Thursday, December 18, 2014

Books For Christmas, The Finale: Books for YOU!

Books at Christmas Finale
The Best for Last.
Books for YOU!
It is impossible, of course, to peruse a bookshop at Christmas and not discover irresistible treasures for oneself.  It is a sad fact with which I have become well-acquainted since I tend to wrap up so many books for my friends and family.  What can I say?  I’ve come to consider it a perk of the holiday season.  Much like fudge.  One for you, one - or two - for me.  Here are a few books I could not resist this year.

Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop
edited by Otto Penzler
from Amazon:  “Each year, for the past seventeen years, Otto Penzler, owner of the legendary Mysterious Bookshop in New York City, has commissioned an original story by a leading mystery writer. The requirements were that it be a mystery/ crime/suspense story, that it be set during the Christmas season, and that at least some of the action must take place in The Mysterious Bookshop. These stories were then produced as pamphlets, 1,000 copies, and given to customers of the bookstore as a Christmas present.Now, all of these stories have been collected in one volume—Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop. Some of the tales are humorous, others suspenseful, and still others mystifying. This charming one-of-a-kind collection is a perfect Christmas gift, appropriate for all ages and tastes.”
I mean who amongst us can resist this?

Anarchy and Beauty
William Morris and His Legacy
by Fiona MacCarthy
It was with much anticipation that I made my way out of London in October for a visit to William Morris’s fabled Red House and oh, it did not disappoint.  Being a devoted disciple of all things Morris, this book - which accompanies the new Morris exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery - is sure to delight me for years to come.  You might like it, too!

The Writer’s Garden
by Jackie Bennett
Oh, yes.

The Homemaker
by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
During a recent visit to Persephone Books in London, I chanced to overhear the owner on the telephone.  A slight, tweed-suited lady whose size belied her rather formidable telephone voice, she was saying, “I intend to make this a best-seller.  So many books climb up the charts that are far, far inferior to this one.  This one deserves to be read, and read widely.  I’m going all out on this one.  I’m making it a best-seller.”
Well, naturally, I simply had to know the book of which she was speaking, even if it meant owning up to a spot of eavesdropping. And as luck would have it, the very book mentioned was already in my hands.  I did pick up another for a friend.  It does deserve to be a bestseller. 
Note:  The Persephone website appears to be having a spot of trouble at present.
Till they're up and running again, you can find The Homemaker HERE.

The Disinherited
by Robert Sackville-West
Anyone fortunate enough to climb the tower at Sissinghurst Castle and peer into the writing room of Vita Sackville-West is sure to become intrigued with that family.  I know I did.  I’ve spent some time this year reading some of Vita’s writing, (All Passion Spent has risen to the top of my favorite’s list) as well as the wonderful new book on Sissinghurst garden.  Now Robert Sackville-West has written a new history of the family and I cannot wait to read it.

Novel Interiors
by Lisa Borgnes Giramonti
When we met for tea on the day of William and Kate’s wedding, I knew Lisa was headed for something special.  There were too many ideas flowing through her head not to flower into greatness.  And just last week, it all came to fruition when her exquisite new book, Novel Interiors, landed on my doorstep.  A delightful blending of literature and design, Lisa illustrates beautifully how the books we love influence the homes we create.  As someone who just had a birdhouse screened porch added to her bedroom, this is so right up my street and it’s one of the most gorgeous design books I’ve come across in years.  Bravo!

The Elements of Style, Illustrated
by Strunk, White and Kalman
Every writer reveres Strunk and White’s definitive book on writing.  And who can refuse this edition when it’s so delightfully illustrated by Maira Kalman?

The Annotated Wuthering Heights
by Emily Bronte
edited by Janet Gezari
Take it from me, this is one beautiful book.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my book series this holiday season.  I know I have.
Did I go overboard?  Maybe.  But I had so much fun.
And books are the most delicious gifts.


  1. I cannot begin to express the anticipation and joy your book series has been for me; insightful, inspiring, tantalizing all. Thank you, Pamela, for the beautiful gift your blog always is, especially at Christmastide. :)

  2. I want every single book on this list. Love these book lists. So tempting. So irresistible.

  3. I've written down several of these and Novel Interiors is top of the list, with The Disinherited second. They are musts! And I still keep my old Elements of Style handy.

    So glad that you've included The Home-Maker. I love Dorothy Canfield Fisher's books and went to the shelf to pull down my ancient 1924 copy of it, a surprising subject for those days and still timely today. Her Squirrel-Cage and The Bent Twig were ahead of her time too but it is her rich and plummy Seasoned Timber that I have to reread every few years. I also pulled her Harvest of Stories off the bookshelf to put by my bed to dip into again--I'd forgotten all about it!

    All of these can be found on used book sites under her maiden name Dorothy Canfield for anyone who wants to read more of her. I do hope your Persephone Books helps to bring her back for today's readers.

    Thank you for each list this December. Lovely written posts that have enticed me to add to my list!

  4. did you go overboard?
    a resounding NO YOU DID NOT!
    as always the perfect inspiration here. happy christmas to you and your song writer and big white dog and little apple!!! XOXO

  5. Love, love, love these books! As you say one for you & one, two (three!) for me! Thank you for another year of delightful posts. May you have a joyous Christmas & I look forward to another year of delicious posts from you & Edward in 2015.

  6. Ooohhhhh. These books all look so intriguing. Just another reminder that books are one of the great gifts in life.

  7. just bought Novel Interior by Lisa Borgnes Giramonti + now can't wait to read it + Merry Christmas!

  8. Well in addition to being the loveliest list of books, I just have to say that you have wonderful hair!!!!!

  9. Every one of these looks wonderful! I do have Novel Interiors on my wish list and dropped some major hints about it, so hope it will show up at Christmas. I had a feeling it would be on your list, too.

  10. What splendid choices, Pamela!
    I heartily concur about The Homemaker - written in 1924 it really talks to things that are most important today. I gobbled it up in two days!
    Happy Christmas and happy reading - tis the season after all.
    Warm greetings to you the Songwriter and Apple and Edward

  11. Novel Interiors was at the top of my list to Santa this year. I ready have Elements of Style (anything by/with Kalman draws me in), but all the others on your list are equally enticing as well. Merry Christmas to you and yours, Pamela. I'm sure you are already dreaming of the days you'll be able to sit on the new screened-in porch and read with Edward at your side. :-)

  12. Pamela so many wonderful (and important) books and so little time! Thank you!

    The Arts by Karena

  13. NOPE you did not go overboard!I am reading now the SISSINGHURST garden book...........loving it!I have a lot of the same plants VITA had and loved!I have yet to get there but it's a MUST!Thank You for letting me know there is another book out there on HER family!I am so INTRIGUED!
    MERRY CHRISTMAS to YOU and EDWARD and his side kick!

  14. Brava, Pamela! You have outdone yourself with this five part personalized book list for holiday shoppers. I'm giving books and hope to get some too. Happy holidays!

  15. Oops, I meant 7 part - there were so many, they scrolled off my screen.

  16. Pamela,
    Thank you for finding all of these great books for us. As always, it's a great array of titles for young and old alike.

  17. What a splendid collection!
    What to choose? Difficult!
    Disinherited? Love anything about Vita, or the Annotated Wuthering heights? Just to remind me of home, Yorkshire, Bronte land! Have been to Haworth a trillion times to see the Bronte house and magnificent views of the moors!
    A very merry Christmas Pam.

  18. Very informative, keep posting such good articles, it really helps to know about things.

  19. Each sounds fabulous! I have loved reading your posts. Have a wonder Christmas, and may you find many new and favorite books on Christmas morning. Bonnie

  20. Wish I read more. Seems there is always something that has to be done
    I fall asleep with TV and can't even remember what the heck I was watching. Living is the fast lane. That "The Disinherited" sounds good. Wel,l Merry Christmas to you and all your loved ones.

  21. Just bought Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop based on your recommendation. I think it will be the perfect read to keep me cozy during the Winter season. My next purchase will be the novel interiors book. Looks like it is right up my alley. Thanks for this post.


I love to read your comments! Each and every one! Though I'm always reading your comments, I may not respond in the comment section. If you want to write me directly, you may do so at Thank you for reading!