December is when I buy and receive the largest amount of books. I have an employee holiday discount at the bookstore, the other students in the graduate program take part in the Secret Santa Book Swap party, and friends and family know books are the best Christmas gift for a hoarder/collector/reader. Although Christmas has not arrived, I’ve decided to share the piles received already. Quite a lot of books!
Adult and Young Adult Collection (Some of these are gifts and will be mentioned later in the post.)
Starting second from the left: The Winter Witch by Paula Brackston — I’ve waited a year for this to come out in paperback. Morgana is a silent young woman who is sent to live with a widower in the far hills in Wales. Her strangeness is the talk of the village, and soon a darker power threatens to turn the village against Morgana and her powers.
Center: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke — A recommendation from Charles Finch (author of Victorian mystery series and future fiction publication The Last Enchantments) after I told him my all-time favorite type of book would probably be a mixture of The Night Circus meets Harry Potter meets Jane Eyre meets Dickens. Basically Victorian magic. He said I needed to drop everything and read this book — so I bought it!
Blythewood by Carol Goodman — Every time I passed the Young Adult department, this book stared me down. It was like that with C.J. Redwine’s Defiance. So I began to give it some attention — turn-of-the-century New York with magic and factory girls and insanity. Loved it already. The first three chapters were read and enjoyed, so once again, my money went back to my job.
The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson — The sequel to The Name of the Star, even more mad and witty than the last! Clearly I’m almost finished, that’s why there are bookmarks and tabs within the pages.
Skip to the last book: Dark Witch by Nora Roberts — My first Nora Roberts. Something about the Irish setting, the historical fiction sections mixed with the present day, the magic, all spoke to me. I asked some friends if they’d ever read Roberts, and they claim she’s phenomenal, really brings you into the story. We shall see!
Children’s Books and Miscellany
A Very Fuddles Christmas by Frans Vischer — An adorable story about a fat, curious cat who wants nothing more than to be pampered at Christmas, but the family is too busy cooking food and cookies, decorating trees, and playing in the snow. This is a signed edition, as the author visited our store!
The Polar Express by Chris van Allsburg — How have I not purchased this book for myself before now? My parents have a tattered copy back home; my brother and I loved it to pieces. This is the 25th anniversary edition, and it came with an audiobook CD of Liam Neeson reading it. Sounds of clinking mugs of chocolate, sleigh bells, children and crowds’ voices, and the train rattling and chugging along can be heard in the background. A very atmospheric listening! I found myself shouting, “No! Not the hole!” when the boy loses his bell.
The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, illustrated by P.J. Lynch — This is my third copy of the beloved classic. The illustrations are to die for, and truly makes this reading feel like a wonderful children’s classic.
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo — Unfortunately I never read this as a child! I’ve always wanted to, though, and now seems like the perfect opportunity.
On Black Friday, Penguin had a great discount on their hardcover cloth bound classics that I couldn’t resist. I was able to make the hoarder/collector in me extremely happy by adding to my Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights collection.
Secret Santa Book Swap Party
Finally, for the Secret Santa Book Swap party, my dear friend and Secret Santa gave me these three books: Stella Bain by Anita Shreve (WWI story about an American nurse having lost her memory, who is taken in by an English family), A Book Lover’s Diary (a place to list and organize everything and anything related to books!), and Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier (I’ve wanted to read this ever since I was introduced to Marillier’s work, and my friend loves this book to pieces).
What are some of the books you’ve purchased or received this December?