Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them – Neil Gaiman.
For Christmas every single year, I ask for books. In fact, ever since I can remember, I’ve always received them from my mum and dad without asking. Perhaps that is why I have an obsession with owning new books and reading so much. It has been etched into my DNA from a very young age. I love every single gift I received this year, but I don’t want to share absolutely everything on the blog, and there is something truly special about a person choosing you a book as their gift, even if it is one you have hinted at for a couple of months.
THE LITTLE BOOK OF HAPPINESS
Edited by Alison Davies. A gift from my brother, James.
Sometimes, I do need a little bit of positive affirmation in my life – a reminder that it ain’t all bad – especially when it comes to career and work. It stresses me out way too much, so this little orange delight can be something of a refreshing safe haven. It already has Live, Love, Laugh embossed on the cover, and whatever you think about that saying, I adore it and have done for plenty of reasons growing up. The book itself gives anecdotes and quotes from famous people around the world; it shares information about gods and goddesses of happiness and love as well as asks direct questions too. It is pocket-sized, perfect for on the road and there for whenever I need a jolt of happiness, or a reminder of the bigger picture.
THE COMPLETE WORKS OF SHAKESPEARE
Edited by W.J. Craig. A gift from my friend, Sophie.
Sophie nearly told me about this present a few times because she was so excited and wasn’t sure if I’d love it, or if I had it already. I can see why she was so excited because I am beyond excited. I don’t have a complete works of Shakespeare and although I haven’t read a complete play since school, I am so happy I have this on my shelf. It is everything Shakespeare has ever written: every play, every poem, every sonnet… All there in one place. It is a 1911 edition which makes it even more special. The paper and binding are beautiful, a rose-gold finish to the paper edges that turn red in the light and deep emerald green on the cover. I will cherish it for the rest of my life, and it will have a pride of place in my ever-growing bookshelf.
By Christina Henry. A gift from fellow bookworm, Kev.
I have Lost Boy by Christina Henry and this one has been on my wish list since before it came out. Christina Henry writes origin stories about characters we know and love already: Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Little Red Riding Hood. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out which adored character will be this story’s protagonist. I have read so much about the ocean and mermaids this year, but I want to keep going because the fascination is strong and I want to know what clever twisted tale this one will turn out to be.
STEPHEN KING ON WRITING
By Stephen King… A gift from my brother, James.
My brother’s words were: every writer and blogger needs this book; I’ve done my research. With only a brief flick through the pages, I know that this book will be detrimental to my writing experience. I already look to Stephen King as the master of being a successful author, even if I haven’t actually read any of his books… so far. I have Stephen King’s writing quotes saved on Pinterest already, so when I say my brother knows quite a bit about me, I ain’t lying. How can people know exactly what you like and need without you telling them?!
By Jessie Burton. A gift from Mum and Dad.
The Muse is one of those books that has been on everybody’s lips for the past couple of years. It is on the Bestsellers shelves at Waterstones and the cover and title itself have intrigued me so much. And yet, I have never bought it myself. I first heard about Jessie Burton through her book, The Miniaturist which is a #1 bestseller. Again, I’ve not read it, but I really want to! From what little I have read about The Muse, it tells the story of a struggling artist from two different timelines and it is about how history and fate play a role in the lives around us and our own. It delves into themes of ambition and desire – things that always come with sacrifice and pain.
THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ
By Heather Morris. A gift from Mum and Dad.
I have heard mixed reviews about this book, but it is one that caught my eye at a trip to Waterstones not so long ago. Mum knows me so well; she always gets the books I want, or even the ones I don’t think I want, but I do really. It is based on the true story of Lale Sokolov, a Jew captured and transported to the concentration camps in Auschwitz. There, he becomes the tattooist of his fellow prisoners because he excels at languages. Whilst imprisoned and working there, he meets a woman – Gita – and will do anything to escape with her and have a better life. Since reading The Book Thief earlier this year, I’ve become more interested in the lives of the Jews during WW2, about the history of the world and how grateful I am to be where we are today thanks to the veterans across the globe.
THE GIRL IN THE TOWER
By Katherine Arden. A gift from Mum and Dad.
I read Katherine Arden’s debut last year and fell in love with the whimsical, powerful way this fairy-tale was written. The second book has been on my to-read list for a long time and I finally have it in my hands! I have never forgotten Vasya’s story, her determination and her light. I have never forgotten the Russian woods that are the wilderness dressed in snow. Arden’s lyrical writing is beautiful and innocent and I cannot wait to read about the adventures that headstrong Vasya has in this sequel.
WICKED LIKE A WILDFIRE
By Lana Popovic. A gift from fellow bookworm, Kev.
I have never heard anything about this book, or this author. It is always good to have a Russian Roulette kinda book; one that is a surprise because it has been hand-picked by somebody else and seemingly plucked out of thin air. From what I’ve just read about it, I’m certain I will love it. It is for fans of Leigh Bardugo, and it is no wonder Kev bought me something along the same lines as her work because we both adore her! This story is the beginning of a duology about twin sisters with magic powers of manipulation and beauty. They must keep them a secret in the small seaside town where they live, and they must never fall in love… We all know what will happen, don’t we? After their mother dies, they need to know more and frankly, so do I.
HIS DARK MATERIALS
By Philip Pullman. A gift from Warren.
Warren was outraged that I have never, ever, in my life, read a book by Philip Pullman. He asked how I did English Literature and how am I a bookworm? Quite a few times. It was funny. It must be the same as the whole Harry Potter thing, because I’ve never gotten around to reading those books either. So, as one of my lovely Christmas presents, he bought me the collection of the three books: Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. I don’t want to read too much about it, but from what I’ve heard, it is a stunning, magical trilogy that I probably should have read a very long time ago. At least this way, I can enjoy it as a “grown-up” and appreciate the writing as well as the story.
MUSE OF NIGHTMARES
By Laini Taylor. A gift from Mum and Dad.
I got Strange the Dreamer for Christmas last year. It is a mesmerising story. The world Laini Taylor has created is beautiful, as is the relationship between Lazlo Strange and Sarai. Like I said in my review of the first book, I expected the story to end tied up in a neat little bow due to the sheer size of the book, but I know that there will be so many more adventures in its sequel, and so much more beautiful imagery too. I wanted to keep on reading the story, so I reckon I’ve waited long enough to finally get my hands on its final part.
THE QUEENS OF INNIS LEAR
By Tessa Grafton. A gift from Mum and Dad.
Mum and I came across this book during one of our many trips to Waterstones last month. I like to go a lot, even if I don’t end up buying any books. On this particular trip, I genuinely wasn’t looking in the interest of my own bookshelf, but low and behold, I found an intriguing book for me to read, and Mum remembered and bought it for me for Christmas! It just sounds so regal and so ruthless that I wanted to sit in the corner of the shop and begin to devour it. There is only one crown, but there are three sisters who want to rule. All out war is upon of the lands of Innis Lear. I wonder if any of them will become allies, or if the crown tears them all apart.
So there are all the books I received this year. I did so well with them all! I have so many stories to read and worlds to fall in love with, not to mention characters. I can’t wait to get started and I hope I get through every single one over the next year.
What books did you receive this year?
Love, Faye xo