Uplifting Reads!

With winter clicking at our heels, the idea of bed, book, chocolate....repeat.....seems to be the calling. These fabulous word-loving femmes are not only donning their Good Day Girl styles but have suggested a slew of uplifting books for us all to lose ourselves in. Let's go!

Nicole Abadee, Books Writer + Festival Moderator @nicoleabadee
"In her exquisitely written new book, Phosphorescence, journalist and writer Julia Baird reveals the things that bring her joy when times are tough. This is the book we all need right now."
Discover Nicole's podcast Books, Books, Books, here.

Charlotte Wood, Prizewinning Author @charlottewoodwriter
For me, it’s got to be Jerry Saltz’s, How to be an Artist. He’s the Pulitzer-prize-winning art critic for New York magazine, and the book is a list of 63 ‘rules’ for artists on getting to work, trusting your own weird instincts, letting go of envy, looking ‘hard and openly’, generosity towards other artists, having courage, embracing the exhilarating freedom that a frugal life in art will bring you, and more. He says ‘Art is not about understanding or mastery – it’s about doing and experience’ (Rule no. 5). The book is a super-powered injection of optimism and energy and anyone who makes anything should read it.
Discover Charlotte's books + podcast here

Diana Jenkins, Journalist, editor and aspiring fiction writer. @DianaMJenkins

Favourite book to lift the spirits: I just finished A Theatre for Dreamers by Polly Samson, which is about the incredible Greek island of Hydra and the most extraordinary group of writers, artists and musicians who gathered there in the 60s, including Australian authors Charmian Clift and George Johnston and none other than Leonard Cohen. Revisiting Greece and Hydra in my mind while learning about these writers was just pure joy. 

I also recently really enjoyed Olive Kitteridge and Olive, Again - both by Elizabeth Strout - and joint Booker winner Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo, which lifted the spirits by the sheer force of its brilliance. And of course Charlotte Wood’s latest novel The Weekend - shortlisted for the Stella Prize - was my first read of 2020. 

Julie Gibbs, Publisher + Creator @julie_gibbs

These are challenging times for us all and it’s a game of staying on top of the anxiety at times.  One way I have been getting through is by reading – my number one favourite past time. In busy times, this is the passion that is set aside all too often. So I am making up for it! This is my current reading pile and I’m sure there will be something here fellow GDGs will enjoy.

Redhead by the Side of the Road, Anne Tyler
Tyler is one of my all-time favourite authors – her novel An Amateur Marriage is a masterpiece. This story is quietly told and the main character Micah Mortimer will take hold of your heart and gently wring it.

Three Hours, Rosamund Lupton
A warning: be careful when you start reading this, because you will not be able to stop until you reach the end! A heart stopping thriller about a school siege. I didn’t want to read about such things right now but a friend urged me to start and I’m so glad she did. This is a really well written book of deep suspense and fine characterisation.

Greenwood, Michael Christie
A wonderful novel about trees and four generations of a family who work, destroy, and in turn honour a forest in Canada. A rewarding reading experience.

Mum & Dad, Joanna Trollope
Trollope writes about families and relationships like no other and I read every one of her books as soon as they are released. This one is a gem and tells of one family’s tangled mess after the patriarch has a stroke.

Many of us have more time for podcasts too. In ‘Sugar Calling’ writer Cheryl Strayed (Wild) calls her favourite authors for an existential chat about life during COVID19. She speaks with the likes of George Saunders, Amy Tan, Pico Iyer and Margaret Atwood and together they seek to give meaning to this seismic event. 

Jo Veitch, Finance Guru, Avid Reader  @jovreadswithwine

I am a bit more of a literary reader so Crime is sometimes my comfort read but you can hardly call that uplifting, anyway I have put some thoughts and categories together:

Classic reads:
Anything by Jane Austen is worth rereading but to be uplifting I would particularly pick the classic romances of Pride & Prejudice and Persuasion

Not a classic but from a while ago Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel , such a beautiful book a real sensory overload full of magical realism

Quirky Characters that are uplifting:
These are both stories of people on the Spectrum who find their way in life both beautiful reads. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time – Mark Haddon
The Rosie Project – Graeme Simson

Eleanor Olyphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeymoon
I loved this book read it twice last year, it is a story of trauma but ultimately it is a story of the value of connection and of people being kind to each other

Recent Reads that I found uplifting:
Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens
The Flat Share – Beth O’Leary

I don’t really read a lot of Romance but a couple that I read lately and enjoyed, and lets face it a good Romance is always uplifting:

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore - I liked this one because although it followed the classic Romance path it was set around Women’s Suffragette movement and the risks those women took to fight for their rights. And of course a Dashing Duke

Red White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston - The Son of the first Female President of the United States and the Prince of Wales fall in love (think Prince Harry) was beautifully written and certainly an original story

Anna Low, Potts Point Bookshop @pottspointbookshop
Sydney Writer's Festival was cancelled this year- boooooo!!!! However, they have started releasing their sessions as podcasts - YAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!!!!
Check it out here.

And for some reading pleasure.....Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson is so much fun. It has a highly improbable premise, which Wilson pulls off with aplomb, it's a funny and big hearted novel.

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett was a firm favourite at the Potts Point Bookshop. This book is captivating from the very first page about families and the ties that bind us. You can also listen to the podcast about Kevin and Ann's friendship on the Sydney Writers Festival site

And to finish on a sartorial note.....Clothes and Other Things that Matter by Alexandra Shulman, the former editor of British Vogue.


A super big thank you to all of our Good Day Girls for their fabulous reading suggestions - we love you big time!!!




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