I’m an avid reader with rather an eclectic taste in books. This year I’ve read novels, biographies, beekeeping books and lots of architectural history books. Here’s a rundown of my favourite few – I’d be interested to hear what your favourites were this year – I generally find that my top books are usually recommended to me.
1. Wintering by Katherine May
I have to admit that I haven’t quite finished this one yet, but I really want to include it because it’s the perfect book to read at this time of the year. It focuses on how the season affects humans in different parts of the world and how we should see difficult times as personal winters. We are encouraged to slow down and simplify our lives during these darker times. This book is soothing like hot chocolate – I’ve been reading it just a few pages at a time and let the ideas swim around in my head for a while.
2. The House by the Lake by Thomas Harding
This book was highly recommended to me by a friend whose taste in books is similar to mine and it didn’t disappoint at all! In fact, it is probably my best book of the year. It is the biography of a summer house, built in the 1920s on the shore of a lake just outside Berlin. The book tracks the families who occupy the home right from when it was built, until the present day. Naturally, they are caught up in the Nazi regime, the second world war and its aftermath. I found the history absolutely fascinating and I learnt a great deal. Some of the stories are sad, some hair-raising and some hilarious – I really recommend it!
3. Beekeeping – Challenge What You Are Told by Roger Patterson
I attended a queen-rearing workshop run by Roger earlier this year. I came away full of practical bee knowledge, lots of ideas and new things to try. I know that Roger is sometimes seen as controversial in the bee world, but I loved his dry humour and generous sharing of knowledge. Following the workshop, I’ve read several of his books and they all are like having him talking to you. I’ve pulled this one out as a favourite because I think that it covers the most ground. In beekeeping there are so many myths and anecdotal “facts” – Roger demonstrates that many of these aren’t true and encourages the readers to not be afraid to test things out for themselves.
4. Grey Bees by Andrev Kurkov
This is a novel set in 2018 in the war zone between Russia and Ukraine. It is about a beekeeper and manages to be humorous and delightful in spite of the terrible circumstances. I’ve since gone on to read more of Kurkov’s novels, and I love them all. It was wonderful to discover a new favourite author this year.
5. Ten Poems about Bees introduced by Brigit Strawbridge Howard
This is only 20 pages long and was kindly gifted to me by a fellow beekeeper. It reminds me of how many people have been fascinated by bees for many thousands of years. The poems are a delight and it even comes with a matching bookmark. It’s perfect for dipping into while you have a cup of tea.
As I’ve been writing this, I’ve been thinking about all the other books that I’d like to include as well! It’s tricky to pick just 5, but I hope that you find a good range of things to inspire you here.
If you are interested to see what my 2021 favourite books were, the link is here
Transparency time – if you end up buying using the links in this post I will receive a tiny commission, at no extra cost to you.