What we’re reading this week

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Whether you fancy the escapism of a well-written novel; seeking comfort in the kitchen; or up for laughing and crying at first-hand accounts of life journeys that will enrich your soul as well as entertain, we’ve got you covered. Here are our top five reads for week four of lockdown.

Below Deck by Sophie Hardcastle

A brutally beautiful book, Below Deck tells the story of a young woman, Olivia, as she finds her place in the world and grapples with life after being raped. It is a tender and honest account of the emotional and physical aftermath, and told in a uniquely beautiful way that makes this book a must-read and poignant literature in the #MeToo age.

The unique way author Sophie Hardcastle brings to life Olivia’s thoughts, feelings and emotions is exquisite. Written in the first person, Olivia sees the world, sounds and people in colour. Hardcastle plants the reader firmly in Olivia’s world. Prepare to feel enthralled, uncomfortable, confronted and hopeful.

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Josephine’s Garden by Stephanie Parkyn

This book comes with the bold caveat from publisher Allen & Unwin “Read it, love it. Or your money back”. A passion-fuelled and page-turning imagined historical novel, it begins in 1794 and tells the story of Rose de Beauharnais who later becomes Empress Josephine of France.

New Zealand author Stephanie Parkyn convincingly plunges you into post French Revolution France and the world of Rose, and her marriage to Napoleon.

Parkyn’s weaves history with imagination in such a way that brings the complexities and obsessions of Napoleon and Josephine’s relationship to life.

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

The Inside Hustle by Joanna Walden

A mystical misfit’s travel adventure into the unknown, Joanna Walden’s debut novel, The Inside Hustle, went straight to number one on Amazon the day after it was launched.

Inspired by a series of mystical experiences in her teenage years including premonition visions, seeing auras and meeting a spiritual master who told her of a future role in consciousness; Walden left behind a successful career in advertising and embarked on a global quest to find her purpose and ultimately her true self, through a process of self-realisation.

Her entertainingly candid first-hand account of her travels and quest will have you clutching your sides on many occasions, as well as offering sage insights. It’s sex, drugs and spirituality, and the comedy of errors of her search for ultimate truth and purpose.

Publisher: JLW Publishing

When Life is Not Peachy by Pip Lincolne

If a book could hug, this would be it. Pip Lincolne shares her real-life lessons in recovery from heartache, loss and tough times. Her beautiful book offers practical tips and information, as well as authentic sharing and comforting squeezes. It covers the benefits of making a shit list; provides strategies for processing what has happened; how to cope in the raw early days; pet therapy; and 20 quick things to do when you are feeling slumpy!

When Life is Not Peachy is like a good friend who is there for you, as well as a wonderful resource. A warm hug in book form.

Publisher: Murdoch Books

A Natural Year by Wendyl Nissen

Author and journalist Wendyl Nissen’s account of living simply through the seasons will have you yearning for a house in the country and cooking up a storm in the kitchen. It will also have you laughing out loud at her honest antidotes.

Somehow Nissen manages to weave menopause, anxiety, depression, tips for keeping chickens and 100+ delicious recipes into a beautiful book that is not only a practical resource with tips for getting back to basics, but also a heartfelt read that will leave you feeling entertained with warm fuzzy feelings.

The joy of A Natural Year is that you can flick to any part of the book or read from beginning to end. It’s up to you.

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

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