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By Chief Bargain Hunter (and book fiend) Chelsea Thomas

Yes. I love fashion. But I am also a big consumer of books. Beautiful stories. Then I want to scream how good (the good ones are) from the roof tops. I text old friends about the best titles and then I eat through the next one. And the next one. I could talk about book characters and once joined a very old fashioned book group (I was the only person under 60) and they took books and their group very seriously. Some members of the group wrote notes. For two hours we talked about one book and if you didn’t finish, you didn’t rock up. That would’ve been offensive to the others that had spent time chewing through these ginormous novels.

Unless you’re buying an exceptionally heavy and overpriced coffee table book, they’re all under $50 and the best gift you can give anyone, who loves to read.

This year I have been part of a beautiful book group (of the younger variety), who very rarely read the books and instead, drink a few wines and discuss the fact our kids aren’t sleeping and work opportunities. We then have some cheese or check out a new restaurant and then discuss the books or new movies out. It’s a sharing time. I have kept to my own personal promise this year by continuing to read no matter how much I’m on the Insta or Facey. Once, I bought a bag of new books to the dinner to encourage the conversation and try and entice chat about books.

My top reads for this year are below. I take this quite seriously and I wouldn’t say I’m as ‘well read’ as others but I do enjoy a solid, decent book with a bit of everything. And then sometimes, just a simple story of two girlfriends will do me. I’m also a total freak for all the Girl on the Train style books too.

ps. I don’t re-read when there are SO many incredible books out there.

pps. I like to hold a book and pop it in my book shelf so I can share that with friends. I don’t do ‘online books’ or kindles. Sorry.

pps. there’s nothing better than the real thing. the weight of a book in your lap and a cuppa. Oh. Nothing better.

ppps. Don’t read the Girl with All the Gifts. It’s god-awful. but I just had to finish it.

Phew. Here goes.

THRIVE By Arianna Huffington

Want to be pushed? You need to read this by yourself, away from interruptions. It is pure brilliance. By Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor in Chief of Huffington Post. It’s a very person book that I typically wouldn’t have lapped up but I was astounded at her strength and her work in a very male dominated space. She also believes in Sleep, like noone else and I think ALL women need a reminder of how important sleep is. It makes us tick. And is so important to our every day success.



Read if: You like motivating books, with beautiful messages all the way through. And a bloody brilliant true story.


This book crept up on me. I literally could not put it down and I was sad when it was finished. About a girl who finds herself in a new job looking after a quadriplegic who’s forgotten how to laugh….and love. Heartbreakingly good.


Read If: You like a good cry and a love story. See the movie if you’re lazy. But trust me the book is 10 times as good. As usual.

GONE GIRL By Gillian Flynn

It’s an oldie now. But it’s very good. About a husband who’s wife goes missing. An exceptionally clever book that takes you on loads of twists and turns to find out the truth. You don’t know the end until…well….the end.


Read If: You love a good page turner and not knowing the end until the last page. It’s a thriller of the best kind.

THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY By Caroline Overington

Arguably a pretty easy book to read if you’re going to be interrupted numerous times by kids in the pool, kids needing food, kids wanting nothing…just trying to annoy you. It’s about the seemingly perfect couple that, of course, aren’t that perfect. And the husband’s a right a**hole. Super simple to get through and perfect as a beach read where you don’t have to think. Like an ep of the Kardashians.


Read If: You want something super steamy and easy.


Thriller. Based in a small outback Australian town. A police investigator is the main storyteller and if you like a crime-type-mystery book this one will keep you guessing. It’s not at all heavy and if you like guessing what’s happening, this is your holiday read.


Read If: Your like a good crime based in the outback. G’day mate.

GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Why? Probably because Sophia’s rise to fame started rough. She’s a tough corporate now with so many retail notches to her fancy belt. She’s a straight shooter who started all those years ago. It’s good if you’re wanting to find some motivation for an idea you have but it’s far from heavy. She swears and makes you laugh. Pretty inspirational and a very hard worker. I love it.


Read If: You like a novel that kicks you up the ass. And teaches you something at the same time.

BURIAL RITES by Hannah Kent

My top pick of 2016. How would you feel about reading a book based on the last woman who was hanged in Iceland? It’s graphic, heart wrenching and about a woman trapped in a time when women worked like pack horses, braved the harshness of the land to survive. Hannah Kent is my fave author of the year. And she is Australian so go and purchase her books! I asked my fave book shop owner recently if there was anything I could read similar to Hannah Kent’s style and he said ‘no, she’s in a league of her own’.


Read If: Just read it, man. It’s awesome.


Same author as Burial Rites (above) but a bit different. The theme of a woman suffering hard ship and greif remains but this book is set in the 1820s, in a remote valley that seems haunted. It wouldn’t be my first pick of the bunch but I liked the journey of Nora Leahy and the fact that is based on truths around people believing of unwanted spirits and misfortunes.


Read If: You think Hannah Kent is incredible. Want to be taken into another world.

SkyLarking by Kate Mildenhall

This was my fave short read of 2016. Two Australian girls grow up the best of friends. Glued at the hip. Then. Suddenly. A single mistake changes them forever. Also an Australian author.


Read If: You need a fast, amazing weekend read over Christmas / NY. This was so spectacular.

Nocturnal Animals by Austin Wright

I have just started reading this and the movie has had incredible reviews. It’s another crime-thriller. Many years after their divorce, Susan Morrow receives a strange gift from her ex-husband. It’s a manuscript that tells the story of a terrible crime. The rest will follow. It’s already brilliant and I’ve been finding it hard to put down.


Read If: You like a fast paced novel with twists and turns.

Try turning insta off for a while and read some real words, on a real page.

Happy Holidays! X

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