A few days ago on Girl, Reading I shared some of the books I’m hoping to find in my stocking this Christmas. However, as I was making myself a cup of tea in my Julius Caesar mug this afternoon, a memento from a trip to The Globe last year, I realised I’ve only just scratched the surface. Being a book lover doesn’t stop at books: there are so many literature-related treasures out there to be had (many of which have already found their way into my house it must be said) that there’s now a whole new dimension to being a bookworm. Nothing (apart from a new book of course) beats that nerdy thrill of finding a mundane object that’s made unbelievably desirable by the addition of a literary quote! I certainly don’t need any more mugs/bags/fridge magnets with bookish references printed on them, but it’s pretty much a given that more will be added to the collection before too long. Many of these items manage to be great fun whilst also being totally pointless – when in Stratford last I had to fight very hard to resist the pull of a rubber duck with Shakespeare’s head – but at least I can claim that the “Once more unto the breach, dear friends” magnet on my fridge door provides me with a bit of motivation every morning before a day at work. Some of my favourite things ever have to be the Penguin classic cover mugs and tote bags. I’m already the proud owner of a Virginia Woolf Penguin mug, an extremely well-judged secret Santa gift, and it seems only right that there should be a bag to go with it…
So yes, part two of my Christmas wish-list is very simple. If it has a book quote, illustration or even just a book title on it, I’m going to love it. And the rule is, no matter how much tat – sorry, sophisticated literary homeware – you own, there’s always room for more.
With less than five weeks to go until Christmas (eek!) I think it’s time for the list of books I’m hoping to find under the tree this year. Appropriately, this blog post is brought to you from under a blanket as it’s flippin’ freezing tonight! Gets me into the wintery spirit though I suppose…
“The Little Red Chairs” by Edna O’Brien – I was discussing with someone only the other day how surprised I am at myself for never having read any of her books. I very rarely buy fiction in hardback but if this was to wing its way to me via Santa’s sleigh I would be absolutely delighted! The synopsis promises a novel of real depth; the cover alone sends a shiver of anticipation down the spine.
“The Angel Tree” by Lucinda Riley – I may be wrong about this comparison as I’ve never read her before, but from appearance alone I’ve always suspected Lucinda Riley’s novels would be somewhat Kate Morton-esque. I don’t think the story is anything to do with Christmas, but nevertheless the magical snow-filled cover is enough to make me feel it’s the perfect time of year to read it.
“The Fox and the Star” by Coralie Bickford-Smith – I’ve had a read of this already (it’s a picture book so doesn’t take long!) and it’s one of those childlike yet profound stories that brings a lump to the throat. The artwork is plain but powerful and the whole design flawless; it’s quite simply a beautiful object.
“1606: William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear” by James Shapiro – I’ve got quite a number of Shakespeare-related books at home, but why not have another one?! “Contested Will” by the same author was a really interesting read and I don’t doubt this will be just as good.
“Weatherland” by Alexandra Harris – how amazing does this sound?! This unique take on our cultural history explores the peculiarly British obsession with the weather through its portrayal in art and literature down the centuries. A quick flick through the roll-call of creatives featured here – Austen, Keats, Turner, Milton – has me salivating already.
There are so many more books I could add but I wouldn’t want to seem greedy! I’d love to know what’s on your Christmas wish-list this year.