Sharing a few festive arrivals at the Ramblings! πŸ˜ŠπŸŽ„πŸ“š


Around this time of year, I always like to do a little post sharing some of the festive bookish arrivals at the Ramblings; I used to share more book hauls, but I trawl the charity shops less nowadays, and most new volumes come by post and end up appearing on social media! However, I have a December birthday, plus there is Christmas, and with fairly well trained friends and family there are usually more books making it past the barricades and into the house!

First up, here are the birthday arrivals!

The birthday books!

As you can see, there are some awfully interesting titles!

My brother and brother-in-law followed instruction and are responsible for “The Lascaux Notebooks” and “A Book of Days“; my brother in particular was a wee bit perplexed about the former (‘caveman poetry’? he queried, not getting the joke that this is an Oulipo-style literary game). But they came up with books I wanted so that’s fine! “Writing in the Dark” was from the Offspring, who plucked it from my wishlist, and provided a marvellous reading cushion to go with it so I will be comfy wherever I am – this is what it looks like and it’s soooooooooooo nice to sit in and read!

Reading cushion c. John Lewis – so comfy…..

The Last Englishman” (biog of J.L. Carr) came from my BFF J. and I’m very excited to read this one as Carr is a favourite and the book has a brilliant reputation.

The remainder of the books (Doyle, Literary Houses and “The Cause You Serve“) were from Mr. K, and frankly he’s outdone himself with the latter. Not only is it an author I’ve never come across, the book is a Raduga edition produced by the USSR in English for sale abroad, and I’m a bit of a collector of those, along with the similarly-marketed Progress books!! So to say I was gobsmacked is an understatement! Mightily impressed, as always, with Mr. K’s bookfinding skills and I’ve already got enough here to keep me going with reading for quite a while…

And then there was Christmas where there were again some bookish arrivals although many of the larger, coffee table type. Here they are!

Christmas 2022 arrivals!

As you can see, there are some big books there! The bottom five are courtesy of Mr. K, and the very bottom one probably doesn’t show up so well, but it’s a beautiful vintage catalogue from a Tate exhibition of John Piper‘s works. The cover is stunning and it has the most wonderful reproductions of his art inside so I was very excited. Then there are two more books of ‘Literary Houses‘ – I’ve not come across these before, but on a quick flick there appear to be illustrations and plans of various famous houses from books, so I shall enjoy exploring these.

Mr. K’s next clever find was the “Rock Lighthouses of Britain” book which looks absolutely glorious. I *love* lighthouses (as I probably made clear in my review of “Seashaken Houses“) and so this is a treat, full of photos and original plans and histories of all the rock lighthouses (as opposed to land based ones). What fun!! Finally, he presented me with first edition hardback of the Edward Ardizzone illustrated version of Dylan Thomas’s “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” and it’s absolutely beautiful. A favourite story and a favourite illustrator – what could be better? I spent happy moments looking through the book accompanied by the recording of Thomas reading it, which made for a very memorable Christmas experience. Kudos to Mr. Kaggsy! 😊😊

Other wonderful peeps have also presented books for the festive season. Lovely JacquiWine sent a beautiful edition of an Anita Brookner I don’t have, which will help me to continue my Brookner journey – thank you Jacqui! My BFF J. came across the Camus biography and knew I would love it because a) I love Camus, and b) it’s a white spine Picador – she knows me well! And last but definitely not least, lovely HeavenAli send me two very intriguing sounding titles from The Emma Press. I love the sound of both, and I love an indie publisher – and this is one I haven’t explored yet, so thank you Ali!

So I have been very spoiled this December by my family and friends, and have some absolutely wonderful new books to spend time with. We have had all the Offspring home at various times over the Christmas period, including one special day when they were all here together, and so that has been the biggest treat, after the awfulness of the lockdown times when we couldn’t get together. I hope you’ve all had wonderful festive times and managed to get some rest to recharge your batteries too. Me, I’m now going to be trying to get my head around my books of the year post… πŸ˜‰πŸ˜³

A round up of December’s bookish arrivals! :D


Inevitably, as I have a birthday in December and well-trained family when it comes to Christmas, there are always bookish arrivals! So I thought I would share what’s been coming into the Ramblings and weighing down the rafters…

First up, a few non-event arrivals!

These are two lovely volumes from subscriptions I have with publishers – the Pessoa is from Sublunary Editions, the Bernhardt from Renard Press. I say subcriptions I *have*, but in fact the Pessoa is the last I’ll receive from Sublunary, as they’ve had to stop overseas subs because of the prohibitively high postage costs. I sympathise greatly, because I know just how these charges have been hiked since Brexit and the Tr*mp administration; but it’s a real shame, because they’ve produced some marvellously individual works and I shall miss them. However, I’m very glad to still be able to support Renard, as they also issue some really intriguing titles, and I’m looking forward to exploring the Bernhardt, especially in the light of my reading of “Levels of Life” by Julian Barnes! πŸ˜€

Next up, an unexpected treat:

The wonderful Tove Jansson needs no introduction here; I’ve read many of her adult works and all of the Moomins (bar some short pieces), and I absolutely love her writing (and also her art). “Notes from an Island” went straight onto my wishlist when it came out, and then a very kind friend offered me a spare copy they had! I was delighted to say the least – thank you, friend! I may try to read this over the holiday period as I think it will be the perfect book to sink into.

Then there are the birthday books – here they are in all their glory!

That’s quite a chunky pile, isn’t it, and such a lovely variety! From the top down, the Beauvoir and Genet were generous gifts from my old friend J. and I was very excited to have them in my collection as I’ve never seen or read them! The double Zola comes from family, the next two in his Les Rougon-Macquart sequence – I really must get started on these soon. Next up is a piece of inspiration from Mr. Kaggsy – I really don’t know how he does it, but he managed to find a pair of Russian books I’ve never read!! I know of Kropotkin, of course, but somehow in all the years I’ve been reading Russians, he’s managed to slip past me. No more! I now have two of his works! Walter Benjamin’s “Arcades Project” has been on the wishlist for ages, so when my Little Brother asked what I’d like for a birthday gift, I suggested this and it did indeed arrive. It’s a whopper! One I will no doubt spend next year dipping into…

Last but definitely not least for the birthday was this lovely which you can see at the bottom of the image above:

I have frankly been coveting “The Penguin Modern Classics Book” since I saw it come out, so when the Offspring asked for ideas, I suggested they might considering getting me this jointly – which indeed they did! It’s absolutely gorgeous, but may well have a very bad effect on the wishlist….😳😳

As for Christmas, again I was very spoiled and here are the books which made it to underneath the tree:

The bottom four titles, which are all by V.S. Pritchett, were a flash of inspiration from Mr. Kaggsy. I’ve never read Pritchett, who’s apparently reckoned to be the English Chekhov, and he seems to have had a long and illustrious career. He also wrote about Chekhov, Spain and lots of short stories so I’m looking forward to exploring his work, including the two doorstoppers. For a man who occasionally lets out a groan at the amount of books in the house, Mr. K shot himself in the foot there…

The decluttering book is from Middle Child, and the collection of Berger poems from Eldest Child (Youngest rather thoughtfully presented a Blackwell’s token!) The three final books are from my old friend V (Arrival) plus the Giono from JacquiWine and the Capote from HeavenAli – I salute and thank them all for finding me lovely books I don’t already have and want to read!!!

So it has been a bookish time, and I just need to find myself a little space amongst all the festivities to sit and have a quiet read. I hope you’ve all had a bookish and happy festive time – there will be a few more posts coming on the blog this year, including highlights of my reading year. Now I just have to decide which favourites I want to feature!! πŸ˜€

It’s December – so that means more books…


There is an inevitability about the arrival of new books in December; as well as Christmas, there is also my birthday which occurs about a week beforehand. As my friends and family know me well, there will always be book gifts and this year is no exception. So I thought I would share them as usual – well, why break a habit?? ;D

First up, this little pile arrived from various sources on my birthday (and I did share an image on Instagram):

A fascinating selection! The top four are from Mr. Kaggsy – three wonderful books from the British Library focusing on my favourite areas of London, and a period crime novel set in the Jazz Age – I’m intrigued, and with the London books there’s another risk of a reading project… “Nihilist Girl” came from a Family Member after instructions were issued, as did “At the Existentialist Cafe” after a link was sent to my Little Brother! French Poetry came from Middle Child and the Beverley is from my BFF J. who is a great Nichols enabler…

There was a late arrival courtesy of Eldest Child in the form of this:

I follow the Bosh! boys on YouTube as they come up with some marvellous (and relatively easy-seeming!) Vegan recipes, and I’m always keen for new foodie ideas – so this will be just the ticket!

Next up, some arrivals from my Virago Secret Santa; this is a tradition we have on the LibraryThing Virago Modern Classics group and it’s such fun to take part! My Santa this year was the lovely Lisa from the USA, and by some weird trick of randomness, I was *her* Santa. Needless to say, I was spoiled….

The two Mrs. Oliphant books complete my set of the Chronicles of Carlingford – I’m very keen to get to read these all at some point. The Nemirovksy is short stories and I’ve not read any of these. And a lovely hardback of “Golden Hill” which sounds fascinating! Thank you Lisa! πŸ˜€

Then there are the Christmas arrivals! Some of these were requests/instructions and some of them my friends and family improvising.

The second volume of Plath letters was from Middle Child; the Katherine Mansfield Notebooks from Youngest Child. I long to sink myself in both…. The beautiful first edition of Beverley’s “Sunlight on the Lawn” (with dustjacket!!) is from my dear friend J. – just gorgeous…. “Sweet Caress” is from my old friend V. and I don’t think I’ve read any Boyd so I’m interested in taking a look… The rest are from Mr. Kaggsy who has been as inspired as ever. The John Franklin Bardin omnibus is a particularly intriguing; I’d never heard of the author but he seems to have been a highly regarded and very individual crime writer so I can’t wait to explore. However, Mr. Kaggsy excelled himself this year with this:

“But, Kaggsy!” I hear you cry, “you already have so many copies of The Master and Margarita!” Yes, I most certainly do, but I’ve always wanted a copy of the Folio Society edition. It seems to have been spiralling upwards in price to dizzying heights, but amazingly Mr. Kaggsy managed to track down a Reasonably Priced copy and snapped it up! Grinning like the Cheshire Cat here….

Finally, some review books have snuck in (as they say); I can’t share most of them, as the publication dates are a little way away, but one I can is this beautiful volume from Notting Hill Editions:

I love their books, and as an inveterate walker, the content looks just perfect for me. I want to get reading this one soon, so look out for a forthcoming review.

So as usual I have been utterly spoiled with new books and my only issue, as usual, is what to pick up next? Never an easy decision… Which would you choose??

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