I was compelled this week by Belletrist‘s call to show us your bookstack. The idea took my fancy as I wanted to visualise just how much I had read this year. I was pretty impressed to see just what my pile looked like. Not a comprehensive stack but one containing the vast majority of my reads this year and most certainly my most enjoyed.
This year I did things differently. I didn’t set my reading goal for the year high, in fact I purposely underestimated myself. Instead of pushing myself to read more I wanted to dial it back and read for pleasure, when I wanted on my own terms, and to instead broaden my horizons. To read widely. I have attended my local writer’s week and read a huge range of books from authors that attended. I have taken personal recommendations from book sellers and local authors. I have delved into the world of non-fiction and not looked back. I have read around the world. I have read authors from my own backyard extensively. I have reread favourites and curled up with guilty pleasures.
I am proud to display the books that have shaped my year. I am also proud that the ones not displayed, ones that were not really for me have been re-released into the world to be someone elses treasure. What does your stack look like? What do you like about it?
I had four wisdom teeth removed last week (yes, poor me, sympathy please!). The first thing I did when I found out I had to have them removed and would need a week off work was plan what books I was going to read. I mean I was going to be sitting at home all week I needed to be kept entertained. But also, I was going to be distracted by a bit of pain so I needed to be savvy about my selections. What did I select to keep the boredom at bay? Well cast your eyes below for my sick read suggestions.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone & Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling
Why? Because Harry Potter! Because Monday 26/06 is the twentieth anniversary of Harry Potter kicking off my five week long reread. Because what is better than a pair of the comfiest old shoes that you will never give away. That’s why.
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff & Vicious by V. E. Schwab
Why? Because fantasy is another familiar go to. There is nothing better than escaping to a completely new world and immersing yourself in it to escape every day drudgeries of, lets say sickness or pain. I have heard so many rave reviews of Nevernight I actually astruggled saving it until my sick week. Last year I fell in love with V. E. Schwabs’ A Darker Shade of Magic trilogy and thought I would try my hand at her other adult release, Vicious.
A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron
Why? Because puppies! Dogs are balls of fluffy love and I couldn’t think of anything more comforting than a book about dogs. The concept sounds pretty cool too, basically buddhist reincarnation for dogs as the book lives one dog’s many lives.
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Why? Because I am well overdue for a reread of this beautiful novel. Because it is gothic and moody and dark, everything that winter is. Because I long to be reunited with the character I fell in love with the first two times I read it. If you haven’t read this book – do it now! It has the most romantic, bookish notion I have ever come across.
What do you recommend for sick reading? Any particular genres? Authors? Old favourites? Let me know, I would love to hear your suggestions.
Harry Potter. What self-respecting bibliophile hasn’t read possibly the most prolific series of all time? Hyperbolic? Maybe, it’s just my opinion. I grew up with Harry, Ron and Hermione and can still remember eagerly anticipating the next instalment, rushing out early in the morning the day it was released, sitting in my bean bag with a pile of snacks and not moving until I had finished the entire thing. I remember being devastated when the final instalment of The Deathly Hallows was released at the cinema because that was the last time I would have the excitement of waiting to return to Hogwarts. If I could go back and read a book for the first time again, it would most definitely be the Harry Potter series. I read them so long ago I can hardly remember life with out this magical world.
Today is the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone. How else is there to celebrate than with a reread of the entire series? It has been too long since I returned to Hogwarts and am so excited to put myself back in this world starting on this important days when 20 years ago it all started. Join me as I relive this series over the next month, finishing up on Harry’s birthday of course! Five weeks, seven books, a world of happiness.
Officially winter means one thing: red wine season is definitely here. Let’s celebrate with a bottle of said red. Still clearly obsessed with new current favourite Artwine lets check out the other bottle I bought on my recent visit to their Adelaide Hills cellar door. The Saint Vincent Pinot Noir is grown in the Adelaide Hills and has a palate of cherries, spices and earthy tones. Pinot Noir is not huge here in SA but is one of my favourite varietals. Condemn me if you must but despite being a South Australian local I’m not a huge fan of super heavy reds that you tend to find in the Barossa. I often prefer Pinot Noir’s and Cabernet Sauvignon’s as my go too. I was delighted to discover a local Pinot Noir that was delicious and well-priced and could not resist walking away without a bottle.
To book I will be pairing this special wine with is one that I adored and found to appeal to my soul. Where The Trees Were by Inga Simpson is a beautiful story set here in Australia, telling the story of Jay and her friends growing up in the country and discovering an important secret, sacred tree carvings of the Aboriginal people, or arborglyphs. Further down the track we see Jay as an adult, working as an art curator and still trying to protect these sacred trees. Why pair these two? Well, a major focus of this novel is the amazing artwork that is these sacred and culturally significant trees. It is important to Jay that there significant items are treated with respect and returned to their true custodians. Plus, adult Jay is a woman after my own heart, she loves good food and good wine and much of her conversations with her partner in this book occur in her kitchen, glass of wine in hand and food being prepared. This is a truly magical book that tells an important aspect of our Australian history, one we should all understand. It deserves to be savoured, much like this drop of wine. Bring the two together when you have the time to sit and appreciate both to their full extent. A greater pairing you will not find.
Wine & Words Wednesday is back and we are ever close to my favourite season of the year: red wine season. Let celebrate with a bottle of the good stuff. Today’s bottle comes from a new favourite cellar door. Artwine‘s beautiful cellar door is located in the Adelaide Hills, with wine grown there and in the Clare Valley. Their cellar door was filled with friendly staff who were all too happy to oblige in any way they could. I had a great tasting (all the wines I tasted were delicious) and even ended up buying a glass to drink there so I could sit and read in the sun. What did I sit and drink there? Well the focus of today’s pairing, The Temptress 2016 Rose, grown in the Clare Valley. This Rose is made from Tempranillo with aromas of strawberries and florals and yet some savoury spice, stopping it from tasting too sweet. This Rose is delectable and I couldn’t help myself walking away wth a bottle and a glass for there. What might I pair this delicious and pretty wine with?
Well, with a name like Artwine you cannot go past a book that combines these two great things: art and wine. Okay, so maybe wine isn’t a heavy focus in this book but the characters definitely drink some wine in this novel. The Muse by Jessie Burton is a great read that follows two storylines, both heavily influenced by art. Odelle is a typist working at a fancy gallery when a mysterious piece of artwork is discovered. Olive is the young daughter of a famous art dealer who believes that women can’t be artists. This is an addictive and captivating novel that I highly recommend. Is there a temptress in this book too? Why, yes there is. Another fitting example of why this book and wine should be paired together. Who that temptress is, and if there is one or more, well you will have to read to find out.
Had a bust week at work? Need to unwind after a long day? Chill a bottle of The Temptress and transport yourself to London in the 60’s and Spain in the 30’s and lose yourself in this fascinating book, while pleasing your palate at the same time. Have the opportunity to visit the cellar door? Well, don’t delay, bring the Muse along and settle in with a glass and one of their amazing looking platters and take in the beautiful views of the Adelaide Hills.
Just look at that beautifully balanced date (I’m a bit weird like that, I love dates that are balanced in some way of another). Let us celebrate with a bottle of wine and a great book. Just because. Today’s wine is brought to you by a favourite South Australian winery, Bird in Hand. Looking for a well-priced but absolutely delicious sparkling wine? You cannot go past their Sparkling Pinot Noir. Seriously, go try it. But this is not the focus of today. Today I am presenting you with their 2014 Two in the Bush Merlot Cabernet. A delicious and way too easy to drink red, this is what you might call their budget line of wines and yet it is still very drinkable. If you ever make your way to Adelaide, do head up into the hills and taste their many delicious wines, you really cannot go wrong.
What novel comes to mind when I think of birds and bushes or trees? Well the absolute classic To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. There are birds and trees filled with treasure and to be honest some of my favourite characters in all the literature. If you have not read this classic, I implore you to pick it up, Most deserving of the hype is this novel and if you have rad this but back in the old school days, pick it up again. My water damaged copy was purchased in Paris. I had been backpacking for almost two months and missed home and my own space. I picked up this familiar story to entertain myself for the rest of my trip and I was not disappointed. In fact I probably read this book every twelve months. If you don’t know what this book is about, who even are you? But if you haven’t, this book teaches you a very important life lesson, that is that…
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
Ahhh, the wise words of Atticus Finch. Autumn is a beautiful time in the Adelaide Hills. The trees are turning orange and depositing the golden leaves on the ground. The mood is contemplative and melancholic. Grab your own copy of this novel (you won’t regret it) and take a drive up to Bird in Hand, grab a bottle of Two in the Bush and a blanket (provided by the winery too) and sip a little while immersing yourself in Maycomb County with Atticus, Jem and Scout. A better afternoon could not be found.
Wine & Words Wednesday has arrived and not a moment too soon! This week is has an important accompaniment: cheese. All the cheese and for good reason, I promise (I mean, is cheese ever a bad idea? I think not). This Wednesday’s wine of the week comes from McLaren Vale favourite Coriole Vineyards. Coriole is located south of Adelaide and has the most gorgeous cellar door. A quaint little cottage filled with delicious wine and local produce. Well worth a visit if you are ever in the area. The wine I have selected is their 2013 Dancing Fig. Named after the figs that grow on their estate and dance in the wind while growing on the trees. This wine is blend of morvedre, grenache and shiraz that I could not walk away from after tasting. Earthy and smooth tasting Im excited to delve into this one. What am I paring it with this week you ask?
Well, thinking about figs, delicious cheese and all things food related I can’t help but jump to my favourite novel that is about all things food related. Julie & Julia is the hilarious recount of Julie Powell’s adventure that was cooking her way through every single recipe in Julia Child’s cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I listened to this as an audiobook on a trip home and found myself laughing the whole way home. This novel is well-written and entertaining and you can help but root for Julie the whole way. Anyone who enjoys cooking with love this book, understanding Julies struggles along the way from overcoming her dislike of eggs to facing live lobsters.
Settle in with a delicious cheese platter, with figs of course, this delightful novel and a bottle of The Dancing Fig and entertain not just your mind but your tastebuds. Cheese, good wine and someone else’s cooking struggles? You cannot go wrong.