Dear Father Christmas,
I don’t normally write to you this early in the year … but 2020 hasn’t been particularly standard, has it? You must be feeling the same, given that you’ve surely been shielding – you’ve got to be in at least one of the higher risk groups, right? I do hope the elves have been looking after you. Basically, it’s been a rough old time for everyone and I think we all need to kick up our heels and look to the positive. So in our house the Christmas songs are on already, there are knitted decorations going up as fast as I can produce them and I am stealing a march with my Christmas list as well. But also … Father Christmas, despite everything, I’ve been a good girl this year, so … in the words of my son, “More books please”?
Dear Reader: The Comfort and Joy of Books
If I only get one book for Christmas this year … well, first off I would probably cry but in that situation, I hope that it will be this one. Comfort reading has been a major theme for me this year and I have a pretty solid success rate with bibliomemoirs. So much so that I’m deliberately trying not to find out too much about this to save the surprise. It looks to be fantastic reading for the Astronaut’s naps.
The White Ship
Being honest, I could possibly wait for the paperback on this one but I’m also just ridiculously excited about it. Nobody ever writes anything about the White Ship disaster and yet its consequences were huge! Stephen and Matilda! The Plantagenet Dynasty! History changed forever because of a shipwreck one night and I would love to find out more.
So I did a Greek mythology challenge this year and it was … rough. But one of the successful takeaways from the experience was that Natalie Haynes is as talented a writer as she is a broadcaster and the news that she is writing more about the women of the Greek myths can only be a good thing. Sign me up!
Paternity: The Elusive Quest for the Father
This book has the dimensions of a brick and I can’t see any sign of it coming out in paperback. And yet it is a topic close to my own heart. I read the introduction in Gower Street Waterstones early in the year and have been trying to find a way of getting a cheap copy ever since. The phrase ‘I do have one but he lives in Australia’ is burned into my early memory, a sign of just how many times I was asked as a youngster about the non-existence of my male parent. And yet I have had various substitutes including a magnificent grandfather and the stepfather who I now call Dad. Despite its size, I think that Paternity is a book that it would be helpful for me to read.
The Glass Hotel
I reread Mandel’s fantastic Station Eleven earlier this year and was excited to spot that she had another book coming out. I think this looks like a wonderful winter read …
I am an extremely keen Lyra Belacqua fan and am so thrilled that this has finally been made available to a wider audience. Hopefully it sets the scene for some of the strange happenings in The Secret Commonwealth. Plus it’s only little so surely it’s just a stocking filler, right?
I have never owned an almanac but this one looks right up my alley. I think it’s folly to assume that 2021 is going to be immediately easier than 2020 so having Sandi Toksvig at hand to navigate me through seems like a sensible idea. Yes please!
How To Be More Paddington
Paddington, thou art my rock in times of uncertainty. As a three year old, I wanted to be you. I may be older now but I still think that you’re not a bad role model. Always polite, non-judgmental, ready to make friends. Again, this seems like a necessary gift in the current climate.
I love David Nicholls and this one has been on my To Be Read list for quite a while. I tried listening to it on Audible and it just didn’t feel right. I think Nicholls is one of those authors who needs to be ‘read’.
This has been on my Christmas list for about five years in a row. I don’t feel like I can justify buying it for myself but nobody has been kind enough to step in yet . Could 2020 be the year? Crossing fingers!
Jane Austen Cards – Playing Cards & Tarot Deck
I spotted the playing cards first and thought they could be fun for over Christmas but the Tarot deck also just looks rather beautiful. I’ve not read a great deal of Jane Austen this year and I am feeling the deficit. I don’t need to read tarot (I don’t actually know how to do that) but 2021 is going to need to be an Austen in August kind of year. Watch this space 😉
So Father Christmas, what do you think? Cider and biscuits will be served at a socially distanced location as well as appropriate snacks for the reindeer. This is a year when people deserve happiness – we deserve books.
Please and thank you,
Girl with her Head in a Book
PS – I will be forwarding my son’s list very soon. He’s still thinking it over.