Making A List.... Of Books!
While I’d like to think that the delectable Nigella
Lawson and I have more in common than an all too frequent tendency to lick cake batter off our fingers when we bake, I’m not certain that is true. I don’t know if she owns a dog, or if she knits. I certainly am ignorant of her politics. However, when I saw the photograph of her at her desk, above, I had to giggle. Yes, we do share something else. We are unabashed collectors of books. Books everywhere. Higgedly pigglety on the shelves, teetering stacks in the corners. Several years ago, in an effort to prevent ourselves from disappearing beneath our books, The Songwriter and I built a small library out of what used to be my dressing room. (I’d rather read than primp anyway.) Strangely enough, that library is rapidly filling up and those all too familiar swaying stacks, albeit small ones, have begun to crop up beside various overstuffed chairs in several rooms of the house. But I can’t worry about that now, because, just as Nigella seems to be doing, I’ve been busy compiling my Christmas book list for 2010! Without a doubt, books are my favourite presents to give.
So please enjoy this list and just click on the book's photograph to be whisked away to see more. And do add to the list when you comment!
For the Cooks and The Eaters
I sleepily sat down to breakfast the other morning and was presented with the fluffiest, tastiest cheese omelet imaginable. The Songwriter, grinning with pride, was the creator of this treat and I looked at him curiously. “Jamie Oliver! ", he said. “I was craving an omelet, so I found a video of Jamie showing me exactly how to do it!”
All hail Jamie!
We are fans of his here, and his newest book is a wonderful take on American food.
And anytime of the year, but especially at Christmas, I simply love to bake.
Bread, cakes, pies, candy... you name it.
This new book by baker extraordinaire Sarabeth Levine is chock full of delicious, creative recipes that any baker would adore.
For The Curious
There is a fine line between curiousity and nosiness, so fine in fact that, sadly, some simply disregard its existence. I’m not really a nosy person, unless you count my barely controlled desire to know what other people are reading. In an airport, on a train, at the beach - if someone has their nose in a book, I can barely refrain from asking them about it. Fortunately for me, readers are quite like gardeners in their generous tendency to share information.
But here is a great treat for someone like me. This new book by writer Pat Conroy is a fascinating look at the most important books in his life.
He tells us what they were, and why they changed his life.
I cannot resist this one.
And then, for the genuinely curious, here is a treat par excellence.
The Encyclopedia of the Exquisite is just what its title claims to be.
A compendium of the whimsical, a collection of the luxurious, a syllabus of all the wonderful bibelots and trifles that make life so much fun.
Carousels and champagne, confetti and crickets... and those are just from the C’s!
Every guest room should have this book!
Four For The Cozy Readers
For all that can rightfully be said to recommend beach reading, is there anything really better than winter reading?
Especially when the holiday rush is past and it’s just you, by yourself, curled up in front of a roaring fire, with a mug of mulled wine and a dog, or two, at your feet?
Here are four great suggestions for just that cozy kind of reading.
Two For Those Who, Like Myself, Love to Walk Furry Dogs Under Tall Trees
Just incredible photography of man's, and woman's, very best friends.
It captures the soul of a tree right on its glossy pages.
Truly a remarkable book.
For Those Who Love France, Both Then and Now
I remember the first time I read Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast.
So different in style and tone from his other writings, it is a love letter to youth, writing and Paris.
Guaranteed to make you want to grab a bouquet of well-sharpened pencils and a weathered notebook, slap a beret on your head and make haste to a cafe in Paris where you’ll sit, sipping espresso after espresso, until you finish your novel.
You crave macaroons from Laduree.
You watch Sabrina, the Audrey version, over and over just to see those shots of the Eiffel Tower outside her atelier window.
You read Maigret novels and, even when it’s badly sung, La Vie en Rose can make you cry.
You are a Francophile and proud of it.
This wonderful new book by Vicki Archer is for you, and probably for all your friends.
A follow-up to her lovely, My French Life, her new book bears the same name as her delightful blog - French Essence.
A essential gift, especially for yourself!
Two For Me, and Maybe You Too
It’s probably always been much more fun to read about the fascinating Mitford sisters than to have been one.
Such drama, such wit, almost too much for one family.
This new autobiography by the youngest of the sisters, Deborah, the Duchess of Devonshire, promises to be a window on an incredible life.
And of course, anything about Scotland catches my attention, as there’s rarely a day that passes that I don’t long to be there at least once.
Highland Living centers around life at Cawdor Castle, yes that’s Macbeth’s family home to you and me, as it takes us inside the beauty of the Scottish Highlands.
Really, to me, the most beautiful place on the face of the Earth, and the land that owns my heart.
For The Children
This beautiful book pays tribute to thirteen imaginative Americans whose ideals have greatly influenced this country for the good. It contains lush and gorgeous illustrations and, with all the profits from book sales being donated to a scholarship fund for the children of fallen and disabled US service personnel, Of Thee I Sing, is a no brainer.
Perfect for any child on your Christmas list.
And yes, I realize this has been out for ages, but that’s the great thing about kids - there are brand new ones coming along all the time that haven’t a clue of what’s gone before.
They’ve yet to see The Wizard of Oz, yet to visit Hogwarts or Narnia, yet to follow Alice down that rabbit hole in the garden.
And they don’t yet know about this sweet comforting snowman in the green scarf who can take take them flying in the air of a cold, cold night.
For the Thinkers and the Dreamers
Some people are born with a gift of weaving ordinary words into intricate tapestries that keep us warm when the nights are cold.
Dylan Thomas was such a weaver and I never tire of his beautiful words.
I read this each Christmas season and am once again transported to a seaside town in Wales, many years ago, at Christmastime.
Always and eternally a perfect gift.
And finally, a jewel of a book for anyone on your list.
Wise and wonderful, written by a man who possessed these qualities in abundance.
Here’s a few words from John O’Donohue’s Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom.
They seem to describe quite perfectly what I always wish to accomplish through this little blog of mine.
"If you send out goodness from yourself,
or if you share that which is happy or good within you,
it will all come back to you multiplied ten thousand times.
In the kingdom of love there is no competition; there is no possessiveness or control.
The more love you give away, the more love you will have."
Happy Book Shopping!
Wonderful list. Thanks.ReplyDelete
Great list & well done post.ReplyDelete
from the current show at The Smithsonian Portrait Gallery
Cheers! I so enjoy book lists!! TFS!! Hugs, JudiReplyDelete
Great list! Just found your blog, Wonderful!ReplyDelete
All the posts I have just caught up on are fabulous and a wonderful collection of thoughts.
What a great book list. I loved your post "Tickets" and now have a motley list of books suggested by your readers. The Guardian had a good book list last Sunday - I have a link on my blog.ReplyDelete
Oh THANK YOU, Pamela, that is a fine, fine list! I am going to dash off to peruse some of them further...ReplyDelete
I'd like to recommend a favorite tale on my bedside table at the moment. It's quite an old book now (1999) but one I've recently discovered, all about our intense relationship with dogs: "Pack of Two: the Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs," by Caroline Knapp. Best have a hankie nearby.
Thanks again and very best wishes for a splendid holiday to you & yours! Pats to your woofers!!
@SweetPea, Indeed, A Pack of Two is an awesome book; you did well to recommend the hanky. I will particularly watch for Anam Cara to come to my library. What I loved most about this post was the photo! Goodness, how I long to have a book lined room so high I need a sliding ladder :). I do have lovely built in bookshelves on either side of my fireplace, where I and the dogs can get cozy in the cold. Thank you, Pamela.ReplyDelete
What a comprehensive list, hope you don't mind my dipping into it here and there.ReplyDelete
I too have books like an old bath overflowing into all corners of the house, in fact, I have two houses awash with books....
Like you, I love anything that nurtures my inner child and lets me get off the world for a while, anything that is well written and Shakespeare of course.
Last night I had the felicity of watching Oscar Wilde's 'Lady Windermere's Fan on TV and fell asleep still thinking about the fashions and wit.
As right of passage, one of my granddaughters is getting my copy of Larousse 'Gastronomique' for her birthday just after Christmas. She already cooks like a dream and made the gingerbread on my Shadow Shot Sunday post.
The treat for me this Christmas will be to proof-read the rushes for my daughter India's latest book. They arrived in the mail today.
Sorry I was so verbose today.
Do give that handsome edward an extra pat from me.
Dear Pamela....thank you for including FRENCH ESSENCE...I am most touched. I am off to shop your list as there are many perfect suggestions for my gifts this year. A million thank yous....xvReplyDelete
just fab Pamela...I trust your judgement on these matters and shall reserve these books hopefully at my local Library.ReplyDelete
I admit, I am over-run with books as well but while i have cut back, I can't stop buying a few new & used...many thanks for the list; v interested in the Highland book as Mom's family is from the Orkney's.ReplyDelete
Last night I blogged about books too and added lists - mine's not a patch on yours though! And I have yet to compile my own choices.ReplyDelete
I too am nosey where people's reading habits are concerned.
I see you have my HUGE favourite Anam Cara and many other real gems!
Love Nigella's pic. Her Kitchen recipes are great by the way - I have ordered the book.
Love Nigella in her library!ReplyDelete
I can't abide Nigella but I would like her bookshelves! Thank you for the recommendations, I've just added the Encyclopedia of the Exquisite to my wishlist.ReplyDelete
Trivial fact - we live a few miles away from Swinbrook, the seat of the Mitfords, where she owns (but does not run) the village pub, the Swan - there is a video of her here
Nowadays she is more famed for her chicken keeping!
Fabulous list. Makes me want to run to the book store.ReplyDelete
Every year, friends and family ask what I want for Christmas. I tell them books. I give them hints, I give them lists, and tell them where they can find lists.ReplyDelete
Yet, I rarely receive books.
Whatever. I'll just buy them myself.
Thank you for sharing your list with us. A couple of these books I've been hearing about my entire life. I think it just might be time to read them.
Such a wonderful list!ReplyDelete
So wonderful, in fact, I am going to sit in the other room now and start reading "Tinkers," which Santa delivered a bit early!
A very eclectic collection, I have "Wait for me" on my list too! Did you hear the "Woman's Hour" special on her life?ReplyDelete
What have they done to that dog? He looks like he has white dreadlocks.
Dear Pamela, What a wonderfully eclectic list you give here which includes some of my favourite authors too. If you have not read Helen Dunmore, then I can recommend her and her new novel,'The Betrayal' is top of my Christmas list.ReplyDelete
Ohhhh, I'm in the process of moving (left an abusive marriage of 8 years with 3 days worth of clothes), anyway... I have to downsize and thought about selling my books. No way baby - I love them - they take me away, make me smile, make me roar, soar, imagine, energize, learn, travel. I'm sure there's room don't you think? Great list girl, Jennifer jennsthreegracesReplyDelete
Fabulous photo.. I could live there..ReplyDelete
Books!!! the very best and almost my only, indulgence!!! and indulge in them I do... Thanks for the list.
I have been waiting for your list... and I grinned from one ear to the other since many of your books have been on my list and some have been devoured already!ReplyDelete
Just yesterday I got my book club to read Kate Atkinson's Behind the Scenes at the Museum.
And this one on your list I have not read yet!
And I have put The Encyclopedia of the Exquisite just on my wish list!
I read Deborah Mitford's book the day it came out....
It is a wonderful and captivating read, you will love it!
LOVE you list! In a few days I will come up with mine...
Beautiful books.. The dog on the cover looks amazing.. Thanks for the list. CarlaReplyDelete
What a perfect list Pamela, and what wonderful comments in between. I particularly enjoyed your phrase "the good thing about children.."ReplyDelete
Loved the little untidy and very english details in Nigella's library.
Great post, thank you
Am half way through Anam Cara at the moment and cannot recommend it highly enough. Not sure which pile to teeter it one when I've finished though!ReplyDelete
JUst finished The Distant Hours and it was so good you will love it.ReplyDelete
What a fabulous list. I especially love that photo of Nigella in her library. I will check out your suggestions.ReplyDelete
What a fabulous list of books Pamela and something for everyone. It is always lovely to receive a book as a gift.ReplyDelete
I love all of your recommendations, be it books or other gifts.....oh, and isn't that photograph of Nigella wonderful ? XXXX
I am no longer allowed to buy a new book unless an old one goes out and I can't part with any of them! The books are actually taking over the house so now I live at the library!ReplyDelete
Loved your list and highly recommend Major Pettigrew and French Essence I loved them both.
Now I am off to investigate the rest.
What a lovely post, beautifully executed. Very jealous of Nigella's study.ReplyDelete
Lots to ponder, very tempted by Debs!
And I've been inside Cawdor Castle.
I do love to read other people#s choices of books. They all sound good reading to me. And don't forget Travels with Charley - I have just read it again and it has lost none of its charm.ReplyDelete
A wonderful list, Pamela. There are so many books on the shelves I marvel that you can pick out such gems. Happy reading!ReplyDelete
Truly, a wonderful list of books, Pamela. The Devonshire book is on top of my list and you have so many others here that I either have or wish I did.ReplyDelete
Have you ever read Capote's One Christmas or A Christmas Memory?
We turned a bedroom into a library. We, meaning my husband. I just fill it with books upon books and while-away my time reading and writing and thinking in here. Aren't places to hide in amongst the books wonderful spots? Great post.
some wonderful picks, definitely have the Duchess at bedside. The Remarkable trees is fascinating. The Nigella photo is so great an enviable library. pgtReplyDelete
What splendid choices!ReplyDelete
All of them excellent indeed.
Now I need to make out a list too.
My best book of the year was THE HARE WITH AMBER EYES
by Edmund de Waal.........
need to get Debo's book soonest.
Books are also my favorite Christmas gift to give and this list you have made is fabulous!! Thanks for sharing...ReplyDelete
I love this book lover post and that lead photo. My family enjoys laughing over Nigella’s antics and we are fans of Jamie Oliver and how he has try to improve diet in English state schools – healthier food AND teaching kids how to prepare it. In NYC I used to drop into Sarabeth’s Bakery. I haven’t read Pat Conroy since the Prince of Tides but I’ve heard good things about this book. I’ve read a lot of Hemingway and of course I know French Essence – what a fun cover! I actually like the animation of The Snowman better than the book – it always brings tears to my eyes. I’ll have to check out the rest on your list.ReplyDelete
I’ll add a link to this post from my gift book suggestion post from 2 weeks ago. Today I reviewed even more books.
Thanks for sharing your list--enjoyed "The Cozy Readers." I love books and will give them as gifts for Christmas and anytime of the year.ReplyDelete
Pamela you have chosen such an array of terrific books. Many I had never heard of am now inspired to add them to my growing list too.ReplyDelete
Sending you much holiday cheer ~
Two of my students were here today and they left with their Christmas presents. "Is this a book?" said one. (Well, of course. What else is a reading teacher going to give!)ReplyDelete
My Xmas list is ALWAYS a book list, and I love to give and get them. I adore the lazy days during the holidays when I can read -- in bed, preferably -- at my leisure.
I have many of the books on your list, and I have been meaning to write about Wait for Me! for several weeks now. Where did you get that wonderful picture of Nigella Lawson? I really do aspire to those bookshelves!
Another wonderful post, Pamela. I love your lists.
I like book lists, because it's a fun way to learn about new authors/titles. Just finished re-reading "Little Women" after many, many years and was surprised how well it was written. Also brought a coffee table book called "Holy Personal" by Laura Chester. It's a look at private chapels. Maybe someone might be interested?!ReplyDelete
Wow, you really ARE an avid bibliophile. I'm on my second book by Moritz Thomsen. You might enjoy checking him out. "My Two Wars" was terrific, and now I'm onto the second of his two books about his life in Ecuador.ReplyDelete
I read the last comment you left on Wilfe's blog and just had to come and have a look at your blog! So glad I did! This is possibly one of the best blogs I've come across! What an amazing list - I've been invited to join a new bookclub and I will definitely knock on your door for recommendations in future!ReplyDelete
Regards from Cape Town :)
All great books...but I hope Santa will bring me this one..The Encyclopedia of the Exquisite..!ReplyDelete
Dear Pamela, it is a fabulous list. I'm off to order the Encyclopedia of the Exquisite now, thank you xxReplyDelete
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