Friday, December 26, 2014

Books for Christmas

Here are the books I got for Christmas. Not many, I'm sorry to say. I usually order more, but I forgot this year.
The Susan Branch book I've wanted for over a years. Knock at a Star was recommended by my blog buddy, GretchenJoanna. The Secret Staircase is by Jill Barklem; I love her books about hedge-row mice and adventures. The Railway Children has been a favorite movie of mine for many years, and at last! I get to read the book! I read several chapters in it yesterday. The movie is very faithful to the book, except the movie somehow ... inexplicably ... adds depth of character and humor to some of the people, especially Perks the porter. The actors must have been perfectly selected for their parts. And the St. Patrick's Day tune for Bobbie's birthday song is not the same tune as on the movie. I love the one on the movie. But the book is delightful, and the person whose humor and whimsey come out in the book, is the author! At one point she parenthetically tells us that she's tired of calling Roberta by that long name, when nobody else does, and she will forthwith simply call her Bobbie. Ha!
And then for some reason I switched over and took a glance in Susan Branch's book, A Fine Romance. And that, as they say, was that!
What a delight! If you don't know Susan's blog, you probably should. I love her blog, but there's something much more personal about holding her book. I think her blog is personal until I go to make a comment, and I realize that over 800 other adoring ladies have done so before me. Sigh.
But I love a book in the hand.
The inside cover ~ Susan loves music and keepsakes. The book is more like a travel diary with a thousand little tidbits and mementos tucked inside. She wrote the diary while on a trip with her man, Joe, on the QE2 ocean liner and for two months in England, so it has a lovely, "present-tense" feel.
Susan has a relaxed, very personal, happy writing style that makes her seem a friend. She's a watercolor illustrator, so all the painting is her own. She also has her own little calligraphy that she uses throughout the book, making it rather like a letter she's written to you. It is very hand-done.
It is darling, as is everything she does. All I can say about Susan is that although she is in her 60s, she feels exactly like a little girl in her heart, and I don't think it's just for publicity. I think she's really that way. She loves England, Beatrix Potter, Jane Austen, china, tea, old houses, and 'most everything I love.
The calligraphy in black pen is larger than normal book type, so this is an easy read on the eyes. I'm sad to say I'm already on page. 87, which means I'll finish the book all too soon! She added an interactive appendix to the book, on her blog, so you can go there and read more (with links) about various items in the book. What a good idea!
And shame on Susan because she's talking about the book she was reading on the journey across the ocean on the QE2, Elizabeth Von Arnim's Elizabeth and Her German Garden, the writer of Enchanted April, the movie version of which I am an ardent devotee. (Some of you will understand all this; some might not.) Of course, this made me want a copy. There's an audio version of the book in its entirety, right here. But I'm a visual person, and I need a book in hand; audio books do not work for me. After several descriptions of the garden book (or, as Susan calls it, her Elizabeth book), I popped over to my favorite online used book seller, Abe Books, and bought the garden book, and Enchanted April as well. I've been meaning to buy it anyway. Abe Books is so easy and cheap. Each book cost $3.46, or something close to it, with free shipping. I always get almost any book I want for that price there. So for $6.85 I have secured hours more of reading pleasure. (Happy Sigh) I can't drive to New Bern and back for $6.85!

I put off buying books. I put off buying everything! Adam will grin and wince when he reads that. I wanted Susan's book when she first talked about it on her blog. I told my mother about the book, and she got it last Christmas. But I have it now! And I'll have the book-originals of two of my all-time favorite movies evah. It's a good Christmas for books.

I'll post (hopefully) more about our Christmas with photos of groggy children and ripped paper, but for now I wanted to inform my book-loving friends of what I'm sinking my teeth into. Because book lovers read after Christmas, yes they do. We look with satisfaction at our stack of reading like a chocolate addict gazes on her stash of Ghirandelli. I'm going back to my reading -- seeya!


  1. I love Susan Branch, too! She's so good!
    I like your book choices!

  2. Ahhh...The Railway Children....I live a few minutes walk from where Edith Nesbit lived when she wrote the book and I have been on the train line in Yorkshire which was used in the film. I even went through the tunnel which features dramatically in the book. It made the hairs stand up on my neck. I have just read a book which might appeal to mother of teenage daughters. It is "Reconstructing Amelia" by Kimberly McCreight. It is quite a harrowing read and nothing like "The Railway Children".

  3. I have the Railway Children on my Kindle. I'm looking forward to it. The Susan Branch book is beautiful. I'm going to visit Abe Books and see what I find. At that price who could resist? It's been a while since I've purchased a book, so maybe... Thanks for these delicious book suggestions! Happy reading!!

  4. Ah, MK, again you have led me skipping through your flowery thoughts. I am going to get those books and join you - well some... I have to work on Howard's book about school and practice, but I can take off a few moments every now and then. Hm, switching back and forth from the lovely, sweet sights of England to the dusty, bawling cowpens of central Florida... Yep, that'll work! Love,

  5. Loved The Railway Children, and also Susan Branch's book. I got some Miss Read books -- yay! and P.D. James and a Wendell Berry. One consolation when my son and his wife head home tomorrow will be diving into these books!

  6. I have Susan's book, too, and I love it so much! What a delightful selection of reads here, M.K.!


Hello! I hope you leave a word ~ I will get back to it as soon as I can!