Christmas Books

I realise I have been very remiss in not showing you all the books I received for Christmas this year. I’ve been gazing with lust and envy at other people’s piles so here is mine:

Christmas Bookx

From the bottom up:

Maggie O’Farrell – The Hand That First Held Mine

Brenda Reid – The House of Dust and Dreams

Laura Wilson – A Capital Crime

Robert Silvers and Barbara Epstein –  The Company They Kept; Writers on Unforgettable Friendships

Amy Krouse Rosenthal – Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life

Philip Sington – The Einstein Girl

William Nicholson – The Trial of True Love

Alice Hoffman – The Story Sisters

Edward Rutherford – New York

Jim Kelly – Death Wore White

Kate Kerrigan – Ellis Island

Antonia Forest – Autumn Term

Sarah Bakewell – How To Live; A Life of Montaigne in one question and twenty attempts at an answer

Julian Barnes – Pulse

Friedrich Christian Delius – Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman

David Ulin – The Lost Art of Reading

And propped up at the side because I’m reading it: Elizabeth Gilbert,  Committed

Pretty nice, eh? And while I was photographing book piles this morning, I put one together of possible crime fiction reads for 2011. I mentioned that I was disappointed with the books I’d read in this area last year, so am hoping for better things from the following:

Crime fiction

Crime Fiction

From the bottom, once again

Ann Cleeves -The Crow Trap

Kate Ellis – The Flesh Tailor

Barbara Cleverly – The Bee’s Kiss

Camilla Lackberg – The Ice Princess

Martyn Bedford – The Houdini Girl

Sophie Hannah – The Other Half Lives

Alison Bruce – Cambridge Blue

Patricia Highsmith  – Strangers On A Train

Michael Innes – Operation Pax

Agatha Christie – First Miss Marple Omnibus (have already read The Body In The Library!)

Louise Penny – The Cruellest Month

Joanna Hines – The Murder Bird

Janet Evanovich – One For The Money

If anyone has particularly enjoyed, or indeed particularly detested, any of those, do let me know!

19 thoughts on “Christmas Books

  1. New York is quite a brick, though Rutherford manages to keep things running on nicely. As for your crime list, I enjoyed the Evanovich series a couple of years ago, though round about 10 or 11 they started to melt together.

  2. I don’t think you’ll be disapointed with the Martyn Bedford or the Sophie Hannah – read them both and enjoyed very much. Have you tried any Louise Walsh? Not crime fiction, perhaps – but fiction with crimes in it.

  3. I do hope that after all the work you did for the holidays at least a few of those books were from the men in your family! 🙂 I have to catch up on blog reading this weekend, but I had to come out of lurkdom for a quick comment–lovely piles of books! Out of the mysteries I’ve read the Evanovich which is very fluffy and fun–humorous, too. Save that one for a cold, rainy day! I also read The Houdini Girl, but it’s been a while–I recall vaguely that I liked it. And I have several more of these on my own piles. I hope you have better luck with your crime fiction this year–it looks like there are some good possibilities there!

  4. What a lovely stack of presents! I’m very curious about the Bakewell: I’ve yet to read Montaigne, but I do want to give him a go. I think some ‘supporting’ books might be helpful there! (I suppose that’s another addendum to the comment I left about reading author biographies: if authors intimidate me, I’m much more likely to see out third-party books about them.)

    And your crime pile has me hopeful: I want to read more mysteries this year, but so often I’m disappointed by the new-to-me authors that I read, which sends me scurrying back to the Golden Age dependables. With any luck, you’ll love some of those and post about them, which will inspire me! I do want to pick up some Highsmith this year: from everything I’ve heard, she’s remarkable.

  5. Gosh, I love stacks of books. I’m in a book-buying frenzy right now. My book buyer must be ever so happy to see me so often. You’ve inspired me. I may just collect all my new things and post a photo or two on tailfeather. Maybe I’ll wait for the newly ordered stack to be delivered though.

  6. Great stacks! I’m so happy you have the Montaigne book, and I’d love to know what you think of the Gilbert. I can’t decide if I would enjoy or hate that book. As for crime, I haven’t read any on your list, but I did enjoy the Highsmith book I read this past year quite a lot.

  7. Had to look away as it’s far too exciting and seductive. I am about half way through ‘Sarah Bakewell – How To Live; A Life of Montaigne in one question and twenty attempts at an answer’, at the moment [courtesty of the local library, sadly about to be attacked by cuts]. It’s an interesting approach, very readable and quite fascinating in how it gives us Montaigne in his context and in his later reception. I never knew that once found supportive of the Church he later was on the list of prohibited books, but then that’s eternal and unchanging wisdom for you! At present I’m discovering his views on women. He quotes Aristotle ‘A man should…touch his wife prudently and soberly, lest if he caresses her too lasciviously the pleasure should transport her outside the bounds of reason’. Guess men really were potent in those days! I’m jealous! Montaigne takes the view of women that,’We are in almost all things unjust judges of their actions, as they are of ours.’ Is that the sixteenth century version of Women are from Venice, Men are from Market Harborough?

  8. Claire – oh I did! I did! And delighted to hear about your experience with Maggie O’Farrell. Looking forward to comparing notes on Autumn Term, too.

    Charlotte – lol! I’ll bet they do. Very glad to hear you enjoyed the Rutherford. I’ve been wanting to try one of his novels for ages, and because I have hugely romantic notions of New York, this seemed the best place to start!

    Lifetime Reader – well that will probably come up soon for review because I am most eager to read it!

    Jenn Ashworth – how nice of you to visit! Thank you! Really delighted to hear your endorsement of those novels. I haven’t read Louise Welsh, actually, and will look her up now, as I very much like fiction with elements of crime in it.

    Danielle – by sheer law of averages, I should do better this year with crime! Very pleased that you enjoyed the Evanovich and The Houdini Girl (really looking forward to this latter, btw). And yes, Mister Litlove is responsible for a chunk of those books. Actually, just between you and me, when Mister Litlove annoys me, I buy a book for myself off my amazon wish list using the joint credit card. I have found this a very effective way of avoiding a number of small arguments! 🙂

    Eva – again, I quite understand! I actually dislike Montaigne’s works and have no intention of picking him up in the raw again. But I am really interested to see what Bakewell does with him in this book – I figure she may save him for me, if anyone can! 🙂 And I know what you mean about Golden Age crime, I love it too and can sometimes find contemporary works too complicated or too cliched, depending on which way they jump. I’ll definitely be reporting back if any of the above stack impress me.

    Bluestocking – Nooooooooo! Not good. I feel anxious for you – tell me you can pick up some new ones in the January sales…

    Mary – I am a real sucker for photos of book piles. I will look forward to seeing yours. And relieved to find another blogging friend in a book buying frenzy. I seem to have been in one for months now, but I just love acquiring them so.

    Lilian – lol! Ain’t that the truth!

    Dorothy – I have wanted to read Highsmith for years now – I’m determined that 2011 will see me read something by her. As for the Gilbert, I didn’t know quite what to expect but I really enjoyed it! I do think it’s likely that you’d like it too (but flick through it in the bookstore – it’s such a responsibility, recommending books!).

    Jenny – they did well for me, didn’t they? And they will be rewarded with my love and devotion, never fear. 🙂

    Susan – oh I didn’t know that! Well, good news. I’m really looking forward to reading that book.

    Bookboxed – lol!! Women are from Venice, Men are from Market Harborough indeed! I love it. I’m delighted if you are enjoying this book because I’ve been looking forward to it for a while. I am not a fan of Montaigne in unadulterated form, but when people talk about him, he always sounds rather interesting. If a tad big-headed, or perhaps over-optimistic in his views of women…. Oh your poor library! I take all my review copies to the local library and donate them, in the hope that it is some help. Not as much as decent funding would be, alas.

  9. Oh I love seeing book stacks! 🙂
    I’m really interested in the Camilla Lackberg book so I hope you’ll enjoy it and tell us all about it. I’ve read a couple Ann Cleeves, Louise Penny and Janet Evanovich. The Cleeves and Penny books are very good, lots of character development and attention to detail. The Evanovich is fun but definitely fluff. Don’t get me wrong, I laugh out loud a few times but for me it wasn’t a series that could hold my attention as the books seem to be the same thing over and over.

  10. If you’re looking for a good crime novel, have you tried Martin Cruz Smith? I’m not really a fan of the genre, but I’ve read ‘Gorky Park’ and ‘Polar Star’ – the first couple in the Arkady Renko series – and they’re both excellent. His writing is occasionally clumsy, but he’s also capable of producing a really arresting phrase or image.

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