Christmas isn’t Christmas without plenty of books. They do make the most perfect gifts – delicious to browse the bookstore for, so much fun to buy, lovely to read, and I do so love having bookshelves crammed full of books in every room in our home. In fact, I can foresee Christmases when we declare that books and only books may be given!
This Christmas, we have some beauties …
Father Christmas gave Abby the first two books of Lemony Snicket’s new series. She adored the Series of Unfortunate Events – read them over and over, listened to them over and over, and oh my, what a fabulous vocabulary Mr. Snicket provided her with. She would pop out with some amazing words when only little, we would look at her with amazement, and she would announce “It means such and such. Lemony Snicket told me so.” She’s loving her first encounter with this series too – good stuff.
Abby gave Julian a lavish new edition of “The Hobbit.” Aren’t the illustrations beautiful? And a cloth bound cover. Lovely. We are reading it out loud together, a little bit most evenings. Well, I should say I read it to them. The two of them just refuse to read out loud. Tsk!
Mum bought this delight for herself. Both Mum and I have loved Joanne Trollope since her first book was published and this modern retelling of Sense and Sensibility is such fun. I’ve not read it yet, but Mum’s had us giggling over the bits she’s shared. And she’s read it in just three days. Excellent – means I can have it next.
Father Christmas gave me some of the Flavia de Luce books – numbers 3 – 5. I read the first two when I was working at the bookstore and so enjoyed them. I love me a good cosy murder. Flavia is such an appealing protagonist, the 1950s English setting is perfect, her family’s English country home is just my cup of tea, and the cast of villagers is a delight. Dogger’s my favourite character – I love finding out more and more about him as the stories progress. Mr. Bradley’s a great storyteller and I marvel at this middle aged American man’s ability to provide the voice of such a quirky and endearing 11 year old girl.
Cookbooks! We are such suckers for lovely cookbooks. Mum gave the New York Classics to Julian and I gave him the Jewelled Kitchen. We’ve put in our orders from the New York Classics – donuts, bagels, hamburgers, latkes – yum! And the Jewelled Kitchen – a Middle Eastern cookbook – has so many lovely vegetable dishes that I can’t wait to try – well, get Julian to try and I shall be his obliging taste tester ;-)
Hee! Hee! Hee! I gave this alarming title to Julian :-) He was a bit appalled until I made him read the back. I first came across it on the Good Reads website and it really does sound great! It’s about a group of Oxford academics who belong to a secret culinary society bound by specific rules. One is that the members should never refuse to eat a dish suggested by another member (or something like that) or their membership shall be eternally revoked – they all love food and have tried all manner of things. Then when one of the members dies, he demands, via his will, that his friends try eating him – which of course, horrifies them. Ugh! I took it with me to the beach today and it really is a good read – especially if you’re a bit of an Anglophile / Academia-lover like me.
Now the beach is not the beach without magazines. Oh how I used to love packing a basketful of magazines with CarolAnn and setting up camp at Rainbow Bay. We would be entertained for hours. At the moment, I’m reading The Owner Builder – a brilliant little Australian magazine which gets me so excited about our move to the Bega Valley. Just a couple more years! In the current issue there’s a story from an adventurous owner builder whose lovely blog Pearl & Elspeth I read. She lives with her family here in the Bega Valley and she built a strawbale home (our choice of building material) so it was SUCH a delight to find her in one of my favourite magazines, describing her family’s successes (with one small pitfall) and their enthusiasm for moving on to building the next strawbale part of their home. SO inspiring!
And there’s a craft book. Of course there’s a craft book! Crochet – a nice little booklet put out by Patons. It has such beautiful, fresh and colourful patterns. I adore the blanket on the cover – definitely on the to do list one day. And I swooned over the granny square cardigan above – but its construction looks decidedly tricky. Hmmm … So I’ve started with the little pram blanket - such pretty flowers.
And when we’re not reading them – they have other uses. Stopping the crochet squares from blowing away. Resting the tea and toast on them when in bed. Providing a drawing tablet …
A stack of good books is so very good, especially at Christmas.