A very Happy New Year to you all! I sincerely hope you had a wonderful break and have some exciting reading and bookish resolutions ready and waiting for a fresh start. I’m personally feeling pretty positive towards the new year and am determined for it to be, much like the fabulous parts of 2014, full of relaxation, peppered with a few exciting trips away and, most importantly of all, some game-changing literature. I learnt my lesson a long time ago with new year’s resolutions and, generally speaking, don’t really believe in them. I often feel too pressurised and consequently don’t end up seeing them through, particularly when it comes to bookish plans.
That considered, instead I’m going to share a few thoughtful bookish little gifts Santa left under my tree at Christmas. Something I’m sure will help focus my mind on some vague new reads and ideas for 2015.
My other half miraculously (not that he’s been scouring this blog for gift ideas or anything *ahem*) acquired a couple of books I’ve been dying to delve into for some time now. Ever since the adventures we’ve taken to India over the past few years I’ve been completely fascinated by the eccentric lone female explorers of the late 18th and early 19th century and became naturally drawn to the stories of Alexandra David-Néel; the French explorer and pioneer who travelled solo around Europe, India and, most famously, into the Forbidden City of Lhasa in Tibet with her Buddhist monk guide Lama Yongden. An inspirational woman living in a time when most of us remained in place behind the stove or safely ensconced in the parlour.
Along a similar vintage theme The Shooting Party by Isabel Colegate is, as I found out after adding it to my wish list, the book that inspired Julian Fellowes when dreaming up smash ITV hit Downton Abbey. I do love a bit of upstairs/downstairs so this should be great fun when I feel in desperate need of a bit of keen historical fiction.
Like I (sometimes hopefully) do for them, the wonderful Mummy and Daddy Relish, the ultimate source of my bookishness, always unearth treats I never even realised I
needed wanted. I had a bit of an attraction to all things magical in 2014 after reading Neil Gaiman’s Ocean at the end of the Lane and have a flurry of books I would like to carry on this sparkly feeling with into the new year. After reading Pullman’s Grimm Tales I was so thrilled to get a copy of Hans Christian Anderson’s complete works. Not only do they have a completely different vibe to the Brothers Grimm (maybe not quite as …well, ‘grim’?!) there are also plenty I’ve never heard of. In addition I bagged a Kerouac I have never even heard of it (it never ceases to amaze me how they find things I don’t even own despite my terrible book binge habits) having only ever read Satori in Paris. A fact my other half loves to tease me for.
As well as some gift cards which will help me do some much-needed cost-cutting on the book buying front, I also got some bits for sheer giggles; mainly cat orientated as you can see above! Our two are rather nervous since they realise I’m going to pitting them against one another with the IQ test very soon and, of course, giving them the lowdown on the spoof tabbies of Downton. Ha!
Although I always think that people lose sight of reality around Christmas time and go absolutely bonkers on the shopping front, it’s always such a pleasure to receive thoughtful things and, best of all, to watch your loved ones open the books you bought them (and that you can hopefully borrow afterwards!)
I read yesterday that books and Christmas in Iceland have a very special relationship, with the long-standing tradition that every person should receive at least one book to take to bed with them on Christmas Eve. Aptly named the ‘Christmas Book Flood’, bookshop sales go bonkers from September right through to the festive season and Icelanders turn into regular book commentators and reviewers in their own right. Perhaps we could learn a few things! Hákarl anyone?
What bookish treats were under your tree this Christmas?