuff, then), but a discovery derails her from the start. The joy of this book is the brilliantly observed social commentary combined with a cleverly executed unravelling of secrets, lies and emotional fallout. Sharp, funny and full of surprises, Semple’s voice is refreshingly like no one else’s.
You’ll like this if you liked… Semple’s whip-smart Where’d You Go Bernadette.
Hygge by Charlotte Abrahams (Trapeze, available now)
Hygge – it’s the buzz word of the moment, but what does it actually mean? In essence, it’s something the Danes use to describe celebrating simple pleasures and embracing cosy living (something we couldn’t agree with more). Perfect for this time of year, Abrahams’ book is a gentle exploration of what makes us content – and how we can learn a thing or two from this Danish cultural phenomenon. Curl up with a cup of coffee and this feel-good book for a lovely read.
You’ll like this if you like… all things Scandinavian.
Thin Air by Michelle Paver (Orion Books, available now)
Disquieting and poignant, this wonderfully atmospheric tale is set in 1935, as five Englishmen embark upon Kangchenjunga – the third-highest peak on earth and greatest killer of them all. Determined to follow the unbeaten trail of dead-men before them – despite facing omens, written warnings, bouts of altitude sickness and an unsettling discovery – a tense and icy thrill flickers throughout. But the vengeful past will not stay buried – or is it all in the mind?
You’ll like this if you liked… The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
l’Art de la Simplicité: How To live More With Less by Dominique Loreau (Orion Books, available now)
This stylish self-help guide promotes wellbeing through frugality and appreciating the small things. Inspired by her life in Japan, French writer Dominique Loreau shares her hints and tips to unclutter your life – physically, mentally and materialistically. From travel to diet, home décor to relationships, you’ll learn how to cut out the negativity and excess from modern life to live a simpler, purer existence, one Zen quote at a time.
You’ll like this if you liked… The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying: A Simple, Effective Way To Banish Clutter Forever by Marie Kondo
Travelers Rest by Keith Lee Morris (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, available now)
A Stephen-King-style hotel thriller that will send shivers down your spine. This chilling read pulls you into the relationships of a strained family who have become separated from each other in the sleepy town of Good Night. Dreams and memories blur and mysterious forces seem to be at work to stop the family from reuniting. Will the Addisons come back together and leave the Travelers Rest?
You’ll like this if you liked…The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley
The Tobacconist by Robert Seethaler (Picador, available now)
In the last golden Summer before the German invasion of 1938, naïve 17-year old Franz moves to Vienna, where he falls in love with a vivacious showgirl. Lucky, then, his work as a tobacconist’s apprentice leads him directly to Professor Freud – yes, that Freud – with whom he forms an intense bond, just as the Nazi regime threatens to engulf the lives of everyone around him. Austrian novelist Seethaler describes genuine historical events and ordinary lives with a profound sense of realism. Although the war is often a sideline to Franz’s teenage solipsism and heartbreak, Seethaler cleverly interweaves the two themes.
You’ll like this if you liked… Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize-winning wartime masterpiece, All The Light We Cannot See.
The Face On The Cutting Room Floor by Cameron McCabe (Picador, available now)
If you think detective novels are all the same, you’ve obviously never read this 1937 classic. Genre-bending and confusing at every turn, this novel caused a serious stir in the literary world when first published, dividing crime-noir fans and sparking a search for the identity of the mysterious author, who also takes on the role of unreliable narrator. With its spiralling plot and smoke-and-mirrors style, those who like a solid conclusion to a tale may be left feeling cheated. But, if you’re a fan of David Lynch’s mind-bending films, this will have you thinking about it for weeks afterwards.
You’ll like this if you liked… anything by John Le Carré
The Wonder by Emma Donoghue (Picador, available now)
1850s Ireland, and a young English nurse, Lib, is dispatched to investigate whether a 15-year-old girl, who claims to have not eaten for four months, is a fraud or a miracle. Inspired by real cases of ‘fasting girls’, this psychological thriller has a tense, creeping feel. At the heart of the book is the relationship between the patient and the carer, and a local community that becomes uncomfortably connected with their lives.
You’ll like this if you liked… Donoghue’s bestseller turned Oscar-winning film Room.
London Precinct: A Curated Guide to the City’s Best Shops, Eateries, Bars and Other Hangouts by Fiona McCarthy (Hardie Grant, available now)
London – one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the world. From gastronomy to culture, there’s never a dull moment. But with so much to see and do, how do you ensure you don’t miss out on the best it has to offer? More than your average city guide, London Precincts provides an insider’s view, through revealing the favourite haunts of notable locals, including our very own founder Chrissie Rucker, to help you navigate some of the city’s hidden gems. If ever there was a book that will have you booking a city break, this is it…
You’ll like this if you liked… The 500 Hidden Secrets of London by Tom Greig
Rawblood by Catriona Ward (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, available now)
Hauntingly brilliant, this gothic tale of love and madness draws you in from the start. Set in 1910, eleven-year-old Iris Villarca lives with her father in a lonely house on Dartmoor. The last of their surviving family (all their ancestors have inexplicably died), Iris is told she must be strictly isolated to protect her from a hereditary disease. As the plot unravels Iris uncovers the chilling truth behind her father’s lie. With glimpses of a ghostly woman, a sense of menace and the voices of the dead creeping into the secluded house, the answer to the buried family secret is plot-twistingly gripping.
You’ll like this if you liked…Whispers In The Dark by Jonathan Aycliffe
Searching For A Silver Lining by Miranda Dickinson (Pan books, available now)
Starting as a heart-breaking story of grief when protagonist Matilda falls out with her beloved grandfather just before his death, this novel takes you on a journey of bereavement that soon turns into a touchingly funny and warming read. Haunted by regret, Matilda is determined to right her wrongs by making a promise that will soon change everything. This is a sparkling story of second chances – but expect to weep throughout.
You’ll like this if you liked… PS. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern
Great Britain in Colour illustrated by Paul Farrell (Pan Macmillan, available now)
Acclaimed illustrator, Paul Farrell, brilliantly portrays iconic images that define Britain in his bold-graphic style, which sheds a whole new light and meaning onto them. Encompassing everything from the UK’s biggest landmarks and architecture to countryside and beyond, he invites us to rethink what makes something quintessentially British and shows us new ways to view the familiar, while uncovering hidden gems. Intriguing, thought-provoking and fun – the perfect coffee table book.
You’ll like this if you liked… Infographia: The World as You’ve Never Seen it Before by Martin and Simon Toseland