Christmas Book Binge!

Christmas 2013 made me realise just how lucky I am to have so many friends like you who know exactly what I’d want for Christmas. You put in effort to figure out a proper Hanna present and wrote lovely little cards, wrapped up presents and were generally all lovely people.

I wasn’t able to reciprocate properly this year, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to show off what I’ll be reading in 2014!

So, in the order in which they dropped through my letter-box:

Ellie sent me a copy of Rabid by Bill Wasik and The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction by Alan Jacobs. The other Ellie read and reviewed Rabid way back in September, which made both Original Ellie (I know, I know. You don’t get this problem w

ith ‘Hanna!’) and I desperate to read it. When we went on our epic binge in Waterstones, she was lucky enough to snap up the single copy they had!

Yes yes, Ellie. I know. It’s because of PenumbraGate, as it shall now be known. Anyway, she sent me a copy of my very own because a) it has Meaning and stuff but mostly because b) I actually, you know, want to read it.

In addition, we’ve discussed the hours we spend faffing around on the Internet not doing a whole lot, so she also sent a beautiful copy of The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction. Who doesn’t love a book about books when it’s dark and miserable outside?

Next up, Charlotte. We met up just before Christmas to go for food and a few drinks and ended up at Cosmos in Leeds. It’s one of those world buffet things, where there are lots of different stations and you can choose what you want to eat. The desserts alone took up the full length of the room! Much giggling and chatting went on, but we swapped presents!

I was under no illusions that I’d be able to wait until Christmas, so I rationed them out the next day. An hour of cleaning = one present. Hey, it worked! I ended up with a tidy house, Feed by Mira Grant and One Summer by Bill Bryson.

Ahh, Feed. I read Parasite recently and haven’t actually managed to stop talking about it, so Charlotte bought me the first book in Mira Grant’s original series. I’m so desperate to read it, but haven’t been able to justify buying it, so I’m ridiculously happy that I get to delve into it soon!

Click on the image to see the store.

One Summer is absolutely huge, but looks great. It’s about 1927 in America – talking pictures, Charles Lindbergh, Al Capone, etc etc. US history isn’t usually my thing at all, but this looks fascinating.

Laura went completely off-wishlist and bought me a beautiful Pride and Prejudice brooch. I can’t show you the exact one because it’s downstairs on a jumper that I’m too sleepy to go and fetch, but it looks something like the photo to the right.

I’ve worn this with everything imaginable. I wore it in a child custody hearing yesterday, to the fascination of my client. Or she may have been peering at my breasts, who knows. Point is, I love this brooch and I love Laura for going out of her way to find something Hanna-ful.

Speaking of effort, Bex actually baked cookies and sent them to me in a little box. I’m going to say that again, in case you weren’t paying attention – she posted me cookies that she had baked. Obviously they didn’t survive anywhere nearly long enough for me to photograph and post them now (nom nom nom) but they were delicious.

If that weren’t enough, she actually sent a book as well. I’ve been interested in Harry Houdini and illusions since I read an excellent biography, The Secret Life of Houdini by William Kalush and Larry Sloman. He was an arrogant man but he had principles, and he ferociously opposed the fake spiritualists who pretended to speak to the deceased for payment. He wrote this book to expose their methods, so the public wouldn’t be duped any further.

It’s a small book, but I bet it’s fascinating. 

Hannah, whose name I think I’ve spelt wrong every time I type it, sent me an unexpected present too. I recently reviewed the Deadpool Killustrated graphic novel, where Deadpool jumps into classic books to eliminate the characters that modern superheroes are based upon. Hannah sent me the graphic novel that comes before this, Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe. Cheerful, non?

Finally, in the photo above you’ll also see a copy of The Goldfinch. What you can’t see is that it’s actually signed. Eeeee! Lewis’ parents bought me a signed Donna Tartt first edition and pretty much made me the happiest girl in the world. I’m sure Lewis prodded them in the direction of the book, but come on! 

I wanted to read the book anyway as I loved The Secret History, but having a lovely signed version is an added bonus! The downside is that I won’t dare put it in my bag…

So there we have the books I received that I actually want to read. However, I was also given some book-related gifts and some special editions of books I already own.

Where to start? Okay, so the mug you see with the 13 on the front is actually a Pride and Prejudice mug (see if you can spot the theme of these presents, by the way). It’s a Literary Transport cup that announces the ‘stations’ you’d call at if you went through the novel by train – Longbourn, Pemberley, etc. It is AWESOME.

The two books underneath it are different editions of Pride and Prejudice – #69 and #70 actually. I am going to catalogue them properly this year, I swear. If you didn’t know I collect different editions, then this must be your first visit to Booking in Heels. *waves*

Under those are the two Penguin Clothbounds I requested, Great Expectations and Anna Karenina. I have a rule that I don’t buy these editions until I’ve actually read the book, so as I finished the Dickens a few months ago, I could finally add it to my collection! The Anna Karenina is a new release, I think, which is why I didn’t buy it earlier. My Grandma left a lovely message inside too.

Finally, Lewis bought me the Pride and Prejudice playset! Can you believe that such a thing exists!? It has little cardboard figures of the characters and houses on little stands and comes with a cardboard Learning to Count with Pride and Prejudice book. Only he didn’t realise that and bought me the book as well.

Unlike most boyfriends, who would have merely returned the second book… Lewis presented me with both and announced that our future child can have the surplus copy to chew on and be introduced to Jane Austen early. And then I died of happy.

Wow, long post! What bookish gifts did you receive this Christmas?


  1. Ellie says:

    Awwwww, you had such a lovely bookish Christmas! I only got one book from anyone besides bloggy friends – the second Loki book by Mike Vasich, from my sister – but you guys ROCKED with your bookish gifts. And cookies, obviously, which lasted about two days because they were so yummy. AND YOU HAVE THE GOLDFINCH AT LAST, YAAAAAY! My stepdad got the new Bryson for Christmas too (my idea, but not FROM me) so I can't wait to steal that for a read. 🙂

    Eagerly awaiting your thoughts on Feed – I got Parasite for Christmas after you rave reviewed it – and yaaaaaay transport mug. We nearly stocked those at the shop but I'll be honest, some of our customers had trouble with the standard Classic mugs. I'd have spent more time explaining them to bemused muppets than actually selling them, I think. 🙁

    1. admin says:

      Is it bad that my first response to this was 'Oh, Ellie's up late!'

      You got Parasite? YAY! I get all anxious whenever one you buys a book I liked it, in case you don't like it and I oversold it and you hate me forever… *hyperventilates*

      Really? But how can you have trouble with one of those Classics mugs? :s

  2. Ellie says:

    So many Pride and Prejudice goodies! Looks like you had a really bookish Christmas which is the best kind of Christmas, obviously.

    I may have to treat myself to that edition of Anna Karenina…

  3. Laura says:

    Arrrgh, just left a whole comment but it got deleted :(. The gist was YAY BOOKS, so yeah. That. ALSO I got that Anna Karenina for Xmas toooo, isn't it pretty?

  4. Yey, Christmas! I'm so pleased you has such a perfectly bookish time – the Pride and Prejudice gifts are adorable! Especially the brooch that Laura bought you – that's the cutest! And a signed first edition of The Goldfinch?! That's amazing! I got The Goldfinch too and I absolutely can't wait to read it – I've heard such good things and I love the little flappy Goldfinch picture in the front and everything about it.

    Every year, I forget how wonderful book bloggers are and then it gets near Christmas and it's just so lovely being reminded! I totally love the mug that you got me – it was so thoughtful and lovely 🙂 Plenty of warm and fuzzies this year!

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