It’s the perfect weather for reading

When it’s as cold as it is now – I didn’t think Perth ever had maximum temperatures as low as 13 degrees – the only thing to do is curl up next to any available heat source and read. So, in that spirit, I thought I’d share with you some of the great books that I’ve read recently.

A new author find for me is Maggie O’Farrell. I have just finished The Hand that First Held Mine and loved it – its theme of motherhood well and truly resonated with me. My agent has recommended O’Farrell’s first book, After You’d Gone, as being her best so I’ve just ordered that through Booktopia as my local bookstore had none available.

My agent has also recommended a book I’d never heard of called Crow Lake, by British author Mary Lawson. So that’s also coming from Booktopia soon (I hope!).

Other great books I’ve finished lately are The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. It’s about Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley Richardson, and even if you’re not a Hemingway fan (which I’m not) still give this book a try. Romance, combined with literary life inParis in the twenties – what’s not to love about that!

If you’re into non-fiction, another book I couldn’t put down and that I finished in about a week was The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother byAmy Chua. You might not agree with all of her parenting philosophies but some of what she had to say made sense to me, especially her view that Western parenting can sometimes assume weakness in the child, rather than strength.

I started The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbary last night. An odd title, I know, and this eclecticism seems to continue throughout the book. It’s about a female concierge in an apartment building in Paris, and one of the residents, a thirteen year old girl who’s vowed to commit suicide on a certain date in a few months’ time. I’m only a few chapters in but it’s quite captivating.

Enough about me, what have the kids been reading? Well, at the top of the list is the most dreadfully clichéd and commercialised book but they love it all the same. It’s part of the Rainbow Magic series and it’s called Kate The Royal Wedding Fairy. And yes, the fairy on the cover does look just likeKate Middleton.

Ballerinas and girls go together like Vegemite and toast and if you’re sick of Angelina Ballerina, try the Ella Bella Ballerina books by James Mayhew. They delve more deeply into the stories behind the traditional ballets, but in a fun way.

We’ve loved lots of Jan Ormerod’s books and Moonlight, a wordless picture book, is no exception. The kids and I really enjoy books that don’t have words to them – making up the story is often as much fun as just reading the story.

There are a few other books in the picture which are current favourites of the kids too. So, have you been using a book for company in the cold weather? If you have, which one? Or do you have any great kids’ books to recommend?


  1. marlish glorie

    Thank-you for another wonderful blog Natasha. I too love Maggie O Farrell , and one of her other novels, My Lover’s Lover is a fantastic read as well as After You’d Gone.
    I’m re-reading Jane Eyre at the moment. I’d forgotten how dark it is. There’s a Gothic feel to it.
    Will definately seek out Crow Lake,
    Sorry no recommendations for children, except to say how fortunate your children are in having a mother who truly values reading .

  2. Glen Hunting

    If you feel like having another go at Papa Hemingway, you might like to try “A Moveable Feast”, which is his own account of his Paris years. It might make an interesting comparison with “The Paris Wife.” – did it refer to “A Moveable Feast” much? It’s an interesting read but undoubtedly biased, and you won’t find much redemption of his character in it, I’m afraid…

  3. I’ve just started reading the Shirley Hughes’ books to my three year old daughter. They are beautifully illustrated and “Sally’s Secret” in particular has led to some awesome tea parties in the garden!

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