All I want for Christmas…

11 Dec

One of the perks of working in a bookshop is that you have plenty of time to think about what to buy people for Christmas. Last year, everyone in my family got books. As it happens, my family aren’t very good at buying presents for each other, so when they came to me to ask what they should get, they got more books. The upside of this is that our presents were very easy to stack under the tree. It looked so very neat.

Now that I work part time, I don’t have so much time to think about other people, only myself. And there’s lots of lovely stuff that I’m hoping will appear under my the tree this Christmas. First off, I’m very tempted by Alexandra Harris’s Romantic Moderns. With tons of beautiful illustrations from artists of the period, it appeals to my interest in the modern period in general and more specifically, the Bloomsbury group and their contemporaries. I think Virginia Woolf might be one of my all time favourite authors. Another book that’s caught my eye is Cafe Society: 1920 to 1960, which I’m hoping will be full of references to some of literature and arts I love, like the Lost Generation of Fitzgerald and Hemingway (their characters do seem to spend a lot of time in parisian cafes), the west coast beatniks and the French exitentialists.

Another book I’ve got my eye on is Just my Type: A Book about Fonts. I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but it is a very nice cover. And I’ve always been a bit of font geek. To accompany this one, I’m also intrigued by Simon Heffer’s Strictly English. As a post-grad, nothing could be more helpful than a definitive guide to the English language in order to give my written work that extra edge over other candidates – I still find myself erring over things like sentence structure and grammar.

I’m also aching to read the new Paul Auster novel Sunset Park; Invisible was one of the best books I read last year and I’m interested to see how Auster’s writing develops considering his position as one of the US’s greatest living writers. If I had any time to read them, I’d also love a copy of Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom (just to see what all the fuss is about) and the new translation of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. I started reading the latter years ago, in French, and never finished it. Now I’m halfway through A Sentimental Education and Madame Bovary feels like unfinished business that must be tended to. On a similar thread, after having read Anna Karenina for the bookclub this year, I’m also quite interested in reading Tolstoy: A Russian Life by Rosamund Bartlett. I did a little bit of research into Tolstoy’s life for the group and discovered that…well, I knew nothing about him.

These are just a few of the books that I’ve had my eye on. There’s so many lovely books that I would love to give as gifts to someone, I’m just not sure who. Like the beautiful new hardback editions of Fitzgerald that we’ve got on the shelf – I’m particularly enamoured with the Flappers and Philosophers one. Not to mention tons of gorgeous new cookery books and a few great fashion and photography tomes.

I just thought of something else I’d like for Christmas…some bookshelves…

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