Tuesday 12 December 2023

Yule Gifts: Beautiful Books for the Magical Season

Here's a picture of a Christmas tree made from books at London's St Pancras station. I love it because I love books - and the Icelandic tradition of giving books to friends and family on Christmas Eve so they can start reading them that night. It's called jolabokaflod, and started during WWII but continues to this day. 

For a few years I've done something similar with my husband. When present shopping in early December, the last one we go to is a bookstore. We buy each other an early Yuletide gift of fiction, then go to a coffee shop and start reading. This year we bought our seasonal reads at the British Library when we visited last week for the Fantasy exhibition. The British Library is just across the road from St Pancras.

In this post I'll share what we bought and also a few other suggestions to give a loved one the gift of a beautiful book this festive season.

Three for Two Deal on Seasonal Murders and Weirdness at the British Library

There's three books for the price of two at the British Library and you can see the ones my husband and I got photographed above: Haunters at the Hearth: Earie Tales for Christmas Nights, Spirits of the Season: Christmas Hauntings, and The White Priory Murders. I always enjoy the collections of classic tales published by the BL and I'm looking forward to these. If you're interested too, you don't have to visit the library in person, you can order them via the BL online shop

A Curious Invitation: The 40 Greatest Parties in Literature by Suzette Field

I recently finished reading A Curious Invitation: The 40 Greatest Parties in Literature by Suzette Field who co-organises London Month of the Dead and arranged some unusual parties for The Last Tuesday Society. The book's about great parties in literature. As the description says:
"Some of these parties are depictions of real events, like the Duchess of Richmond’s Ball on the eve of battle with Napoleon in Thackeray’s Vanity Fair; others draw on the author’s experience of the society they lived in, such as Lady Metroland’s party in Evelyn Waugh’s Vile Bodies; while yet others come straight from the writer’s bizarre imagination, like Douglas Adams’ flying party above an unknown planet from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy."

It also includes pagan parties from ancient history and mythology. Suzette gave me a copy of her book a couple of months ago but I saved it until December to get me in the mood for the party season. I loved it. You can find copies on Amazon.

Leap! - A Pagan Historical Gay Romance by Laura Perry

Laura Perry is a friend of mine who is a very talented writer. Here's the description of her new novel Leap!

"Can Adelphos forgive himself and open his heart to love once again?

​"The city of Phaistos in ancient Crete is a bustling, prosperous place, where Adelphos son of Ida has the honor of being the Cattle Master, overseeing the herds that provide bulls for the temple’s sacred leaping festivals. ​Despite that honor, despite his skill and popularity and success, Adelphos is not a happy man. He bears a grief that hides a shameful secret, one he could never admit to the man he loved. Now that man lies dead beneath the sea thanks to Adelphos’s anger.

"When an unusually talented bull leaper arrives at Phaistos, Adelphos is torn between his desire for the new man, his guilt-plagued commitment to his dead lover – and his fear of the powerful goddess he has offended. ​When even his closest friends and family can’t get through to him, will this new love be powerful enough to break the hold of the anguish in his heart?"

​I've not read it yet, but Laura tells me the novel is a gentle tale of grief and redemption. The story is very lightly steamy, heavily angsty, and full of longed-for happy endings.

You can find Leap! here: https://www.lauraperryauthor.com/leap-a-love-story

Run with the Pack by Raymond G. Taylor 

Raymond G Taylor is a fellow author from my local area who I met at the Beckenham Book Festival this summer. He kindly gave me a copy of his novel Run with the Pack. Here's the description:

"Powerful wildlife adventure. A wolf fights to survive the harsh northern winter. Cast out from her pack, this fearsome hunter pitches herself against rival wolves, prey animals and the unforgiving forest. Written with authenticity, humour, and true feeling. A journey of growth, discovery and survival that will keep you enthralled from the start."

You can find Run with the Pack on Amazon

Irish Mythology: The Children of Danu by Daniel Allison

This new book is a retelling of the mythological cycle of Irish mythology, full of epic battles, betrayals, quests and magic. Here's the description: 

"These are the tales of Lugh and Balor, of the Dagda and the Morrigan, and of the titanic battles fought for Ireland by waves of conquering peoples. These tales were once hard work; no longer. It’s a visceral, wildly fantastical and deeply emotional ride."

You can find Irish Mythology: The Children of Danu on Amazon

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