What’s On Your Nightstand: Antonia Murphy

What's On Your Nightstand-From Left to Write

The currently view outside my office is snow covered sidewalks and cars so I’m looking forward to escaping the cold with Antonia Murphy’s memoir Dirty Chick:Adventures of an Unlikely Farmer. Why? Because she lives in New Zealand, where it’s currently summer (and probably gorgeous). Today Antonia shares her recent reads and the books sitting on her warm, summery nightstand.

Antonia Murphy

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel: Probably the best book I’ve read in months, it’s a powerful post-pandemic dystopia read. Kirsten, the protagonist, travels through the ruined wasteland of the former United States and Canada, performing Shakespeare to survivors. The tattoo on her forearm reads “Survival is Insufficient,” which just gives me chills—it’s so true.  (Editor’s note: Station Eleven was on my top ten books of 2014)
The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs: How did this brilliant young man, who managed to go from the poverty of Newark to a molecular biology degree at Yale, end up dealing dime bags in the ‘hood?  I kept thinking about how the scars of childhood shape our decisions as adults. It’s practically Shakespearean: is he drawn inexorably toward a destiny he can’t control, or did he make a series of foolish choices?
This is Where I leave You by Jonathan Tropper: I’m about halfway through this one. Why do I love stories of people being hideous to each other? Maybe because they’re so funny while they do it. This book has everything: testicles on fire, poop at the dinner table, vulgar boob jobs— it’s hilarious.


Dirty Chick by Antonia Murphy

Make sure you Antonia’s memoir Dirty Chick:Adventures of an Unlikely Farmer to your reading list. When San Francisco native Antonia Murphy and her husband uprooted themselves to raise a family on a farm in rural New Zealand, she dreamed of living as many of her neighbors’ forebears had done for centuries: raising livestock, growing their own food, and making cheese and wine. But through such misadventures as wrangling a rogue dairy cow, attempting to impregnate a goat, and carrying animal poop in her purse, she began to realize how unprepared she really was—but still, she soldiered on. With her sassy charm and hilarious outlook, there’s not a dull moment in Antonia’s story.

More about the author: Antonia Murphy is an award-winning magazine journalist, author and adventurer.  Her short stories, essays and travelogues have appeared in Sail magazine, Cruising World and Latitude 38. Since graduating from Columbia University with a degree in European History and Comparative Politics, Antonia has earned her living as a doll designer, union stagehand, Internet geek, and yacht chef.  She spent three years managing the Young Performers Theatre in San Francisco, where she taught playwriting and storytelling to children ages 3-14. She has also backpacked across Central America, chopped peppers for Thomas Keller, broken down sets for Aerosmith and run a youth hostel at the bottom of the world.

Raised in San Francisco, Antonia has lived and worked in various countries, from New York to Rome, Villefranche-Sur-Mer to Invercargill.  She now lives and writes in Whangarei, New Zealand, with her husband Peter and their children, Silas and Miranda. For more about Antonia and her life on the farm, visit her site.

Antonia is also on TwitterFacebook, and Tumblr.