Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Christmas books!

When my family, bless them, asked what I wanted for Christmas this year, instead of giving them an eclectic list with all kinds of bits on it, I just said, 'Books'. I had a huge clear out of books last year, sent loads to the charity shop, (they wrote and said they'd made nearly £200 from our donations!) plus brought a huge bookcase, that was holding needlework supplies, back into use as an actual holder of books. Thus I was feeling pretty chuffed with myself and decided that it would not actually be a sin to have an all books kind of a Christmas this year. So I handed over book lists for them to choose from, or said which I wanted, and lo and behold my bookish Christmas became a reality. It was glorious! So here're the books I was lucky enough to get this year.

I'm a huge Nigel Slater fan. I like many TV cooks and various shows like The Great British Bake Off and all the Masterchef shows, but Nigel Slater is definitely my favourite of all of them. I've been glued to his latest series which aired in the late autumn, right up to Christmas, and have been covetting his new book, Kitchen Diaries II... on the left of this pic. But I don't own the first book, and so my lovely eldest daughter also bought that for me. Was I delighted? Oh, yes.

I've been hearing a lot about the fantasy book, Tigana, by Guy Gavriel Kay recently and thought it sounded like my kind of thing so my youngest daughter got that for me. My husband bought me the top two books in this pic, The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh, edited by Charlotte Mosley (she did the Deborah Devonshire, Patrick Leigh Fermor book of letters I read in February), and Jack: A Life Like No Other by Geoffrey Perret. I seem to have developed a taste for these kinds of books recently, no idea why.

Two beautiful hardbacks. Terry Pratchett's new book, an anthology of short stories, A Blink of the Screen, from my youngest daughter, and Meander: East to West Along a Turkish River by Jeremy Seal... a travel book of course, again from my husband.

Two books from lovely friends. American Grown by Michele Obama, had no idea this existed and was thrilled to get it from a friend in America. And a totally gorgeous book about Scotland from a lovely friend who lives there, as she knows we're planning a holiday in Scotland later in the year. The other book is a book I won in a draw held by Elaine at Random Jottings, Once Upon a Christmas by Sarah Morgan.

Lastly, I thought I'd also include several books I bought during the month of December. In the top lefthand corner, High Rising by Angela Thirkell, a series recommended by Geranium Cat and Elaine at Random Jottings again, who both pimped it to me on Facebook if I recall. They are so naughty... but nice. I love the cover of this book and it'll be my next read. Also pictured, Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron which I nabbed from AM after reading about it somewhere and because I love Jane Austen, and A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge a sci fi yarn which I gather is quite good.

So, that's my Christmas haul of books. I can hardly believe my luck to be honest... thrilled to bits at the beauty of these books. I don't think I've ever had a bookish Christmas quite like it. I probably don't need to buy any more books for the entire year. *coughcough* Like that's gonna happen...


DesLily said...

omg! lol 13 books! lol too funny! how big is your tbr pile now? lol Oh, i found a cheap used book of Jack on amazon and sent for i need it..yeahrightsure.

I hope you enjoy each and every one of the books !!! you had a good christmas sis!

Sam (Tiny Library) said...

What a lovely pile of books! Happy New Year and happy reading :)

Danielle said...

Lucky you! I never get books for Christmas, though I did get a couple of gift cards to bookstores, so I guess I can't complain too much! Lovely new books--I especially like the looks of the Nancy Mitford letters! Now, what did you do with your needlework supplies? Mine are all in bins-I hope to get in more stitching time, but there's never enough time to do everything I want unfortunately!

Margaret @ BooksPlease said...

You're so lucky. I have a wishlist, but I think my family must think I have enough books, although I did get one lovely art book this Christmas, not off my list though.

StuckInABook said...

I bought the Waugh/Mitford letters a while ago, and I'm hoping to read them this year - how could they NOT be fun? It also reminds me that I've got a lovely letter from Charlotte Mosley somewhere, as I wrote to her to say how much I enjoyed the Six Sisters letters.

Penny O'Neill said...

Happy New Year, Cath and what a wonderful stash of books for you this Christmas! Books, in my mind, are the best kind of gifts to receive and I've been lucky in getting a steady flow, but, not as many as you just received. I want them all!

I did get American Grown from our older daughter for my birthday in early December. It wasn't on my wish list, but she remembered me talking about it and that I am on an appointed committee that is striving to start up a community garden in our town. This is great inspiration. I know you will enjoy all your books. Happy reading!

chrisa511 said...

What a fantastic Christmas!! Enjoy all of your new pressies :D

Elaine said...

What a gorgeous selection and so glad the book you won arrived in time as I totally forgot to draw it until the last minute!!!

Glad that Virago are reprinting the Thirkell books. I enjoyed them but found them a bit samey after a while and there was one character who kept popping who drove me to distraction. I think she was meant to be endearing...I shall be interested to see if you can spot who I mean.

My family do not buy me books any more as they say I get so many sent to me and they are right but there is nothing like opening a parcel of books!

Elaine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cath said...

Pat: I have no clue how many are on my tbr pile... a guess... 2 to 300. Plus a load of freebies on my Kindle. The Jack Kennedy book looks very good, I reckon I'll start that soon.

Sam: Thank you so much!

Danielle: The Nancy Mitford letters are going to be good I suspect. I loved the Deborah Devonshire one with travel writer, Patrick Leigh Fermor. I really want to know more about the Mitford sisters this year.

I threw away an absolute pile of needlework magazines and then found other places for my collections of threads, patterns, w.i.p.s, etc. I wish there was more time to do all that I would like to, plus arthritis got to me in the end. I can't bring myself to throw any more away though.

Margaret: I am very lucky. The last few years I've not asked for books but after I cleared so many and now have more space, I couldn't resist it. But I do need to spend this year getting the tbr pile down a bit!

Simon: I can't see how the Mitford letters would not be fun either. I can thoroughly recommend the other Mitford book of letters I mentioned too. And Wait for Me! Deborah Devonshire's autobiography. You have a letter from Charlotte Mosley (assume she must be the daughter of Diana and Oswald? Or grand-daughter...)? Heavens above. Get it framed. LOL

Penny: I think books are the best gifts to receive too.

What a lovely thing to be trying to start up a community garden. Good luck with it.

Chris: I most certainly will!

Elaine: It arrived well in time for Christmas... over the weekend before I think.

I'm about 40 pages into High Rising and am loving it already. Lovely writing style and humour and am dying to find out what they do about the awful secretary. And whether Tony will ever shut up...

There is absolutely *nothing* like opening a parcel of new books. You're so right.

Kailana said...

Enjoy all of your new books, Cath! It looks like you were spoiled with good ones. :)

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Cath,

I never get books as gifts any more, as most folks know that I gather most of my supplies from local charity shops, at some very reasonable prices (a book has to be exceptional for me to pay more than £2 for it!).

To be honest, I have enough author review copies to keep me going for several months and my father keeps me supplied with Crime/Thrillers, which he reads, then passes on to me.

I like the sound of the Angela Thirkell book, so that one has made it onto my rather lengthy reading list, especially as it was recommended to you in the first place, so has a good 'fan' base already.

Enjoy all your books and I look forward to your reviews.


Cath said...

Kailana: I was spoiled, you're quite right. LOL.

Yvonne: I have to say I generally try to source my books either from the library, charity shops or somewhere like Amazon Marketplace, as I prefer 'cheap' too. Part of the problem for my family is that, at my age, there's very little I need in the way of knick-knacks or anything else really, for Christmas. But I'm always glad to have books so it's a happy solution to the problem of what to get me for presents.

I've started the Angela Thirkell book and it's hugely enjoyable.

Thanks for stopping by, hope you have a nice weekend.

GeraniumCat said...

Oh, what a lovely haul! I only got one book for Christmas, but it was a lovely one: Salt Sugar Smoke by Diana Henry, which is one of those cookery books that makes you want to rush into the kitchen. Oh yes, and my brother sent us all his latest - which I *do* want to read, but will probably depress me :-)

Vintage Reading said...

Good haul! Like the look of those letters between Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh. Love good literary letters. I support Oxfam Books and its lovely to get their letters of thanks when they can resell books that you donate.

Cath said...

Geranium Cat: I'll look that one up as I'm not familiar with it. Am rather impressed that you have a brother who's a published author!

Nicola: Yes, I'm itching to get to the letters but am lowering my library pile at the moment. We lost our Oxfam bookshop so can no longer support them easily. Waterstones and Oxfam went from the town at about the same time. Our books now go to the Sue Ryder shop.

Susan said...

Cath, I'm sorry I'm late to this post, but I just saw it and all I can say is what a lovely lot of books!! OOOH Kitchen Diaries 2!!! I was so hoping to get it as a surprise - my husband got plenty of hints - but no. I do have a gift certificate, though ;-) I poke through the first Kitchen Diaries. everything he writes, I want to eat right then and there!

I am going to see if my library has a copy of Angela Thirkell. Between you and Geranium Cat, I've been convinced I might enjoy her.

Love that you are going to try the same Vernor Vinge I have! Fingers crossed it's good.

All those bios - I keep buying books on poets or Pre-Raphaelites. You are doing a much better job of reading them though, than I am right now.

It's so lovely to have new books, isn't it? A lovely surprise for your family to get you.

Cath said...

Susan: Yes, I got Kitchen Diaries 2. It's such a shame that you're not actually able to watch Nigel Slater's shows. They're so good.

I'm pretty sure you would like High Rising, it was just charming.

I didn't know you had that Vernor Vinge book (or did I?) Yep, does sound pretty good, it's an author I've not hard of.

It *is* lovely to get new books, you're so right.