I did a “books given and received post” last Boxing Day, and decided to do it again, but after Boxing Day because this year Boxing Day coincided with Monday Musings, and I have another tradition for the last Monday Musings of the year. Anyhow, here goes with the books I gave and received this Christmas. There are not so many of them this year, for some reason.
- For Ma Gums, who has worked as a lexicographer, yet another word-oriented book: John Simpson, The word detective: Searching for the meaning of it all at the Oxford English Dictionary, which I bought on spec when I saw it in the National Library’s bookshop (I think). Simpson was once chief editor of the OED. Next year I really will have to get her something different.
- For Brother Gums, an historian who loves walking: Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust, as the result of Stefanie’s (So Many Books) review. It even mentions Lizzie Bennet apparently.
- For Sister-in-law Gums, who likes to think about things: The best Australian science writing of 2016 . I loved (my review) the 2015 edition so I’m hoping she will like this. (I was tempted to keep it for myself!) And SNAP, in one of those wonderful readerly coincidences, Brother and Sister-in-law Gums gave this book to Mr Gums – so I will now have an opportunity to read it after all!
- For Gums’ Californian friend, who showed interest when I told her about this book in a letter: Robyn Cadwallader’s The anchoress (my review).
- For Gums’ Californian friend’s daughter, who’s just finished her law degree and might be interested in some Aussie crime: Peter Temple’s The broken shore.
- For Gums’ Californian friend’s other daughter, who is interested in things factual and, I think, scientific: The best Australian science writing of 2016. (This book did well this Christmas in our neck of the woods.)
I did do a little shopping to help out Ma Gums, and bought on her behalf for her grand-daughter, aka Daughter Gums, Maxine Beneba Clarke’s The hate race. (I’m hoping that I might get to read it too!)
As for what I received, a varied but much appreciated bunch:
- From Parents Gum: Grahame Greene’s Travels with my aunt, because they knew that it’s on my reading group list for next year. They’re not silly: they know this is one book they’ve given me which they can be confident will get read within a reasonable time of their giving it to me.
- From Brother and Sister-in-law Gums, who know my interest in indigenous Australian culture: Kanalaritja: An unbroken string: Honouring the tradition of Tasmanian Aboriginal shell stringing, supporting a touring exhibition (and, to go with it, an original, authentic – and gorgeous – shell string necklace.) A beautiful gift.
- From my Californian friend, who reads my blog and with whom I correspond regularly by snail mail, and who, therefore, knows my reading taste well: Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Pulitzer prize-winning The sympathizer. A commenter on my review of Josephine Rowe’s A loving, faithful animal recommended this book, as did the present-giver in a letter, so I’m very pleased to have it.
- From a Jane Austen group member (a lovely out-of-the-blue present): Helena Kelly’s Jane Austen: The secret radical. This sounds intriguing, and I can see that the first couple of chapters on Northanger Abbey will come in useful when my group discusses this, Austen’s first novel, in 2017.
And I also received a couple of other book related gifts from friends who know me too well: a pendant necklace with a quote from Jane Austen’s Pride and prejudice,”I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading”; and two gorgeous Jane Austen tree ornaments (a silhouette and a little figure). It pays, sometimes, to have obsessive interests!!
What about you? Any Christmas book news you care to report?