As much as I want to slow this period of time down, I have to face the facts. The holiday season is upon us and I need to get busy figuring out what to give my family and friends. I always start with books, selfishly I suppose, because that is what I love to receive! There are so many good books out there right now to put on a wish list, either to give or receive for the holidays.
Here are a few that I have my eye on
Lots of great home decor and entertaining books
This guide to decorating with books will appeal to the bibliophile in your life
This one is perfect for the Anglophile who is crazy about beautiful old English homes
Katie Ridder's design book is filled with luscious photos and ideas to inspire anyone who loves to decorate their home
Another great book for the design addict, this book by Jeffrey Bilhuber has received great praise.
Each home within the book is presented as a story, relating the way in which the families live within the spaces.
Martha's newest book is gorgeous and filled with inspiring ideas for entertaining
Biographies and memoirs that look so good
This book by Diane Keaton about her life and the life of her mother is getting great reviews. Diane works from the 85 scrapbook-like journals that her mother kept, and weaves her own life together with that of her mother. I cannot wait to read this one about one of my favorite actresses.
Another beautifully written book by Joan Didion on the topic of loss and grief, this time regarding her daughter.
This book about Hemingway covers so much more than the title implies. The author Paul Hendrickson has written it as a reconsideration of Hemingway that begins after the Paris years in the 1920's. After a year of reading many books on the Jazz Age and the Lost Generation, including "The Paris Wife," I am looking forward to this book and its exploration of Hemingway's unhappy and unsettled life.
Cozy cookbooks to curl up with over a cup of tea
"The Great Food" series from Penguin brings us some of the finest food writing from the last 400 years; this would be a great gift for a cookbook collector. Here are three of the books in the series:
A treasure trove of culinary wisdom from the homesteads of a still rural, pioneering United States
Recipes from the eighteenth-century landlord of White Hart Inn in Lewes, Sussex
Before Mrs. Beeton there was Eliza Acton, whose crisp, clear, simple style and foolproof instructions established the format for modern cookery writing. Includes such English classics as suet pudding, raspberry jam, lemonade, and mincemeat.
Filled with beautiful photos of his vegetable garden behind his townhouse in the heart of London, as well as his creative recipes, Nigel Slater's new book is an ode to fresh produce. Part gardener's handbook, part cookbook, it will have you craving all the luscious vegetable dishes he includes.
Sophie Dahl's latest cookbook is filled with cozy and nostalgic English food and absolutely beautiful photos.
New histories and novels
A magnificent biography of Catherine, Empress of Russia, and her quest for power and love
This is the companion book to the popular television series "Downton Abbey." I bought it in England and it is a gem. The author Jessica Fellowes writes about the the characters and storylines of both series (part two is coming out in January), the cast and crew, how the show was put together with costumes and locations, and the context of how life actually was at the time. The series has a great script, beautiful location, and gorgeous actors and costumes. The book allows us to look at it all in great detail. There is sumptuous photography and period illustrations. If you like the idea of immersing yourself in Edwardian England, this book is for you. I am very excited about this one, since the second part of the series is airing on television in January!
The great mystery writer P.D. James has written a new book, a sequel to "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen. It is a murder mystery set in 1802 and is coming out in the first week of December. Hopefully it will be a fresh and original take on a beloved classic. It seems that if anyone can pull this off, it would be P.D. James.
A book for the mystery lover and Jane Austen fan rolled into one.
The new novel by Julian Barnes just won the 2011 Man Booker Prize.
Ann Patchett's newest book
I read "Middlesex" a long time ago and am looking forward to the latest from Jeffrey Eugenides
So many great books to give as gifts this holiday season. I am looking forward to curling up here and doing some serious reading this winter.
What are you putting on your list this holiday season?