During the summer I often only have time to read magazines between farmer’s markets and gardening, and babysitting, and the shop (and soon to be a full blown urban farm), but in the winter I have more time. The sun goes down earlier, I am called to warm sheets quicker, tea by my side, a book (not an e-book, mind you, I prefer the loveliness of paper) in my hand, and I am whisked away to new places amongst new people for a time. A way to stop my swimming mind from wandering from subject to worry to plan. These are my top five books for winter reading.
1- The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman
This book takes us to the plush apartment of an elderly, elegant woman, at once a hermit and extraordinary storyteller of her time as a courtesan. Taking place at the cusp of World War Two, her granddaughter both listens to her grandmother’s stories and becomes a woman in a world where being half Jewish in love with a Jewish rare book seller could prove dangerous. A lovely tale of love and luxury, of loss and simple pleasures, I enjoyed every word.
2- If There’s Squash Bugs in Heaven, I Ain’t Staying by Stacia Spragg-Braude
I laughed throughout this book. The author follows an older farmer around for a year and creates a memoir of the life of a Farm girl in Corrales, New Mexico, easily transporting us to her youth, introducing us to family members throughout time, then back to present at the stove stirring this or that to be preserved. Incredible farming wisdom and homesteading tips are inevitably sought during this delightful story of a life lived simply and near the earth.
3- The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis
Mind you, fiction is not my reading of choice. I challenged myself this year to read more fiction. This book delivered an enticing story that jumps from past to present as a young reporter tries to find out the truth behind a maid’s mysterious death by interviewing the elder models that still inhabit the once prestigious Barbizon hotel. Secrets unfold and kept me thoroughly entertained as it took me to sexy jazz clubs in the 1950’s, Puerto Rican singers, smoke, spices, and models trying to make it set the scene for a beautiful tale of love and second chances.
4- Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
One I have already read but must recommend you read if you haven’t yet. The beautiful ideas of self renewal, travel, food, love, spirit all entwined in one enticing book with gorgeous prose and colorful scenes thrills and inspires me. Then watch the movie. It is spectacular as well.
5- The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan
I’ll have this one finished in the next day or two. It makes me stay up past my bedtime to read (which is really saying something as I am fast asleep by 10:01 every night!) just to capture a bit more of the Scottish hillside, hear the brogue, see the kilts, pet the lambs, and travel around with the protagonist who has left her ordinary librarian job to sell books in a large restored van at markets. I am smitten, and oddly desiring a pint of something.
Bonus- As for magazines I am wondering if some of my fellow farmgirls may have overlooked one. Oprah magazine is one that I will subscribe to every year. I have plenty of farming and homemaking magazines but this makes me. Filled with constant inspiration, encouragement, and great book ideas, I cannot stop pouring over the glossy pages of this beautiful ensemble of ideas and friendship.
What are you reading? Book recommendations? Happy reading!