The Chuffed Store Book Club: Winter | The Chuffed Store The Chuffed Store Book Club: Winter | The Chuffed Store

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Our book club is back- we asked our makers what they have been reading curled up in an armchair this winter.


Wintering is a poignant and comforting meditation on the fallow periods of life, times when we must retreat to care for and repair ourselves. Katherine May thoughtfully shows us how to come through these times with the wisdom of knowing that, like the seasons, our winters and summers are the ebb and flow of life.

Recommended by Polly Barsby, Verdekin

The Solace of Open Spaces by Gretel Ehrlich

Poet and filmmaker Gretel Ehrlich went to Wyoming in 1975 to make the first in a series of documentaries when her partner died. Ehrlich stayed on and found she couldn’t leave. The Solace of Open Spaces is a chronicle of her first years on “the planet of Wyoming,” a personal journey into a place, a feeling, and a way of life.

Ehrlich captures both the otherworldly beauty and cruelty of the natural forces—the harsh wind, bitter cold, and swiftly changing seasons—in the remote reaches of the American West. She brings depth, tenderness, and humor to her portraits of the peculiar souls who also call it home: hermits and ranchers, rodeo cowboys and schoolteachers, dreamers and realists. Together, these essays form an evocative and vibrant tribute to the life Ehrlich chose and the geography she loves.

In The Dream House By Carman Maria Machado

For years Carmen Maria Machado has struggled to articulate her experiences in an abusive same-sex relationship. In this extraordinarily candid and radically inventive memoir, Machado tackles a dark and difficult subject with wit, inventiveness and an inquiring spirit.

Bluets by Maggie Nelson

Suppose I were to begin by saying that I had fallen in love with a color…

A lyrical, philosophical, and often explicit exploration of personal suffering and the limitations of vision and love, as refracted through the colour blue.

Recommended by Robyn Smith

This Much Is True by Miriam Margolyes

Reliably outrageous and always entertaining, the irrepressible Miriam Margolyes holds forth about her extraordinary life in a riotous memoir jam-packed with jaw-dropping anecdotes.

Recommended by Carolyn Kinnaird

Rebecca By Daphne De Maurier 

The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.

There is something so transporting about reading an old classic when it is cold and frosty outside!

Millie Cowie, The Chuffed Store

Hidden Nature by Alys Fowler

Leaving her garden to the mercy of the slugs, award-winning writer Alys Fowler set out in an inflatable kayak to explore Birmingham’s canal network, full of little-used waterways where huge pike skulk and kingfishers dart.Her book is about noticing the wild everywhere and what it means to see beauty where you least expect it. What happens when someone who has learned to observe her external world in such detail decides to examine her internal world with the same care? Beautifully written, honest and very moving, Hidden Nature is also the story of Alys Fowler’s emotional journey: above all, this book is about losing and finding, exploring familiar places and discovering unknown horizons.

Recommended by Bianca Ward, Bric Company

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

If you haven’t already read this yet- its a must read. It is about to be turned into a movie staring Daisy Edgar-Jones.

For years, rumours of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens.

Recommended by Isabella Lyster, Paper Jungle

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet— Nadia and Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through.

Nothing But Blue Sky by Kathleen Macmahon

Dissecting the mechanics of a marriage with rich psychological insight, Nothing But Blue Sky finds a bereaved husband questioning the truth about the woman he thought he knew inside out.

The Cat And The City by Nick Bradley

In Tokyo – one of the world’s largest megacities – a stray cat is wending her way through the back alleys. And, with each detour, she brushes up against the seemingly disparate lives of the city-dwellers, connecting them in unexpected ways.

But the city is changing. As it does, it pushes her to the margins where she chances upon a series of apparent strangers – from a homeless man squatting in an abandoned hotel, to a shut-in hermit afraid to leave his house, to a convenience store worker searching for love. The cat orbits Tokyo’s denizens, drawing them ever closer.

Recommended by Eleanor Dale, The Naked Weaver 
Making a Living Without a Job By Barbara J. Winter
If you are ready to stretch your mind to the idea of making a living without a job, you’ll find plenty of encouragement and practical information here. Designing a lifestyle for yourself that nurtures and supports who you are and what you value won’t happen instantaneously, but this book will certainly make the process simpler and easier for you. Becoming joyfully jobless begins with a commitment to self-discovery, a curiosity about your potential, and a willingness to acquire the information and skills that will enhance your work. Your way will be unlike anyone else’s, although you will share a deep camaraderie with others on this path. Being your own boss is both heady and humbling, but it’s seldom boring.
Recommended by Katja Huth ( the non-fiction queen!)

Sorrow And Bliss by Meg Mason

This novel is about a woman called Martha. She knows there is something wrong with her but she doesn’t know what it is. Her husband Patrick thinks she is fine. He says everyone has something, the thing is just to keep going.

Martha told Patrick before they got married that she didn’t want to have children. He said he didn’t mind either way because he has loved her since he was fourteen and making her happy is all that matters, although he does not seem able to do it.

The book is set in London and Oxford. It is sad and funny.

Recommended by Louisa Wentworth- Stanley, Tamra

The Princess of Siberia by Christine Sutherland

Beautiful, cultivated, the daughter of a hero of the Napoleonic wars, Maria Volkonsky had been married only one year when in 1825 the tsar sentenced her husband to life imprisonment in Siberia. Despite her family’s and the tsar’s opposition, Maria was determined to join her husband in exile. She was more than halfway there when the tsar decreed that she could never return from Siberia.

Recommended by Alice Clark

A Winter Book by Tove Jansson

The perfect winter anthology, not only because lots of the stories are wintry (as the name suggests) but also because Jansson’s beautiful depiction of Finland and the sea provides some much-needed escapism!

Recommended by Ellioté Long, North Sea Stationery