Dear Father Christmas,
I hope you are well. I’m afraid that this has become a traditional fixture of the website – the annual post whereby I shamelessly beg you for books. Given how much success I have had with Netgalley this year (particularly hilarious given one of my bookish resolutions at the start of the year had been to cut down), I don’t have a deficit in books waiting to be read. But yet. But yet. And this year, my plea has a particular poignancy – the two previous editions of this list were at least partly pitched towards my parents, but this year they have decided to send me to Australia (excitement! yay! adventure!) and so ,despite being the devout believer in your powers that I am … well … this list has a far more wistful feel than usual. Unfortunately my boyfriend, to whom appeals might otherwise be directed, actually has to share living quarters with me so he actually knows how many unread books there are lying around – sigh. Bigger sigh. Sniff. So, these are the books that I would be over the moon to see flying down the chimney, if you can arrange it, Santa, please? I’ve been good, I promise!
Jane Austen The Secret Radical, Helena Kelly
I am a huge Austen fan – regular readers will be aware. I am fascinated though about all the different ways in which people approach her work and this book looks particularly interesting. So often people are put off by Austen, assuming that she concerned herself only with what she knew – Regency drawing rooms and the upper classes. I have never agreed with this but I am highly intrigued by what this book might have to offer. I want this book so much that I haven’t even glanced at it in the bookshop.
Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice Colouring Book
Again, my boyfriend has pointed out that I already have two incomplete colouring books. And his point is? This one is Pride and Prejudice themed! And it’s so beautiful! I already have new pencils to use here – it would be great fun to fill in over the Christmas break. So, Santa, what do you think?
The Song Rising, Samantha Shannon
Since I completed The Mime Order, I have been wanting to read this, not least because the last installment ended on something of a cliffhanger. Imagine my dismay however when I discovered that the release date had been put back – to be fair, this is because the author herself has had a tough time with this book and I am really against fans putting pressure on authors to work more quickly. I’m just disappointed because I loved the first two books so much and, on the plus side, the novella The Pale Dreamer has been released on the side. But, Father Christmas, this book belongs on this list because I just can’t wait to find out what happens next.
The Essex Serpent, Sarah Perry
I can be a bit contrary at times – when everyone goes on about a book, I end up not wanting to read it. This is why I have yet to read any Elena Ferrante. Also, the fact that this book has the word ‘Essex’ in the title immediately puts me off because I lived in that county for two years and although I would emphasise strongly that I met some really amazing people, it still puts a smile on my face every day when I remind myself that I do not live there any longer. However, this is no reason to judge a book and this one has had some amazing reviews – and looks very pretty!
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: Illustrated Edition, JK Rowling and Jim Kay
I promised myself that I wasn’t going to fall for the illustrated editions of the Harry Potter books, but then I sat down in the Edinburgh branch of Waterstones and I suddenly realised that this was not just something I wanted, but rather something that I need. And all ensuing sequels, of course. Oh dear. It is extraordinarily beautiful – Jim Kay really has elevated the book into a true work of art.
Creative Writing – Eva Glettner
I have only written sporadically since Grrrl Con which I am quite cross with myself about. I really want to get into more of a routine with it and this book really caught my imagination – it gives visual aids to cue writing. Again, this is something that I think would be great fun over Christmas.
The Complete Maus, Art Spiegelman
I have been investigating this one for quite a while now but I feel like it’s something that I need to read properly. I don’t feel that I know enough about the graphic novel genre but this is the one that has lingered on my To Be Read list the longest.
The Hanging Tree, Ben Aaronovitch
I have already read this – according to the doctrine by which I was raised Thou Shalt Not Buy Books Which Thou Hast Already Read. I know. But I have the other five and I’m a completist. I only got the e-book proof for this one which isn’t quite the same thing. Yet, why do I need it? I like having the books in a series all lined up in a row – I’m someone who gets fussed if I can see the Harry Potter books lined up out of order on someone else’s bookshelf.
This Must Be The Place, Maggie O’Farrell
I love Maggie O’Farrell – this is the first new book of hers that I have been aware of in a while. My reasons for wanting this one are fairly simple – she is one of my favourite authors, I want to read this. So please, Father Christmas, can we get this sorted?
Dr James Barry: A Woman Ahead Of Her Time, Michael du Preez & Jeremy Dronfield
Lastly, the tale of Dr James Barry, that mysterious woman who lived as a man and worked as a doctor – I remember reading about him when I was nine and reading a Horrible Histories type book on Women’s rights and I have wanted to find out more ever since. A highly mysterious figure, this is one book that I know that I need to find my way to at some stage or other.
So – 2016 has been an interesting year, I gained a home and caught more colds than I would have ever thought possible, I went to Amsterdam, read 100 and odd books and generally tried to stay out of mischief. If you can see your way to rewarding this good behaviour, please take inspiration from the above!
Lots of Love,
Girl with her Head in a Book