Books given and received for Christmas, in 2016

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.

  • Robyn Cadwallader, The anchoressFor 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.

Jane Austen ornament and pendantsAnd 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?

30 thoughts on “Books given and received for Christmas, in 2016

  1. You did well Sue with your gift giving and receiving. I have a few book vouchers, one for Fullers in Tasmania. Hopefully I will honour tomorrow. I did receive a book that I will be reading for my book club next year, which will take me a bit out of my comfort zone, Lee Child’s Night School.It hasn’t stopped raining here so I may it finish it today.

  2. Your reading choices for others show such consideration. I’m looking forward to getting into The anchoress, but the science writing book for Hana looks like something I’d like too. You were right that I got the idea for The Sympathizer from the recommendations on your blog. (I’m reading it now too.)

    • Thanks Carolyn. I’m tickled that you saw it on my blog and took note! And yes, I fully expected you all might like the Science Writing one. The 2015 one was really interesting, so I’m hoping to read Len’s copy of this 2016 one.

  3. I only received one book for Christmas from my old friend D, Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders . D knows my tastes well and knows I enjoy the quirky and odd things of the world. I’ve only dipped briefly into it, but will explore its wonders on and off as 2017 progresses.

    In turn gave him The People in the Castle , a wonderful new collection of quirky short stories by Joan Aiken. We’re both big fans of her “Wolves” series of novels for children. She was incapable of writing a boring sentence.

    To my niece, who loves reading, I gave the omnibus edition of The Riddle Master of Hedd Trilogy by Patricia McKillop, a superior fantasy series first published back in the 1970s.

    My brother gave me a book voucher for Readings, which I’ll get around to claiming in the near future.

    • Mmm, why did this send you into moderation? Anyhow, thanks for responding Anne. What an interesting range of books. I know of Joan Aiken of course – because of her children’s books and also because of her interest in Austen – but isn’t she dead? This is a new collection?

      Do you find it easy to spend book vouchers? I always feel like a kid in a toy shop who can’t decide, which is really silly.

  4. Who knows why my comment went into moderation as I did not consciously send it there.

    I’m fonder of Book Vouchers than Ticketek or Ticketmaster vouchers, as it’s easier to find books to my taste than concerts.

    The good thing about Readings (in Carlton) is that they also sell music, so if I can’t find a book to my taste I could get a CD instead.

    As for the Joan Aiken collection, they are not new stories, but were published in various collections in the past. I downloaded the Kindle version and can’t recall ever reading the stories previously.

    Since Joan’s death her estate are republishing a great many of her formerly out of print books.

  5. I noted a couple of books from your list of gifts here on my every increasing in size library wish list. I got a substantial book voucher for my favourite indie book shop in town so am very happy with that. I will wait until the Christmas rush leaves the store and new stock is organised. I could shop in that store blind. You got some interesting titles there. I look forward to hearing about those and everything else you read during the upcoming year. I love a new year.

  6. Hi Sue, I bought 3 Australian books. They were Sister Heart by Sally Morgan – a story in prose and looks good. The Best Australian Science Writing 2016, edited by Jo Chandler, I won’t understand all the information but hopefully some will sink in to my mind. The third book jumped out at me with its title- The Book That Made Me, edited by Judith Ridge. And, what was nice to know was that the royalties from the sale of the book will go to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. I am looking forward to the New Year, so I can begin my AWW Challenge.

    • Oh thanks Meg. A good variety there. I suspect you will understand more of the science writing than you expect because the essays about science communication rather than about academic publication.

      • Books as Christmas presents can be a bit of a minefield so I tend to prefer to give vouchers with the occasional personal choice. I remember that I got some wonderful selections of Puffin paperbacks from my sister when I was a kid and this really got me loving books and reading so much.

        • I understand that perfectly Ian, but then I love buying books for people. Mostly I make good decisions I think but not always. I’m guessing your sister was a bit older then?

  7. I hope Brother Gums likes Wanderlust! Such nice books given and received! I love your stuffed Jane ornament. I think that might have to find a place to be left out all year?

    • I hope he does too, Stefanie. I know who to blame if he doesn’t! And yes I think so too, re Jane. Just have to work out where. First tho she’s with my JA stuff ready for our first meeting of the year’s show-and-tell.

  8. Lovely incomings and outgoings, Sue! I received the new Michael Chabon—a great choice, because I love his writing and I don’t read nearly enough non-Australian novels. Among those I gave were Old Scores by David Whish-Wilson (crime fiction), On the Blue Train by Kristel Thornell and Extinctions by Josephine Wilson.
    Happy New Year to you!

    • Oh, I haven’t read Chabon for years, but I know what you mean re not reading much non-Australian writers. We need to not be too ethnocentric don’t we. What do you particularly like about Chabon?

      • It’s been a while for me, too, but I remember his writing as interesting and inventive.
        I find that between reading for research and reading what I’m naturally drawn to (which tends to be Australian), there isn’t much time for anything else 🙂

        • Thanks Amanda. I hope this new one, proves wonderful too.

          And no, that’s what I find too. I like it when my reading group branches out – though we do like to do a decent amount of Aussie stuff – because I always read what we schedule.

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