Friday, January 2, 2009

Blessed With Books at Christmas

I count myself fortunate, for people seem to like to give me books, especially at Christmas. A fine thing, and much appreciated, for it is difficult for me to fathom a better gift to receive than a book chosen specifically with me in mind. I am spending a delicious amount of time this week getting acquainted with some of these new bound treasures and as I do, I know I am sharing the experience with countless readers all over the world; readers who, like me, were blessed with books at Christmas.
Perhaps your favourite aunt, the one who suffers cruelly with wanderlust, received a Bruce Chatwin or Evelyn Waugh, a Michael Palin or Gerald Durrell, and is currently curled in her favorite armchair, with her tea going cold, snow falling quietly out in her garden, while she travels the dusty streets of Cairo or roams the hillsides of Corfu. Your ten year old niece, the one with all the fetching freckles, who practically lives in jodhpurs and hacking jackets? It is after midnight and she is under the blankets reading her very first copy of Black Beauty by the dim glow of a pink flashlight. At this very moment, in town and country, there are cooks devouring all the latest recipes from the inspired kitchens of Ina Garten or Nigella Lawson - gardeners carefully underlining passages of Elizabeth Lawrence or Gertrude Jekyll - oh, so lucky novice readers embarking on maiden voyages inside the world of Harry Potter - mystery lovers unravelling the just released P.D. James or the classic Wilkie Collins - babies with their imaginations aglow from the magical illustrations of Chris Van Allsburg or Beatrix Potter, or from the unique artistry of Robert Sabuda.
Count me in with these voracious page turners, for this first week of January commences my month of serious hibernation.... reading, planning, sketching out the year ahead..... but mostly, reading. For while lounging beachside with a book nestled on one’s lap in July is certainly sublime, there is not much better than a cold January afternoon spent fireside, snug in a fat nest of a chair, cracking open a brand new book for the very first time.

Here are a few newly added to my library:

John Fowler: Prince of Decorators by Martin Wood
Michael S. Smith Houses by Michael Smith and Christine Pittel
Charlotte Moss: A Flair for Living by Charlotte Moss and Pieter Estersohn
The Drawings of Gustave Dore by George Davidson
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann
Shaggy Muses by Maureen Adams

I Married Adventure by Osa Johnson.... a fabulous hardback copy of this
vintage classic in its fabulous zebra cover

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by JK Rowling...I was unbelievably fortunate to receive this one in the hardback, collector’s edition!!!