Monday, November 21, 2011

Making a List...

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?


  1. VERY COZY and I want ALL Of those titles.

  2. Wow! What a wonderful collection of books. I have them on my list and will be getting many of them for myself and others for Christmas! I love reading others recommendations for books! Thank you for the wonderful ideas.

  3. The Romantic English Home. Sigh. That's the one for me.

  4. I adore books, and many of these are on my list. I always believe that books make a wonderful gift, for adults and children. I have 3 very young grandsons, and I love writing inscriptions to them inside the books I give them. I hope it gives them pleasure and helps them to remember how much I love them in the years to come. And your cozy reading spot is just beautiful.

  5. Your book wish list is marvelous, I see a few I may have to add to my list. I would love to receive the Romantic English Home, love the style and I think I would enjoy Diane Keaton's new book. She is one of my favorite actresses. It's always interesting to see what everyone is reading.

    The French Hutch

  6. Ahh... books! I can be just as happy on a Friday night staying home with a good book than being out on the town seeing the sights. Romantic English Homes really has my curiosity piqued; I have not seen it before!

    Thank you for visiting my blog! I am so happy you did, & I'm so happy to "meet" you!

    Newest follower,

  7. Hi Sunday- I love your blog!! Can't wait to check out the new book of VW letters, and the Diane Keaton looks great. Your photos are gorgeous! What a treat to read your blog....

  8. on my list (among others) - one of my favorite authors, Adam Gopnik (long time writer with the new yorker), has just released a new book "The table comes first:family, france, and the meaning of food." have you read his books, "paris to the moon" and "through the children's gate"? wonderful books.

  9. Patricia, I think books as gifts for your grandchildren are a wonderful idea, especially with the inscriptions. They will last for years to come.

    Pamela, I knew you would want "Romantic English Homes." That's one for me also.

    Emily, my daughter is reading the Diane Keaton book and loves it.

    Keri, it's so nice to "meet" you also. I think you would love "Romantic English Homes," now that I have read your blog and your great posts on beautiful homes.

    Galli, the VW letters are still in print, and I think the 2nd, 3rd, ann 4th volumes are the best, though they are all good.

    "bringingtravelhome," I have not read Adam Gopnik. His book sounds intriguing, and right up my alley. I love France and cooking, so I will definitely add this one to my list. Thank you for the recommendation!

  10. Oh my - quite the list!!! I want many of these as well!! The Katie Ridder is amazing - my favorite design book of the season - if you're interested I wrote a review of it recently, as well as the Bilhuber. I have an interesting story for you about the Massies. I went to school with their children and evidently the reason they started researching and ultimately writing about Russian history is that their son is a hemophiliac which led them to the Romanovs due to the prevalence of the disease in the family. Oh you are getting me into so much trouble here!! Wishing you and your family a lovely Thanksgiving!!

  11. I agree, I love books too! I just created a list of books that are on my wishlist and some to share with my readers. I recently looked at the Nook Color but there is nothing like a book in hand is there?
    xoxo, B

  12. Just checking out all your recommendations Sunday for my Brown Paper Book Club...we have such similar taste in books! I am listening to Then Again on audio CD and loving it. So nice to hear Diane's voice as I drive along, bought Sophie Dahl's book today and made a note on Books Made a Home when I saw it in a book shop today. Looks wonderful!

    Jeanne xx