I must have been a good girl this year
After regulsarly complaining that I don’t get bookish gifts for birthdays or Christmas (people assume that I can’t possibly want more when I already have so many – oh but I do!!!), this year I haven’t done too badly.
From my mum and dad I got a lovely book with short Christmas stories by various different authors (both past and present) and a gorgeous address book with quotes about reading (of which I shall be posting some soon) and also a pack of bookmarks (one can never have too many).
From my lovely cousin Sara and her family I got Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters which I have been wanting to read for ages as I loved North and South and her Gothic Tales. I also got a note book and a journey planner which I love as we go away a lot and I can now start planning my reading about the places we go:
I am a member for an online group in Goodreads (there are 15 of us – 2 Brits, one Australian, one Candian and the rest Amreicans) and we have been really close since getting to know each other on one of the larger groups on Goodreads and setting up our own group aside from that about 4 years ago. Every year we do a Secret Santa where we make a list of 5 books each that we really want and then one of the partners of the group send out who has who so it’s a secret to us all and then we send out our gifts. This year we couldn’t open before Christmas as mine and one other package went missing and we were waiting for them to arrive. My Secret Santee, the wonderful Jen from USA, was so worried that mine hadn’t turned up that she sent me another package (with 2 books in it!) and the very next day the first package turned up so I ended up getting three books off my list! We had the grand unveiling last night where we all go online together and open them and it’s really good fun – everybody ripping open their parcels and posting little comments and refreshing to see what other people have put. My husband rolled his eyes when I told him how much fun it is; maybe you just have to be a book-nerd to understand the excitement 😉
Anyway, the fabulous Jen sent me Hunger by Knut Hamsun, Armadale by Wilkie Collins and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I also got a book bag and two bookmarks! I love them all. I have been very spoilt!
No Christmas is complete without a little treat for oneself 😉
I have almost finished The Mayor of Casterbridge and it is shaping up to be one of my all-time favourites. And I couldn’t resist the Oscar Wilde Complete Short Fiction for reasons I shall explain when I post about it.
Did Santa visit your house too?
Christmas is here…
…and tonight Santa will be doing his rounds and dropping off those bundles of gifts and leaving them under the tree for us to find on Christmas morning (“please let them be book-shaped, please let them be book-shaped”).
On this most magical evening of the year, I wish you all (and your families) a wonderful time together over the holidays. Enjoy your time together, eat lots and read lots and don’t forget to leave out some carrotts for the reindeers…
Merry Christmas everyone!!!
In three words:
Heartwarming, sweet, festive
What I thought:
These books aren’t on sales in the UK shops (not that I have seen anyway). The first time I came across a Donna van Liere book was on a visit to the USA a few years ago in December; we were at a little village in New Jersey with my American family and browsing in a Christmas shop when I saw a pile of these little books on a table and I just had to have them – they looked so welcoming and delicious. I read the first three while in NYC over the next 2 days and I have read them several times since. I ordered this latest book online and read it this weekend and it still had the exact same magic of all the others.
Gretchen has moved to Grandon (the setting of all her books) with her two small children to be closer to her Mum. While unpacking she meets the very odd and reclusive Melissa, her new next-door-neighbour, who is determined to be unwelcoming and succeeds. Melissa had a horrible childhood with a drunk, uncaring mother and when she finds out that her mother has died, Melissa doesn’t feel anything except relief and rebuffs Gretchens offer of help to clean out her mothers appartment. Once she gives in though, she finds a half fisnished note from her mother to herself that opens up a whole new world to her…
These books wouldn’t be for everyone, I accept that. They are very sweet and some may find them too sweet. I just adore them though; they are full of hope and kindness and salvation and magic and they have the most gorgeous covers ever. I have loved every one of Donna van Liere’s Christmas books and reading this latest one has made me want to go back to my shelf and read the others all over again.
Verdict: If you are feeling bah humbug at Christmas, these books cannot fail to cheer you up. Just lovely.
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star…
When I was a little girl I loved Twinkle comics and every year my Auntie, Uncle and cousin would buy me the annual for Christmas. In the 1974 version there was a story called Rosie the Reindeer and each year after that, on Christmas Eve and once I was in my pyjamas, I would sit on my dad’s knee and he would read me this story. He laughs because even now if I see him on Christmas Eve I bring it with me so he can read it to me (although I don’t sit on his knee anymore!)
That Twinke annual is now battered, bruised and taped up with celotape but I still love it and I still know most of the stories in there by heart. I will never, never part with my pink Twinke annual.
I posted about this book last Christmas and I wrote the whole story of Rosie and The Reindeer out in full so to read it and see more pictures click here.
Which book is your most treasured possession and why?
Our drive through Scotland
I arrived back from my week long break in the Isle of Skye in Scotland last night (after a ten hour drive home) and had the most wonderful break away that I wanted to share my photos with you.
We stayed in a cottage on the cliff tops of the north-westerly point of the Isle of Skye with the most breathtaking views! We arrived in the snow which made the journey there a little perilous but once we were in, with a roaring log fire and views to die for it was so worth it.
Here are some pictures of our cottage in the snow and when it melted.
View from our cottage
View from the deck
View from the deck
When the snow had melted
An inside our cosy cottage with log-burning fire and Christmas tree. We has a lovely Christmas day, opening pressies we had brought with us and cooking a HUGE Christmas dinner with all the trimmings and then relaxed for the rest of the day watching TV.
The rest of the week we explored and went on some long walks and fell in love with the island.
Castle of Klye of Lochlash
View over a loch
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
After a magical Christmas away I’m back now and have some blog posts to write and lots of yours to catch up with.
Happy New Year everyone! Wishing you all a wonderful 2011.
Wishing you all a wonderful holiday
I wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas as I will now be away for the holidays with no internet access and not back until the new year.
Mr Whisperer and I are making the long journey up to the Isle of Skye (north west Scotland) today and spending our Christmas there in a cottage on the cliffs with no neighbours for miles around and a cosy wood-brning open fire. The plan is lots of walks and sitting round the fire reading books. Heaven!
My bookish gifts so far
It’s a well know grumble of mine that I rarely get book-shaped packages for Christmas or birthdays as people seem to be under the impression that I have too many already (What???? A person can NEVER have too many books in my opinion!).
Last night we went to my parents house for our “Christmas day” with them (a meal and exchanging pressies etc) and imagine my excitement to get these two wonderful gifts in amongst my lot:
A book journal to record all my reviews (which will be perfect for when I’m on holiday and can’t get access to the internet) and also to list all the books I want to read (I am slightly worried that there aren’t enough pages for this, however).
I also got this gorgoues illustrated copy of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
This is one of my favourite books of all times and the pictures make it feel really magical.
It also has narrative about what a Victorian Christmas was like, what they did, ate, played etc and a whole chapter on Charles Dickens himself.
I can’t wait to curl up with this in our cottage on Christmas Eve.
Have a wonderful holiday everyone
Here’s wishing you all a very merry Christmas and may Santa visit you all with book-shaped packages 🙂
“Agatha Raisin has never been one for enforced holiday cheer, but her friendly little village of Carsely has always prided itself on its traditional Christmas festivities. But this year the bells will not be ringing out Silent Night as Mr John Sunday, an officer with the Cotswold Health and Safety Board, has chosen Christmas as the time to crack down what he sees as gross misconduct by every man, woman, and child in the vicinity. The village shop is told it can no longer have wooden shelves which have been there since the time of Queen Victoria ‘in case someone is inflicted with a splinter’. The village school is ordered to leave lights on at night ‘to prevent unauthorized intruders from tripping in the dark’. And children are warned to not play with ‘counterfeit banknotes’ after passing around toy money in the playground. But finally Mr Sunday goes too far when he rules that there cannot be a Christmas tree atop the church tower this year. Soon after the decree and just before Christmas, Agatha is sipping a cup of tea and trying to stay awake as minute by minute of the Carsely Ladies Society meeting at the vicarage drones on when a sudden scream wakes her from her stupor. The ladies rush out of the building and into the garden to find Sunday lying face down in the petunias, very much dead. Agatha is instantly on the case, but with so many people having threatened the life of the victim, it’s almost impossible to know where to start.”
What I thought:
I was really looking forward to listening to this on audio book in my car – a cosy mystery, Christmas tree on the front, what’s not to love?
To be honest, although I did enjoy it, it sort of left me a little “meh”. This was my first time making the acquaintance of Agatha Raisin and part of what I was looking forward to the most was the promise of festive fun on these freezing cold December mornings, but it reality the book spans a year and Christmas barely gets mentioned.
Penelope Keith (treasured UK actress, played the comdey genius Margot in The Goode Life) is the narrator and although her plummy accent is perfect for how I imagine Agatha Raisin herself, PK’s other accents left a little to be desired (and made me cringe on many an occasion).
Although this book got me through a few long car journeys and put a smile on my face on occasion, I still couldn’t warm to it enough to say that I loved it. Bah humbug!
(I received this audio book for review from Amazon Vine)