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By: John Adams, author of and dad of two young daughters
Posted on: Feb 28, 2020

4 Feel Good Books for Cold Winter Nights

TCH's guest blogger, John Adams (aka Dadbloguk), shares four winter-reads he just couldn't put down.

There are few things more enjoyable than a good book. During the UK’s winter months, my wife and I often end the day by reading. It’s also something we try to do with our children to encourage a love of reading.

Of course, the big challenge can be what to read! Here are a few suggestions of books that I couldn’t put down. Hopefully they will bring some joy to you as we eagerly await the arrival of summer.

One Day by David Nicholls

One Day follows the story of Emma and Dexter who meet on 15 July 1988, the day of their graduation from university. Each chapter visits their lives on that one date, 15 July, for the next 20 years and follows the ups and downs of their friendship.

While young, Emma struggles as a writer and teacher while Dexter has a glittering career as a television presenter. His life falls apart, however, because he develops a massive ego and starts behaving like a rock star, something that threatens their friendship. As Dexter’s career falters, Emma’s begins to take off and the friendship seems doomed, more so as they both have romantic relationships with other people. You feel they should get together as a couple, but something always gets in the way.

I won’t say too much more. Suffice it to say Dexter gets his life back together, but do they get it together as a couple? Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out, but be prepared because there is a vicious plot twist at the end!

Round Ireland With A Fridge by Tony Hawks

Round Ireland with a Fridge tells the hilarious real-life story of comedian Tony Hawks as he travelled around the entire circumference of Ireland, accompanied by a refrigerator. Yes, you read that correctly - wherever Hawks went, a refrigerator went with him! It’s not your typical travel book.

Why did he undertake this strange journey? Well, he went out partying with a friend one night and during the course of the evening the friend bet Hawks to hitchhike around Ireland with a refrigerator. He accepted the bet and along the way, he and the refrigerator had some ridiculous adventures. The pair went surfing, the refrigerator was blessed by a nun and they met the ‘poorest king on earth.’

As Hawks and the refrigerator undertook the month-long challenge, they became celebrities as radio shows and newspapers charted their journey. The book ends with a glorious finale in Dublin, Ireland’s capital city.

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I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

This is an autobiography of the early life of education activist Malala Yousafzai. At the age of 15, Malala was shot by the Taliban for standing up for girls’ rights to attend school. She survived and went on to become the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

You could be forgiven for thinking this doesn’t sound like a feel-good book, but Malala’s story is one of hope, love and triumph over adversity. There’s no bitterness towards her attackers and her message is clear: girls, boys, men and women should be treated equally and girls should have the same access to education as boys.

The book starts with the folktale after which Malala was named. It tells the story of her family in the Swat Valley in Pakistan and how peaceful it was before the Taliban took over. It covers her shooting and her treatment and recuperation in both Pakistan and England. Her family subsequently settled in England and Malala explains how different life is in Europe. She also talks about why she established the Malala Fund with her father to promote girls’ education across the world.

There are two versions of I am Malala. There’s a longer version called I am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up For Education and Was Shot by the Taliban and a shorter version aimed at children called I am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World. I read the shorter version with my eldest daughter who is 11. We both loved it and found it incredibly inspiring.

It has its tougher, darker moments, but Malala is a wonderfully strong character and this is a very uplifting read.

The Life Changing Magic of Numbers by Bobby Seagull

Bobby Seagull is a well-known mathematician and broadcaster in the United Kingdom. In this book, Seagull demonstrates how mathematics affects our everyday lives: from the music that features in the charts to how likely it is you will find a spouse,

I was unsure about putting a non-fiction book on this list, but Seagull is a very down to earth character. He explains maths in a way that is engaging. He also talks about his extended family and his life, so while you are learning about maths, you learn a lot about the author, too.

The book’s secret is that Seagull is a really upbeat guy. Maths is not my strong point, but even someone like me can read the book, understand it and feel so good about the subject that I want to learn more.

Other sources for good reads

If you want other reading suggestions, the After The Rain Comes Sunshine blog often features book reviews, as does the Mum of Three World blog.

Whatever you chose to read, I hope it keeps you entertained on these long, cold, winter evenings!