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Books given and received for Christmas, in 2018

December 26, 2018

In what is becoming a Boxing Day tradition – I have many end-of-year traditions it seems – I am doing, again, a post on the books I gave and received this Christmas. There weren’t many as it’s becoming hard to pick the right books for people, somehow, even though we are a reading family.

Robert Drewe, The true colour of the seaHere are the books I gave:

  • For Ma Gums, something different from the word and dictionary oriented books of recent years: Robert Drewe’s short story. collection, The true colour of the sea, because she enjoys a good short story.
  • For Son Gums, who likes something a bit humorous or edgy: Andrew Sean Greer’s Pulitzer prize-winner Less.
  • For new Grandson Gums, who is going to love books whether he likes it or not, a few books including Alison Lester’s Kissed by the moon.
  • For Brother Gums: Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s Friday black, because it’s hard to find something he hasn’t read and I was hoping this would be that thing!
  • For Sister-in-law Gums: Sukegawa’s Sweet bean paste, because a bit of sweetness is just what the doctor ordered.
  • For the other Sister-in-Law Gums: Sukegawa’s Sweet bean paste, because she enjoys Asian literature.
  • For Gums’ Californian friend, to whom I always like to send something Aussie: Michelle de Kretser’s The life to come (my review), because I think many of its issues are universal to other Western nations.

Deborah Hopkinson, Ordinary, extraordinary Jane AustenAs for what I received, a small but much appreciated selection:

  • From Parent Gums: Trent Dalton’s Boy swallows universe, because I put it on my list as it’s my reading group’s next read.
  • From Brother and Sister-in-law Gums: Maria Tumarkin’s Axiomatic, because my bother loved it and thinks I will too.
  • From a good friend who knows me well: Deborah Hopkinson’s gorgeous children’s picture book biography Ordinary, extraordinary Jane Austen: The story of six novels, three notebooks, a writing box, and one clever girl, because, well, that’s obvious isn’t it!

What about you? Any Christmas book news you care to report?

20 Comments leave one →
  1. December 27, 2018 1:23 am

    My sister-in-law and I gave each other copies of The Library Book by Susan Orlean!

  2. December 27, 2018 9:01 am

    I don’t know any of these books. Loved the junior JA! Can’t imagine any child in a bookish family NOT growing up loving books – and I’m sure you will read to GSG at every opportunity. If I had one charity I could contribute to it would be reading to the kids of non-reading families.

    • December 27, 2018 9:43 am

      That’s a great charity Bill. I do contribute to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation but that’s not quite the same.

  3. December 27, 2018 11:50 am

    To The Spouse, I gave a Brian Cox book because he’s a great admirer, to The Offspring I gave Michael Smith’s Voyage of the Southern Sun because The Offspring is a pilot (and it turns out, he knows Smith and even refuelled his plane on this epic trip.

    I don’t get many books (I wonder why?) but once again The Offspring and DIL came up trumps and found something I didn’t have: The Diary of a Gulag Prison Guard by Ivan Chistyakov won a PEN award. They also gave me a Foodie’s Diary, which *snap* was just what we needed… we keep a vegie patch diary (what we planted when and where, how much rain, when and how much harvest etc) and so *phew* I don’t have to go tramping among the new year sales to find one. I don’t know about you but I am going to hibernate through the summer. It’s hot today, and I don’t like it one bit.

    • December 27, 2018 12:47 pm

      Love hearing your gift list, Lisa. I forgot to say that I got the Foodies Diary, in the same present as the Austen. My friends know me!

      I haven’t heard of the Chistyakov book.

      As for the heat, we are at Kiama waiting to meet a young couple from California. Son and DIL of my Californian friend so no hibernating today. A little bit cooler here than the ‘berra, but here just today.

      • December 27, 2018 12:55 pm

        It’s cool today in Perth guys, and the there were only a couple of really hot days, so you should get relief by the weekend (I think it takes four days for our weather to get to you).

        • December 27, 2018 8:56 pm

          T,hsnkyou Bill. Much appreciated. Actually I don’t hate the heat, though I don’t love extreme heat, I prefer heat to cold.

      • December 28, 2018 10:34 am

        Good luck with it, let’s hope for everyone’s sake that a cool change comes soon.

        • December 28, 2018 1:54 pm

          Maybe we need more extreme heat to hat those pollies roll take it seriously?

  4. December 27, 2018 4:08 pm

    Great thread as always Mrs Gums

    Though I only received one book for Christmas I did give most of my relatives and friends books as follows:

    To my brother I gave the new Kate Atkinson novel “Transcription” and the first book in Mick Herron’s Slough House thriller series “Slow Horses”

    To my niece I gave “The Girl In the Tower” by Katherine Arden (fantasy)

    To my Great Nieces I gave the 11 year old the first two books in Joan Aiken’s Wolf series – “The Wolves of Willoughby Chase” and “Black Hearts in Battersea” – and to the 1 year old I gave “In The Night Garden ” a picture book by local Melbourne artist Elise Hurst who kindly signed and inscribed it.

    To the 1 year old great nephew I gave “Dear Zoo” by Rod Campbell

    To my old friends D and R, I gave D the new biography of Edward Gorey titled “Born to Be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey” by Mark Dery and to R I gave “Little” (an imaginative autobiography of Madam Tussaud) by Edward Carey.

    The book I received from D was the new Haruki Murakami novel “Killing Commendatore”.

    My brother gave me an Amazon.com.au gift voucher, which I’ll use for purchasing eBooks,

  5. Moira Nolan permalink
    December 27, 2018 9:01 pm

    I was given ‘Why women have better sex under socialism – and other arguments for economic independence’ by Kristen R. Ghodsee for Christmas. (Is this a message from my sister?!) I will report on it after I have read it if it merits comment. !!
    Taking this opportunity to thank you, Whispering Gums, for your great literary blog which I consult frequently for its broad range, clear, no-nonsense writing, and increasingly impressive referencing, ie you have become an erudite reader and reviewer (erudite in the sense of educated, knowledgeable, wise, sapient). Thanks!

    • December 27, 2018 9:10 pm

      Thanks so much Moira. I try to be clear and analytical but worry sometimes that it’s too much so. Consequently, I really appreciate this comment. It’s encouraging.

      I’d love to hear your thoughts on Ghodsee’s book including, perhaps, why you think your sister chose it for you!

  6. December 28, 2018 1:04 am

    “For new Grandson Gums, who is going to love books whether he likes it or not”

    This cracked me up!

    Sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas. I hope you enjoy all you new books!

    • December 28, 2018 8:28 am

      Glad to give you a laugh Stefanie. We had a lovely time. Hope you and Bookman did too.

  7. maamej permalink
    December 28, 2018 11:15 am

    Presents are not a big thing in our family but I received two cookbooks (Love a bit of food porn) and am giving the 2nd & 3rd in the Binti series (by Nnedi Okorafor) to my step-daughter. I am taking advantage of the holidays to get stuck into my TBR list though – what luxury 🙂

    • December 28, 2018 1:57 pm

      Absolute luxury Maamej…. I love getting into the TBR.

      I used to be into food poem, but cookbooks are now part of my downsizing because I can get recipes on the net and put them in my app.

      • maamej permalink
        December 29, 2018 9:02 am

        Yes, I use the net a lot now too, but I’m not very organised about it – at least the books are giving me new ideas of what to cook 🙂

        • December 29, 2018 9:10 am

          I’m getting more organised. And have a recipe app on my iPad which enables me to keep and easily find recipes I’ve tried and like. And manually enter old favourites.

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