Hello, friends. If you celebrated Christmas, I hope you had a warm, joyful, peaceful holiday. Today, I thought I’d share with you my haul: the books I received as well as the ones I gave.
My brother, whose gifts are always always ALWAYS food-themed, in the best possible way, gave me Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.
I’d already found a few of Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s recipes online and some of their flavour combinations sound like magic. I also love cookbooks with a strong sense of place and culture.
This next one was entirely my 7yo son’s idea: Debbie Bliss’s The Knitter’s Book of Knowledge.
My grandmother taught me how to knit (but not purl or cast on/off) when I was about eight, so I’ve always expected that I’d find my way back to knitting someday. What I can’t explain is how my son might have divined that…
The last book I received is from Nick, who knows me better than anyone and therefore doesn’t hesitate to give me the kinds of books you might buy an 80-year-old man: Special Operations Executive Manual: How to Be an Agent in Occupied Europe.
And now, of course, I’m wondering if there’s a parallel manual for Force 136, SOE’s counterpart in Southeast Asia… entirely for research purposes, of course.
I gave Nick a copy of Summer World, by Bernd Heinrich.
He’s a big fan of Bernd Heinrich in general, and still stuns me on a regular basis with facts from its companion book, Winter World.
A couple of months ago, I lucked across a copy of Sarah Thornton’s 7 Days in the Art World at a used-book sale. It was like a sign: we’ve both been meaning to read it for some time, so I also got Nick a copy of Thornton’s more recent book, 33 Artists in 3 Acts.
Nick’s already raving about it and I can’t wait to read it myself.
I have incredibly fond memories of my Grade 3 teacher, Mrs. West, reading aloud to us from Tom’s Midnight Garden.
It felt like forever between installments – maybe a couple of times a week? – and that reading time is one of my best memories of elementary school. I couldn’t wait to pass on the experience to my son.
Regular blog readers will know that my 7yo is thoroughly obsessed with dogs, so Kate DiCamillo’s Because of Winn-Dixie is his perfect companion book.
Often, magical realism in adult fiction doesn’t sit well with me but I really enjoyed DiCamillo’s use of it here.
I also have a treasured memory of reading Blueberries for Sal as a child. I’m not sure where I encountered it – probably at school – but my 4yo adores blueberries, bears, and stories about mothers and children.
I fell in love with Nara’s work and I hope she does, too. Since we can’t afford a Nara painting, I thought we’d start with his picture book, The Lonesome Puppy.
And that’s my holiday bookstravaganza. What did you give or receive recently? Anything you’d particularly recommend to me?