I had to have a little chat with my True Love the other day about Christmas presents, specifically, my Christmas presents. Don’t get me wrong, he is incredibly generous and the pretty plump partridge and sweet turtle doves were adorable but hens, geese, swans?! Too much Fowl!
And, of course, golden rings are always a treat but five, all the same? Perhaps a sparkling gem on one or two of them, doesn’t have to be a rock, just enough to be noticed…
And to cap it all – all those lords and ladies, leaping and dancing around the place, upsetting the maids and curdling the milk…
So, very tactfully, although, really, I work in a bookshop, books line the walls and carpet the floor and I basically spend most of my life with a book in my hand, I said that all I wanted for Christmas, apart from you obviously as the song goes, is books!
So here is my 12 Books of Christmas wishlist:
- The Faber Book of Christmas or An English Christmas, ed. John Julius Norwich – both books gather all the best writing about Christmas – novels, poems, carols, letters etc – just the thing when you are fed up with shopping.
- Christmas with Dull People, Saki – marvellous short stories sharp enough to cut through the Christmas sentimentality
- An English Murder, Cyril Hare – classic, cosy crime to curl up with on Boxing Day.
- The Vogue Years, Robert Doisneau – fabulous fashion, artists and social life sublimely photographed and collected here in this beautiful book.
- Outsiders: Five Women Writers Who Changed The World, Lyndall Gordon – I love their books and this book explores their origins and how they came to be written and why they continue to resonate with readers.
- The Medici, Mary Hollingsworth – I always loved this period in history and this unscrupulous family personified the age, full of colour, murder, conspiracy and betrayal.
- The Company of Swans, Jim Crumley – this beautiful little book follows two mute swans for a year and is accompanied by charming black and white engravings.
- Bystander, A History of Street Photography, Colin Westerbeck and Joel Meyerowitz – a fascinating exploration of photographs of the street by its masters such as Stieglitz, Atget, Walker Evans, Robert Frank etc and, especially interesting, for me are the discussions and evaluations provided.
- The Inner Life of Animals, Peter Wohlleben – basically an insight into what is going on inside an animal’s head – enthusiastic and delightful!
- Rules of Civility, Amor Towles – I loved A Gentleman in Moscow and so am very much looking forward to this, his previous novel which is set in Jazz Age New York from New Year’s Eve to New Year’s Eve. We are also reading it for book group.
- I Loved Her in the Movies, Robert J. Wagner – I adore reading about actresses in the golden age of Hollywood and this book reflects on the lives of Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and Marilyn Monroe to name a few.
- Appointment in Arezzo, A Friendship with Muriel Spark, Alan Taylor – Muriel Spark had a very interesting life and we are given glimpses of it in this beautifully put together book, in which Taylor recalls his long friendship with Spark.