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Five books to start winter right

Rebecca Worth, Paperchain Bookstore

Snuggle into the cooler weather with these diverse reads recommended by the booksellers themselves. 

THE TOYMAKERS

Robert Dinsdale

Entering the welcoming wings of a magical toy emporium in central London, a pregnant teenage runaway with no plans for the future finds a place of shelter among the aisles of enchanted Christmas toys. The creation of an enigmatic Prussian Toymaker, the emporium is a mysterious world that opens on the first midnight frost and closes when the first snowdrop flower blooms.

It is here, in the enchanted building, that Cathy tries to hide her pregnancy and inadvertently catches the eye of the two Toymaker’s sons, the charismatic Kaspar and the reserved Emil.

After her first winter in the Emporium Cathy begins to feel a sense of belonging; however, in the face of the store’s impending closure, she hides away in the depths of the building to give birth to her child and begins to create a new home.

REMODALISTA: THE ORGANISED HOME

Julie Carlson and Margot Guralnick

The word ‘home’ conjures up a variety of contradictory ideas: cosy, cluttered, open and light, minimal and restful. All of them resonate differently in each of us, however, they all involve a sense of belonging, safety and rest.

Remodalista is an inspiration guide that taps into the recent decluttering and downsizing trend which seeks to promote simpler living spaces. It encourages readers to take part in an eco- friendly approach to decluttering by engaging in a ‘Sharing Economy’ by borrowing items they would rarely use.

Although Remodalista is based around changing the physical space in your home, at the core
it is a means to improving one’s mental health by creating solutions for the inevitable cluttering that begins even as you unpack boxes in a new home. Not only does it inspire you to reduce your clutter, it is also darn pretty to flick through.

THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU

Jonathan Tropper

After the death of their father, the four adult Foxman children make their way back home to sit ‘Shiva’, the Jewish period of mourning with their mother.

Begrudgingly coming together for first time in many years, they must spend seven days together under the same roof in order to fulfil their father’s dying wish. Bringing with them their various marital debacles and old sibling feuds, painful wounds are reopened as people from their past re-emerge and the riotous family dynamic from their childhood returns.

Though the roots of this story are steeped in the misfortunes of life, the failures of relationships and sobering nature of death, there is a likeability and humour in the flaws of each character as they search their own lives for meaning and ponder their regrets.

SAGALAND

Richard Fidler and Kari Gislason

Iceland is a place of meadows and mountains, a vast windswept interior and plunging waterfalls. A place where Viking feuds played out, and whose true stories have been passed down through the years from generation to generation.

Part biography, part travel-writing, this collaboration between Fidler and Gislason is an exploration of the landscape of epic folklore, but for Kari it is also a search for home in the land of his father. The son of an Australian woman and an Icelandic father, Kari’s early life was spent in Iceland before his mother returned to Australia leaving behind the first home he’d ever known.

The book finds its rhythm through alternating chapters from each author: in Richard’s there is a playfulness to the phrasing and humorous observations, and in Kari’s there is a poetry of longing
as he seeks to uncover his father’s family history and find his own place amongst the Sagas of Iceland.

THE ODYSSEY

Homer

Odysseus, King of Ithaca, remains missing, 20 years after sacking the City of Troy. In his efforts to return he finds himself driven to the ends of the earth, facing temptations and trials from foes, both foul and fair, in a bid to return home to his family.

Back home his household is in disarray; his wife Penelope fights against the rising number of suitors that are seeking to marry her, while his son Telemachus tries in vain to stand up to them.

In Odysseus’ quest to return home Homer explores the themes of wandering, temptations and homecoming—the absence of home, the fight to return to what

is loved and the embrace of the familiar. Though it has stories of war and isolation, these narrative elements distil the essence of ‘home’—the place that you call your own, and in an emotional sense, the ones who you love.

Rebecca Worth, Paperchain Bookstore

Paperchain Bookstore Manuka has always been known for its customer service, attentive and knowledgeable staff and thoughtful selection of books. Their staff have expertise in areas as diverse as art and design, contemporary fiction, history, biography, philosophy, current affairs, travel, children's literature, cooking and gardening. They love discussing books, so if you have any questions, please feel free to ask! Paperchain is open seven days until late 9-8pm, and until 9pm on Fridays & Saturdays. More about the Author