Thursday, 25 December 2014

Happy Christmas (and some goodies)

I hope you have all had, or will have, a very wonderful Christmas. We've had a lovely day here - mostly playing games, eating, and opening presents (once we'd been to church, of course, some of us several times). And I did rather well for books this year... these photos were mostly taken as the day wended its way to a close, so apologies for the poor light quality. But, wow, lucky me with these books!

The Unexpected Professor by John Carey is a book I've had my eye on for a while - it's about Oxford, after all - and was given to me by my dear friends Lorna and Will.

The next two came from Our Vicar and Our Vicar's Wife, and were (I believe) both recommended by bloggers. Closely Observed Trains by Bohumil Hrabal is a fascinating-looking novella, and The Great Indoors by Ben Highmore is an equally fascinating-looking history of the home.

I am also in a LibraryThing Virago Secret Santa, which has thoroughly spoilt me this year (my Santa being the lovely Christina):

Look at these beauties! Such lovely wrapping, and those are all Christmas decorations on top (now gracing our tree). And, when unwrapped...

From left to right...
Peking Picnic by Ann Bridge (a novelist I like a lot); God on the Rocks by Jane Gardam (an author I've been meaning to try), and a really, really beautiful edition of The True Heart by Sylvia Townsend Warner.

This one deserves its own line: Out of the Red, Into the Blue by Barbara Comyns. My family had to cope with my squeals and excitement. I can't believe Christina managed to find this. I've been on the hunt for years, and thought it would be forever hopeless. 

And, finally, from Colin - this beauty:

I spent an extremely happy day visiting Monk's House once, and this book is a gorgeous history of the garden, from 1919 (when the Woolfs bought it) until the present day. The photography is absolutely stunning.

So, lucky me! What did Santa and/or your friends and family bring you, in the book world?


  1. Merry Christmas Simon. What a terrific haul of books. I've read Peking Picnic & enjoyed it & I've looked through VW's Garden, another beautiful book. I don't tend to get books for Christmas as the family has no idea what I have already but that's fine. We had a lovely day, warm & sunny & today it's cool & raining which is just as lovely to me. I have 10 days off now & will be pondering my Top 10 books of the year & aiming to finish the three books I currently have on the go before New year's Day.

  2. Merry Christmas, Simon, and all the best for a 2015 to rival 2014's great successes!

  3. A little late to say so, but Happy Christmas! What wonderful bookish presents you have - I'm jealous about the Sylvia Townsend Warner and the Barbara Comyns.

  4. Late greetings from a very wet Colombo. The books look gorgeous.

  5. It sounds like a lovely Christmas day, and quite a nice collection of books! I'm most interested in The Unexpected Professor, having read a couple of posts about it. I hope you have some good reading time.

  6. What a wonderfully book-ish Christmas you had! The Unexpected Professor is very good (though I would have probably got more out of it if I had ever heard of Carey before I picked it up) and God on the Rocks is fabulous. And the garden book looks absolutely beautiful. Just one book for me under the tree this year, a guide to local walks. But I also received a gift card for a book store, so there is the promise of more books to come!

  7. Happy Boxing Day Simon! Got word from my email that US PBS will be broadcasting British Bake Off, and thought of you and Elaine. Very quiet Christmas due to work on our apartment. Happy New Year

  8. What lovely books, Simon and belated Merry Christmas! The Woolf book looks gorgeous - I have been to Charleston but never Monks House so I'm jealous. I have The Unexpected Professor waiting for me at the library - I like what I've heard and read by Carey so I'm hoping the book will be as good! :)

    (kaggsysbookishramblings - Blogger *really* doesn't like me at the moment!)

  9. Happy day after Boxing Day Simon. I got the Monks House book from my daughter, I'm loving it, redesigning my garden in my head and even thinking of taking up embroidery! Will look up the rest of your books. Hope you all continue to have a lovely time.

  10. Good haul, Simon. I'd like to read The Unexpected Professor, too. Happy New Year!


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