10/01/14 - What I Got For Christmas: the Book Edition

I didn't get an overwhelming number of books this Christmas, which is probably a good thing as my bookshelves are currently overflowing and it's becoming somewhat hazardous.  I really need to invest in some more book storage but there just isn't the space for it!  Hashtag 'bookwormproblems'...  But I did get a few books for Christmas and then I bought some afterwards to make the most of my last few days of staff discount (bye bye temporary employment, hello job centre!) and this post is going to be a little haul of those.  This post features a lot more non-fiction books than I would ever expect from myself - maybe I'm maturing!

This year, I only specifically asked for a few books and two of these are pictured here.  Having really enjoyed Franco's previous offering Palo Alto, I was interested to get my hands on Actors Anonymous and, even though you can't see it in my photos here and obviously it's not the way to judge a book, the cover is really swish in my opinion.  I'm looking forward to getting stuck into it soon!

A family tradition we've developed over the last few years is that for Christmas, my mum will give me the best book she's read in that year.  It started when I was at university and it was more difficult for us to share books like we do when I'm at home, but we've carried it on...even though now, she just pops her own copy under the tree with the instruction to give it back when I'm done with it!  Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde is this year's offering and I'm really excited to reading it after hearing amazing things from quite a few different people.  It's been described as "part social satire, part romance, part revolutionary thriller" - what could be better?  I suspect this will get a full blog review when I'm finished with it as I'm expecting great things!

Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy by Helen Fielding is one that I could hardly wait to get stuck into when I opened it on Christmas morning.  I don't think I've ever met a girl who doesn't adore the Bridget Jones films and in my opinion, the books are just as good if not funnier in parts.  The third offering in the series didn't disappoint at all; although I read a lot of negative reviews, I personally really liked it...it's very different from the other two in a lot of ways, but Bridget is still as down-to-earth and hilarious as ever.

These next three books are ones that I'd be debating buying for a while and finally got around to when the prospect of staff discount being ripped away from me reared its ugly head!  I've actually already read How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran after borrowing it from a friend who recommended it, but it was such a wonderful book that I couldn't resist snapping it up while I could.  It's the kind of thing I like to have a copy of so I can lend it to every person I know; totally hilarious, very touching and important for more people to read in my opinion.

Purchasing The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl by Belle de Jour caused a few raised eyebrows both from the staff who served me and my family, but I have no shame.  I was a massive fan of the Billie Piper TV adaptation of this book - oh, the hours I lost at university trying to watch the entirety of the four series in a Netflix marathon.  I also bought the second book really cheaply a few years ago and it seemed silly to skip the first book so it's been sat on my shelf untouched ever since.  I'm halfway through it at the moment and it's a really fun read...obviously a bit risque and saucy in places, but mostly just funny and very well-written.

Daily Rituals by Mason Currey is a compilation of the routines and habits of 150 of the greatest minds in history, from Benjamin Franklin to Pablo Picasso.  I've not had much of a chance to look through it yet, but for some reason I am really fascinated by the different ways in which people use their time and get their creative juices flowing so this will be a fun one to flick through..

The next three have no real cohesive link other than that they're much bigger than the others and therefore were easier to photograph together.  A Little Course in...Baking is a really great beginner's guide - because much to my chagrin, I must admit that I am very much a beginner - with easy instructions for recipes which increase in difficulty as you go through the book.  I might replace my 'Baking with Baileys' blog series with 'Hannah Actually Learns How To Bake' as I try new things from this book...we'll see...  (If that's something you'd like to see, comment down below!)

Ready, Set, Novel! was very much an impulse buy and something I probably wouldn't have ever bought without my discount, despite being a book I go and flick through every time I walk past it in a shop.  As it says on the spine, it's a writer's workbook and I believe is linked to NaNoWriMo (which I attempted for the first time in 2013).  It's full of different writing exercises designed to take you from an initial idea to having most aspects of your novel plotted and planned.  It just looked really fun and is full of handy tips, so I grabbed it while I could.

Although I've already listened to the audiobook, I just had to get Him and Me by Jack and Michael Whitehall as I truly believe it's the funniest book I've come across recently.  I like having the physical copy as you get to see embarrassing family photos and little doodles around the actual text.  Utterly hilarious, it's a series of shared anecdotes of a loving if tempestuous father-son relationship.  My mum and I both listened to it recently and have been annoying everyone by talking in references and inside jokes, and then killing ourselves laughing!  If you're a fan of Jack, I couldn't recommend this more.

And last but certainly not least is this utterly stunning book, Les Miserables: From Stage to Screen.  Although I've never seen it onstage, Les Mis is one of my favourite musicals (and incidentally the first I ever performed in with my youth theatre when I was 11) and holds a very special place in my heart.  This book is full of fascinating information and gorgeous pictures about the history of the show and its journey to the big screen, and is definitely one that I look forward to poring over for hours on end.

If a book really takes my breath away, it will often warrant a full review on here but if you want to keep up with the books I'm reading other than that, you can find me on Goodreads.  I've challenged myself to read sixty books in 2014 and I'll be keeping track of everything over there, so add me as a friend if you use Goodreads as well!

What's your latest favourite read?  Let me know in the comments!


  1. I've started using Goodreads! Think I've been a bit overenthusiastic with challenging myself to read 150 books though...xx

    1. Wow, good luck with that! Last year, I challenged myself to read 50 books and achieved it quite easily, so I've upped my game this year :) xxx