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Grace's Holiday Reads

December 19, 2021

Grace's Holiday Reads

 

Are you looking for a new read to get lost in this summer or some last minute gift ideas for the holiday season? Well, look no further! I’ve put together a list of books that I have been enjoying lately and also some that I am really hoping to get to over the next few weeks.

 

Don’t forget to try supporting your local bookshops this gift-giving season, especially if you are organising something last minute and don’t want to be caught out by shipping delays. Some of my favourites in the Wellington area are Good Books (on Jessie St in Te Aro), Schrödinger's Books (on Jackson Street in Petone) and the used bookstore Book Haven (on Riddiford Street in Newtown). They have great selections on offer and wonderful, helpful staff. 

 

If you are going away this holiday season and find yourself without a book, or just aren’t getting into the options you packed, remember to check out the Libby app for free reads from your library. All you need to have access to thousands of free books is a smartphone or tablet, a library card, and wifi so that you can browse the titles. Once you have borrowed and downloaded your book you can access it offline which is perfect if you are headed somewhere without reliable reception or you just don’t want to spend a fortune on data. I love to browse Libby’s ‘Available Now’ section so that I know I can dive straight into a book as soon as I find it. If you have a little more patience than me though, then you can place holds on up to 20 books and you’ll receive a notification when they become available to borrow. You can also loan up to 20 ebooks and audiobooks at one time if you really want to (but please try to leave some for the rest of us!) so even if you are incredibly indecisive, you’ll pretty much never be without something to read on holiday again. 

 

This journal post is not sponsored or affiliated with Libby at all, I just think more people need to know about them! While nothing quite beats the smell of a good book in my opinion, ebooks certainly do free up more room in my bag for souvenirs/snacks.

 

 

My Recent Reads:

 

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

 

This enemies-to-lovers workplace romance is one of my absolute favourites and I have lost track of how many times I have reread it. 

The Hating Game follows Lucy and Josh as they vie for the same promotion at a publishing house. Lucy has a deep-seated passion for publishing, whereas Josh has a reputation for being a cold-hearted businessman. The only thing they seem to be able to agree on is that they hate each other and Lucy revels in playing ‘the hating game’ with Josh every day at work. That is of course until she realises that she spends an awful lot of time outside of work thinking about him and the boundary between hate and love might be a little blurred.  

This book has just been turned into a movie starring Lucy Hale and Austin Stowell which is set to be released in NZ at the start of next month. If you are looking for a great gift idea, why not try giving someone a copy of this book and making a date to watch the movie together once you have both finished reading it. (This could work with any book-to-movie adaptation and you can also throw in some reading/movie snacks to sweeten the deal.) 

 

The Power by Naomi Alderman

 

The Power follows a cast of characters across 10 years in a world much like ours but with one key difference. Almost overnight, women around the world discover they have the ability to cause agonising pain and even death with a single touch. What unfolds is a gender power struggle on a global scale involving riots, revolutions, and the development of new religions and regimes. I don’t want to give too much away because this book is all about the journey, but I was hooked from the first few chapters and felt the characters experienced some shocking situations that were also entirely feasible. 

Fair warning that this book does get quite dark and contains several scenes of violence, sexual assault, and drug use, among other things. While this is an amazing story and worth the read, if you think it might not be the best time for you to read this book I would recommend checking out a site such as doesthedogdie.com for more specific trigger warnings. 

 

This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

This science-fiction Romeo and Juliet retelling focuses on two entities who are agents on opposite sides of a war through time and space. They strike up a conversation in ridiculously clever ways and what starts as taunting and gloating, steadily grows into mutual respect and affection. The story is told through a combination of traditional narration and copies of the correspondences exchanged between Red and Blue. It is basically a love letter to love letters and made me want to put pen to paper and tell everyone I love how much they mean to me. 

If you have the luxury of time then I would recommend consuming this novella in one sitting. It’s still enjoyable if read a few letters at a time, however, I think I would have missed some of the connections and references throughout the letters if I had taken too long to finish it.

 
The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell
 
Shaun Bythell’s Diary of a Bookseller is an enjoyable read for anyone who has ever worked in customer service, loves reading, or has a dry sense of humour.

Encompassing one year’s worth of Shaun’s diary entries as the owner of Scotland’s largest secondhand bookshop, this book is packed with the confusing behaviours of customers and employees alike, buying trips to auction houses and estate sales, informative commentary on the bookselling community, and also good book recommendations. If you love books, you’ll love this book.

This book is a great gift for anyone who likes to dip in and out of a book over a long period of time. You can read it chronologically or just open it to a random page for a little chuckle.

 

 

Big Summer by Jenifer Weiner

Daphne is a plus-size social media influencer who has built a life that she loves and a career that is starting to take off. Things take a turn though as Drue Cavanaugh worms her way back into her life, 6 years after the fight that ended their friendship, and begs Daphne to be her maid of honour. 

Big Summer contains some great commentary about the complexities of female friendships, diet culture, and how some people make a performance out of life. There is also a little bit of romance and maybe a mystery or two…

I particularly enjoyed Jenifer Weiner’s representation of body positivity in this book and how it is not depicted as a switch you flip to feel comfortable in your own skin, but as something that ebbs and flows and takes work to maintain. 

You should definitely pick up this book if you are looking for a lighthearted read to take with you to the beach or something to enjoy on audio while lounging the sun in your own backyard.

 

 

  

I'm currently reading:

 

I am not normally a big non-fiction reader but I am currently making my way through two memoirs by some very talented women:

Things I Learned At Art School by Megan Dunn is a collection of thoughts and experiences from a New Zealand artist’s early life in in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. So far my favourite chapters are ‘Sorry. Mother!’ and ‘The Ballad of Western Barbie’, but I am very much looking forward to ‘Various Uses for Low Self Esteem’ and ‘What I Got for my Twenty First Birthday (The Gift of Hindsight)’.

 

 
Hooked: How Crafting Saved My Life by Sutton Foster is part memoir and part crafting manual. So far it is also a testament to how crafting can be a therapeutic coping method for navigating some of lifes many challenges. Sutton Foster has spent a lot of time working in show biz so has many tales to tell, as well as recipes to share, and wisdoms gleaned from failed and successful crafting projects alike.
 

    

On my radar:

The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik

I devoured the first book in The Scholomance trillogy earlier this year, A Deadly Education, and can’t wait to dive back into this rich world and intriguing magic system. We join El in her penultimate year at a magical boarding school where the students are trapped inside with no teachers, no allies, and no escape until they graduate or die. This dark academia world was as funny as it was gruesome so I’m really hoping someone picks up this sequel for me for Christmas ( a not so subtle hint ;) )

These Violent Delights and Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong

This historical fantasy duology is a Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai as a mysterious plague spreads rapidly through the city. Roma and Juliette seem to be the only ones willing to solve the mystery of the Madness causing people to claw out their own throats all across their city. Navigating the blood feud between their family’s gangs and a monster lurking in the depths of the Huangpu River will make the task increasingly challenging though as they work together in secret.

Just a heads up for anyone that is squeamish, there are some very detailed descriptions of bugs and insects in here so be warned!

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig


I bought this for myself as a Christmas present last year so it is probaly time that I got around to reading it. The Midnitght Library is a place where you can explore the paths not taken in your life and see what could have been if you had made different choices.  

Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune


My past experiences with TJ Klune’s writing have been beautiful, wholesome, and uplifting so I am very much looking forward to reading his latest book about Wallace, someone who may be dead, but isn't quite ready to abandon the life he barely lived. If you havent yet checked out The House in the Cerulean Sea yet then I HIGHLY recommend you do so this summer!

 

Thanks for sticking through to the end. I hope you found some inspiration in my above recommendations but if not then there are plenty more books out there in the world waiting for you to discover them. Try asking for a recommendation from your local librarian or bookseller, or even a friend or family member when you see them next.

Also, if you have any recommendations for books you think I should check out feel free to pop in to the store during the week and let me know. 

Hope to see you soon and happy reading!

xx Grace

Enjoyed reading this journal entry? Check out the rest of our Journal here


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SIZE GUIDE
WILSON TROLLOPE SIZE CHART
Body measurements of Wilson Trollope sizes*
   Size    Bust (cm) Waist (cm) Hips (cm)
6 78 65 92
8 83 70 97
10 88 75 102
12 93 80 107
14 98 85 112
16 103 90 117
*To take your measurements, please see our instructions below
INTERNATIONAL SIZE CHART
Comparison of Wilson Trollope sizes with international sizes
Wilson Trollope     6          8         10       12      14  
Australia/UK 6 8 10 12 14
USA 2 4 6 8 10
EU 32 34 36 38 40
Japan 9 11 13 
HOW TO MEASURE YOUR BODY

There are three body measurement points that you need to know to ensure a great fit – bust, waist, and hips.

When taking your body measurements, wear the undergarments you normally wear for the most accurate results. Use a flexible tape measure, or a piece of string and ruler, and hold it around each body point so it is comfortably snug.  If the tape is cutting into your flesh, it is too tight.

To ensure an accurate measurement around your body, keep the measuring tape as level as possible from front to back. We recommend measuring yourself in front of a mirror so you can check this from a side view. If you can, get a friend to help you to ensure the most accurate measurements.


Bust: Wrap the measuring tape around your back and where the tape meets across the fullest point of your bust is your bust measurement.  

Waist: Wrap the measuring tape around your natural waist, the slimmest part of your torso, pulling the ends to the front. Where they meet is your waist measurement.

Hips: Wrap the measuring tape around the widest part of your bottom – this is usually low down towards your thighs. As with your bust and waist measurements, where the tape meets is your hip measurement.

Length: To measure the length of individual garments against your body it is best to measure down the centre of your back. To do this, start the measuring tape at either the base of your neck for dresses and tops, or at your waist for skirts. Measure down your body to the measurement listed in the garment description. This will show you where the garment comes to on you. When you are measuring for length, remember to make sure you are standing completely upright – it is best to have someone help you with this. Alternatively, compare the measurement with the length of a garment you already have.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Annabelle – annabelle@wilsontrollope.com, she is here to help.