I’m ashamed to say that I am not reading anything right now. The year didn’t start off this way – quite the opposite actually. I inhaled Rules of Civility, Grace, The Great Gatsby and The Other Hand all within an 8 week period and then… blah… nothing. Totally uninspired. When you have left yourself out of the loop for sometime, it can be damn difficult to get back in, know what’s hot, not and should be sitting on the bedside table.

There is nothing like a really good personal recommendation to steer you back in the right direction. My go-to is mega-reader Louise Owens over at readmeblogsite. She reviews ten great books a month that she has read within a related theme. I asked her for the five I should be on top of and she kindly shot these through.  I am also adding in your inspired  list of recommendations – thank you as always for your valuable input. I’m heading to my local bookshop to stock up, settle in and read lots.. have a great weekend everyone. x

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1.”War Horse” by Michael Morpurgo (Egmont) This beautifully written book is based on the story that author Morpurgo was told by a humble World War I veteran in an English pub one evening. The sensitive story about the bond of a young boy and his horse is told from the horse’s perspective and travels from the English countryside to the war front. Morpurgo wrote the book for all ages; so children and adults can appreciate this moving account and non-political history of the fate of horses in World War I.

Why should you be reading this book? The award-winning “War Horse” theatrical production is currently touring and showcases the Handspring Puppet Company’s amazing  life-size puppets (yes, even puppets of horses!). An event not to be missed!


2. ‘The Happiness Project’ by Gretchen Rubin (Harper; Harper Collins) This is the true story of Rubin who is a New York mother of 2 and gives up her job as a lawyer to move into journalism. The book chronicles Rubin’s experiments and research regarding making her life happier. Divided into 12 chapters which represent each month, Rubin dedicates each month to an area in her life she would like to improve including marriage, work, parenthood, leisure and friendship. Some of her ideas are little steps to improve happiness; some are huge. It’s a fascinating read, backed up by lots of Rubin’s research and can be tailored and applied for each reader.

Why should you be reading this book? It’s an interesting read with many practical and thought-provoking suggestions about how to make your life happier. Rubin is a practical, thoughtful mum who is a widely read author and blogger.

3. Lessons From Madame Chic; 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living In Paris” by Jennifer L. Scott (Harper Collins) This is a great book about Scott’s experiences living as a foreign exchange student with a wonderful family (Famille Chic!) is Paris. Scott muses about why the French are so effortlessly chic and, through firsthand experience living with them, analyses techniques and attitudes to exercise, clothes, make-up, entertaining and culture that make the French so fabulous! Scott talks about the art of never seeming to be rushed, enjoying each meal (but in moderation) and the very small wardrobes and kitchens of our French cousins.

Why should you be reading this book? Because Scott shows how busy women can do it in style!

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4. Not Quite Nigella” by Lorraine Elliott (Penguin) Elliott is an amazing food enthusiast and blogger. Her book explains how she created her current job and describes her fantastic experiences eating at little-known restaurants, specialty cafes, shelters for the down-and-out, meeting Nigella Lawson and prison catering! Her love of food is contagious and she shares recipes such as one for her red velvet cupcakes that makes you want to get into the kitchen and bake! Interspersed with personal stories, personality quirks and fun adventures, Elliott’s book is a celebration of her love of food and about turning her dream into a reality.

Why should you be reading this book? Elliott writes a popular blog and is an enthusiastic, practical and experimental cook. Her blog reviews places to eat and she shares her recipes in an honest, practical and engaging way.

5. The Happiest Refugee” by Anh Do (Allen & Unwin)  This very readable memoir is the story of comedian, Do’s, life in war-torn Vietnam and his treacherous voyage in an over-crowded boat to Australia. Do’s story of finding his feet in a new country and responding to a different culture is deeply touching and admirable. I was introduced to Do’s great sense of humour as he describes inevitable clashes of culture and his outlook and response to life. Do’s story is incredible, uplifting, inspiring and very moving, but above-all it is a story of unswerving determination.

Why should you be reading this book? You may recognise Do’s face from comedy skits and shows, but you might not know or respect the challenges he has faced and overcome. This book gives great insight into the plight of refugees.

YOUR SUGGESTIONS – THANK YOU!

“The only book on my bedside table is The Bible (in Spanish). Would love to revisit “The Great Gatsby”. My daughter Lucy just did a magazine cover shoot for the movie.” Karla, Panama.

“I highly recommend Bel Canto” by Ann Patchett. Don’t read the back cover, just buy it and get into it, only about 200pgs. I held my breath from the first page…” Dijanna, Sydney.

On my bedside table – Mireille Guiliano’s “French Women Don’t Get Fat” and “French Women for All Seasons”, Kate Morton’s “The Shifting Fog” and at the end of the week I think I have Dan Brown’s new book “Inferno” coming my way. Louise, Brisbane.

“”The Vogue Factor” by Kirstie Clements is currently enthralling me, but also on my bedside table is “Toxic Oil” by David Gillespie and “I Quit Sugar” by Sarah Wilson.” Crystal, Perth.

“I’m flicking between “The Shelley Beach Writers Group”, “Richie McCaw The Open Side” and my friend Clare’s book “Standing On My Own Two Feet” – Let’s just say i like to cover all bases and see where the mood takes me. “ Sam, Brisbane.

“Sailing adventures….one after the other after the other. factual only!” Tracey, Perth

“Share with me Tracey! I love sailing. Have you read the “Koniki Expedition”?” Kylie, Perth

“I have just finished “The Circle of Silence” by Shirley Shackleton. She is the wife of Balibl 5 journalist Greg Shackleton. She has been a tireless activist for Timor Leste and their fight for freedom. It is an incredible read although pretty disturbing. Close to my heart as I have just spent 2 weeks up in the mountains of Timor working with the locals.” Pep, Brisbane.

“Sitting by my bedside is “Wide Sargasso Sea” by Jean Rhys.” Amy, Eumundi.

“The Magicians” by Lev Grossman. It’s like a dark, twisted version of Harry Potter for adults. Love it!” Jane, Brisbane.

“”Meltdown” by Ben Elton. A good , easy read.” Tia, Perth.

“F. Scott Fitzgerald’s first book, “This Side of Paradise”. There are definite foreshadowings of Gatsby in it – it’s a good read.” Natasha, Perth.

“Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom and “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg. Both stolen from my husband’s side!” Rachel, Brisbane.

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