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A little post-Christmas and Birthday round-up

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As I’ve mentioned before on the Ramblings, I am blessed (cursed?) with having a birthday fairly close to Christmas. It means I have to wait all year without celebrations and then two come along at once… Which can be a nuisance; but as my friends and family know me well, it also means there are often a fair amount of bookish incomings at this time of the year. Despite the fact that 2020  has been the year from hell and unlike any other, it’s comforting to find I still have piles of incoming books to share… ;D

First up the birthday pile:

There are some rather fascinating books in the heap, some of which I requested and some of which were inspirational choices by Mr. Kaggsy! From the bottom up, there’s “The Way of the World” by Nicolas Bouvier from Youngest Child; from what I’ve heard this should be a fascinating travel book! Then there’s “Moscow in the Plague Year” by Marina Tsvetaeva courtesy my Little Brother – he thinks the combination of Russia and Poetry and depression is ideal for me! ;D

Next up on the pile is Emile Zola – the first two books in his great cycle of novels. I have kind of conceived a desire to read the whole lot in sequence (gulp!) so requested these from Brother-In-Law. Then we get to Mr. Kaggsy’s choices, and he has done well. I love Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, so a pair of books by and about them promise great things. Mr. K. had a great attack of inspiration when he decided on the “Nineteenth-Century Russian Reader” as I don’t have this, and it’s stuffed full of fascinating stuff, as is “Russian Literature: A Very Short Introduction”. The final book from Mr. K, “The Day They Kidnapped Queen Victoria”, is one I’d never heard of – but it sounds a hoot!

Finally, atop the pile is volume 1 of the Journal of Montaigne’s Travels from my BFF J. (I am expecting remaining volumes to arrive later) – an antique and very pretty edition. Yay! Lovely birthday treats, all – and I’m keen to pick them all up at once, of course!

As for the Christmas arrivals, I sometimes expect to get less in the way of books but this year has seen some lovely books turning up under the tree:

I was a little knocked out by all the arrivals! To look more closely, from the bottom up, first we have books from family:

The bottom three are from Mr. Kaggsy, who managed to once again successfully get me books I want and don’t have – result! The next three are from the Offspring – thank you children! – and the top book is from brother-in-law who is usually good at following instructions re gifts…!

Next up is bookish arrivals from my Virago Secret Santa! As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m part of the Virago Modern Classics group on LibraryThing, and each year we do a little Secret Santa. This year my gifts were from Alvaret, who I know through her own blog, and she sent me the most wonderful books!

Thoughtfully, she included one book from my wishlist (Nancy Spain), one she thought I would like based on my reading taste (“The Boarding School Girl” – spot on!) and a book she would like me to read (“The Brothers Lionheart” – I’m intrigued!) Such lovely gifts – thank you!

Last but not least, books from friends:

The Ocampo is an impromptu gift from the lovely Jacqui – thank you so much! Perfect! In the middle is volume 2 of the Montaigne mentioned above – hopefully volume 3 will eventually make an appearance… And finally, “The Salt Path” is from my old friend V. – an inspired choice, as I’ve been thinking I should read this one for a loooong time!

So I have been very spoiled bookishly in the last couple of weeks – and once I have shaken this “Underland” book hangover off, I will really have to try to choose what to read next! 😀

…in which a variety of Santas *do* bring books!

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After the recent birthday bonanza of books, I wasn’t necessarily expecting a huge book haul over the festive period. However, I was delighted to receive several gems and surprises, as well as a lovely Secret Santa – I’ve been very blessed with books recently!

First up, OH surprised me with some unexpected titles (as he always manages to!):

bright particular

This rather appealing sounding book is nothing I’ve ever heard of – but as I’ve not read a lot of non-fiction in 2014, it’ll be ideal for next year!

russian books

He also tracked down a couple of Russian titles – one I’d heard of and one I’d not. Fascinating fact of the season – I went to school with Catherine Merridale! She was in my form at Grammar School and ended up being our Head Girl – small world!

colette

Middle Child came up trumps with this lovely new Colette title. I put it on my wish list recently to try to restrain my buying impulses, so I was very excited that she chose this – thanks, MC!

george sand

This was from my lovely friend J. who decided it would be a Good Thing for me after I reviewed my first George Sand book earlier in the year. Translated by Robert Graves, no less! 🙂

humans covenant

These two lovelies came from a work colleague and an old friend – I know nothing about either but they sound varied and interesting so that’s got to be good!

plath drawings

And from mother-in-law (with a little help from OH I suspect!) Sylvia Plath’s drawings – very exciting!!!

Last, but most *definitely* not least is the Virago Secret Santa. On the LibraryThing Virago Modern Classics group some of us do a Secret Santa every year, and my wonderful gifts came from the lovely Genny T (who I’d been lucky enough to meet up with earlier in the year at a London get-together). The parcel arrived adorned intriguingly with tape quoting L.M. Alcott:

pkg 2

pkg 1

Inside were three beautiful packages wrapped in bookish paper plus a card:

vss parcels 1

vss parcels

The contents turned out to be as fabulous as the exterior!

vss2014

“Bid Me to Live” by HD is probably the Virago I’ve been most keen to find but have failed most miserably to get, so I was *so* excited to receive this! And the Persephone is “Flush” by Virginia Woolf which I also don’t have! The tape is emblazoned with a Woolf quote and as Genny surmised will come in very handy this year! I was bowled over by my lovely VSS gifts; they’re just perfect – thanks Genny!

So Mount TBR gets a little larger and creakier – I will *definitely* have to do more book pruning in the new year….. =:o

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