Three years ago, when my youngest was just a baby, and I was sleep-deprived, book-deprived and- it felt to me- sanity-deprived, I made a pledge to myself. In an attempt to return to my bookaholic ways (in a previous life, before children, I was an English student who could devour a book in an afternoon), I decided that I would read one book a month. For the sake of accountability, I chose to record those books via this blog. Thus, The Year in Books was born. read more
Last year, I wrote about our family Christmas Eve tradition for the giving of pyjamas and books. Each of my boys is each given a single present to open in front of a roaring fire. Inside is a new pair of pyjamas, to cuddle up in on the most exciting night of the year, ready to tiptoe downstairs on Christmas morning, and a book with a festive theme. Our growing collection of these, mostly gathered from charity shops throughout the year, is stored away in a box in the loft, brought down at the start of advent.
I received a truly lovely response to the post, with people commenting that they too gave pyjamas, or a book, or both on Christmas Eve, and giving me some fabulous suggestions for festive books. As a result, I thought that I would once again share with you my book choices, in the hope that they may inspire you, or that you in turn may inspire me with some book choices of your own!
I chose Helen Dunmore’s A Spell of Winter as my November read and I quite simply adored it. It was atmospheric, melancholy, layered and gripping. If you’re looking for a wintery read, I can highly reccomnd it. For December, I’ve chosen an old favourite, Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood, which I’ve read, and listened to, many times, but will never tire of. I love this old copy of it. I have a feeling I may have borrowed it from my Dad, who is also a big fan. A couple of years ago I wrote about my first visit to Laugharne, Dylan Thomas’s home, and supposedly the inspiration for the town in Under Milk Wood. Since that visit I’ve returned more than once, it’s a truly magical place. Like the book, it improves with every re-visit.
In October, I read The Book of Hygge by Louisa Thomsen Brits. It was a beautifully written, intelligent and fascinating book. I really recommend it to anyone who wants to discover more about the concept of hygge. It’s a word that seems to be appearing everywhere of late, but it wasn’t until reading this book that I had any sense of what hygge is, and its deeper meaning which goes far beyond the brewing of coffee and and the lighting of candles, and encompasses a way of living and interacting, of noticing and creating moments of contentment, connection and happiness. For anyone who’s keen to learn more, Louisa Thomsen Brits is giving a talk in London later this month as part of the 91 Magazine West Elm popup. You can find out more here.
I’ve chosen Helen Dunmore’s A Spell of Winter as my November read. It was a recommendation from my friend Sara during one of The Year in Books twitter chats. Its one of those novels that I really feel as if I should have read before now, so I’m finally putting that right.