If you ask me, it’s gotten too cold, too fast. Where’s the warming glow of the sun? Where are the pretty sunsets at 8pm? Why is it so dark and cold by the time I leave the office? Winter always catches me by surprise despite it literally happening at the same time every year. But, with a cold season comes cold season activities, and nothing brings the feeling of winter comfort quite like rugging up, lighting a candle, pouring myself a merlot and diving into a good book.
But, where do you start, right? Book recommendations are coming at us faster than ever, and sometimes the choice of what new book to read can be so overwhelming that you just resort back to an old fave that you’ve read 17 times already. Comforting, sure, but let’s challenge ourselves this winter!
We’ve teamed up with Penguin Random House to curate a list of recommendations that has something for everyone. Maybe a book club is on the cards for you after this? Dream it, believe it, achieve it.
The Collected Regrets of Clover
Not to kick things off on a bit of a macabre note, but “The Collected Regrets of Clover” is all about death and grief. But this debut from Australian author Mikki Brammer turns what we usually know as a sad and solemn part of life into one that’s not only uplifting, but heartwarming.
“The Collected Regrets of Clover” follows Clover Brooks, a New York-based death doula, who helps provide the support and guidance people need as they and their loved ones transition into end-of-life care. While for most of us, grief is something we try and avoid, it is a key part of Clover’s job. In fact, it’s almost taking over her life.
As she tries to find a life for herself that’s fulfilling, on top of making the end of her clients’ lives as enjoyable and as peaceful as possible, her world opens up. Brooks urges her clients to collate their parting words into three notebooks — advice, confessions and regrets — and now she’s pushing herself to look back on her own. Prepare to cry, prepare to laugh, and perhaps prepare to see life’s one certainty in a whole new light.
No, that’s not the genre. That is the title of Curtis Sittenfield’s newest book, and it’s one you’re going to be talking about long after you’ve finished it. While “The Collected Regrets of Clover” challenges how we view death, “Romantic Comedy” wants us to re-examine everything we know about love.
Picture this: a sketch show writer, Sally Milz, falls in love with a musical guest on her very show. Milz is someone who is tired of seeing unremarkable men dating accomplished and gorgeous women, feeling that the same just doesn’t happen for average women. She dubs it a social rule, and even skewers it on her show.
Needless to say she’s shocked when said musical guest, Noah, might be interested in her, too. This goes against everything she knows, everything the world has told her. What do you do if you’ve convinced yourself your fatigued by the notion of romance, only for romance to strike when and where you least expect?
Three women. Same family. Same neighbourhood. Three vastly different financial situations. That’s the set-up for “Pineapple Street”, the debut novel by Jenny Jackson, and it’s one that arrests you from the very beginning.
We’ll spell out the family tree for you. There’s Darley, the eldest daughter of a well-connected and highly-respected family that could spend thousands of dollars a day and not bat an eyelid. But she gave all that up for her love and for a family, which cannot be said for her new sister-in-law Sasha. Sasha’s upbringing could not be further from Darley’s, and now people are looking at her twice after expressing hesitancy about signing a prenup.
Meanwhile, Georgiana, who is young and still figuring the world out, has fallen in love with someone she knows she shouldn’t, and now has to grow up faster than she wanted.
“Pineapple Street” follows all three women as their stories intertwine, and makes you confront the realities and interplay between class, money and true love.
Things I Wanted to Say
Now, if you’ve spent literally any time on BookTok, you’ve seen people talk about “Things I Wanted to Say”. In case you’ve been nervous to take the dive, we can safely assure you that it’s well worth the hype. This is a dark and brooding romance full of secrecy and deception, which makes it an easy read to lose yourself in.
“Things I Wanted to Say”, written by Monica Murphy, follows the story of Summer Savage and Whit Lancaster, once entangled at age 14 and now reunited some years later. Except, Lancaster knows all of Savage’s secrets thanks to a journal he stole from her. Now, she’s wrapped up in a world of blackmail, but she manages to strike a deal with him.
It’s the perfect tit-for-tat with extreme consequences, and you’ll be hanging on every word.
“Happy Place” is the type of rom-com goodness we’ve been MISSING in media for so long, and I’m so glad it’s coming back.
For the past decade, couple Harriet and Wyn have taken an annual holiday with their closest friends and gotten well and truly wine-sloshed in a stunning seaside location. Don’t you hate to see other people living your dream?!
This year, things are a liiiittle different. Harriet and Wyn are no longer together. They haven’t been together for six months, and their best friends don’t have a clue. Now, they have to embark on this traditional getaway, while also keeping their secret… a secret.
Could you and your ex fake your relationship status in front of your besties and get away with it? Of course not, which means the push and pull between Harriet and Wyn in “Happy Place”, written by Emily Henry, is all the more juicy.
The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece
“The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece” is a tale almost as grand and vast as its title. Spanning 80 years — yes, you read that right — we follow a range of characters as we see a humble comic book inspire a multi-million dollar superhero blockbuster.
The novel introduces you to a wide variety of people, including but not limited to: a soldier returning from war, a talented young boy, a true movie star about to break through, a director that dances to the beat of his own drum, a production assistant just trying to keep things afloat, and the countless other people it takes to make movie magic a reality.
But, is it an accurate depiction of how movies are made? I don’t know, maybe you should ask the author — TOM HANKS. Something tells me a two-time Oscar winner probably knows a thing or two about movie magic.
Fill up your bookshelves this winter with Penguin Books. Get to know their full catalogue here.