Tis the deep midwinter here on the far side of the world – which is absolutely the best time to pull up a chair by the fire and indulge in some solstice reading.
And of course I want the kind of books that fit the season, all about secrets, mystery, adventure – and cookies, which absolutely brings me to the first read on the fireside table: Robin McKinley's Sunshine.
Sunshine, given the heroine, Sunny, is a baker, delivers cookies a-plenty, as well as vampires, demons, and mystery in an adventure where Sunny herself may be the biggest secret... A great read for when the evenings start closing in.
Another pick, on the basis of name alone, has to be Patricia McKillip's Solstice Wood, which explores the boundary between the real world and the faerie realm.
There's a quilting circle that is more than what it seems, living on the verge of an "other" world,
which delivers up sufficient changelings, undines, and witches to populate any respectable set of fireside shadows, plus forbidden love and misunderstood duty to keep things interesting.
For secrets, adventure, and the exploration of consequences, I definitely can't go past Kristin Cashore's Bitterblue. The cyphers and mysteries Bitterblue must unravel make great winternight reading, as does the heroine's first foray into the ups and downs of romantic love...
Of course, if you're on the balmy, midsummer side of the world, you'll still enjoy these reads – but what others would you put on your summer or winter reading table?