Friday, 19 December 2014

30+ days of books for christmas - the full list

And that's a wrap! My 30 days of books for Christmas has taken more than 30 days to put together and includes 32 publications - but what a list! I've been putting this post together with a warm fuzzy glow, thinking about all the wonderful titles featured during this series. From the multi-award winning Narrow Road to the Deep North to the exquisite Stanley and the Hot Air Balloon, there's something for everyone. I can't wait for my Christmas presents - something tells me I'll have my head in a book, with more to blog about in 2015! Roll on the New Year and more great reads to come.

The complete list of 30+ days of books for Christmas:
  1.  Delicious Ruth Reichl
  2. We are all completely beside ourselves Karen Joy Fowler
  3. Stanley and the Hot Air Balloon Kate Bruning 
  4. Big Little Lies Liane Moriarty
  5. Confessions of a Qantas Flight Attendant Owen Beddall
  6. The Tea Chest Josephine Moon
  7. The Mapmaker Chronicles - Race to the End of the World AL Tait
  8. The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes Anna McPartlin
  9. The Good House Ann Leary
  10. The Signature of All Things Elizabeth Gilbert
  11. The Invention of Wings Sue Monk Kidd
  12. The Age of Miracles Karen Thompson Walker
  13. The Art of Adapting Cassandra Dunn
  14. My Salinger Year Joanna Rakoff
  15. The One Plus One Jojo Moyes
  16. The Vacationers Emma Straub
  17. Big Stone Gap Adriana Trigiani
  18. The Relatives Came Cynthia Rylant
  19. How Lucky You Are Kristyn Kusek Lewis 
  20. Not That Kind of Girl Lena Dunham 
  21. Dork Diaries Rachel Renee Russell
  22. Where'd you go Bernadette? Maria Semple
  23. Burial Rites Hannah Kent
  24. God is an Astronaut Alyson Foster
  25. We are called to rise Laura McBride
  26. The Narrow Road to the Deep North Richard Flanagan
  27. Think Like a Publisher Randy Davila
  28. An American in Oz Sara James
  29. A recipe for dreaming Bryce Courtenay
  30. Father Christmas Raymond Briggs
And two bonus books!
Gardens are for Living Judy Kameon
Pippi Longstocking Astrid Lindgren, illustrated by Lauren Child

Collage image credits as follows:
Top Row Pippi Longstocking, Not That Kind of Girl, God is an Astronaut, An American in Oz
Middle Row Where'd you go Bernadette, The Vacationers, Big Stone Gap, Burial Rites
Bottom Row We are called to rise, Stanley and the Hot Air Balloon, The One Plus One, Think Like a Publisher

30 days of books for christmas - pippi longstocking

Could you imagine a more perfect collaboration than Astrid Lindgren and Lauren Child? Children's classic Pippi Longstocking has been updated in a large picture book format with beautiful, bright illustrations. Child, of Charlie and Lola fame, has created a visual feast, with Lindgren's story just as relevant and appealing today as when it was first published. My daughter Sophie (8) is mad on Pippi Longstocking's individuality, captured by the idea of someone who sleeps upside down in her bed,  feet on the pillow and head under the covers. Soph has whipped through her copy (a belated birthday present from Auntie Kate) carting it around and reading whenever she can. When a book so completely absorbs your child, it's sure to be a hit with other children too - there's still time to put one in the Christmas stocking (pardon the pun!) and enjoy!

PS Cover image via here and Picmonkey collage.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

30 days of books for christmas - gardens are for living

The warmer weather turns our attentions outdoors. Parties, barbecues, drinks with friends and loved ones. Cast your eyes around the garden - does the setting match your ideal, or are you still hazy on the design front? Look no further than Gardens are for Living if you need help! Judy Kameon's book has fabulous ideas for all kinds of spaces. It's an American publication, but with many plants relevant to Australian conditions including succulents and our very own kangaroo paws.
Just stunning! I love the path interspersed with the ground cover thyme. And the door! Anyone familiar with photos of my own house will know I love a brightly coloured door. The tiles and plantings on the right are amazing too - I've seen what a difference variations in height have made in our garden. So much inspiration here - this copy is courtesy of our local library, but I plan on tracking one down for our own bookshelves. It looks like we'll have a busy time ahead - how about you?!

PS Cover image via here, bottom left and right. Picmonkey collages.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

30 days of books for christmas - raymond briggs' father christmas

Raymond Briggs' Father Christmas books were a highlight of my childhood and contributed to my great love of reading. That the big man was portrayed as cantankerous workaday hero was so delightfully subversive it appealed to my sense of humour. There wasn't a lot of text, but together with the pictures, each page told such a huge story. Behind the scenes Father Christmas was just like any one of us - stoking the fire, cooking dinner, leaving behind his cat and dog while he went to work. Perhaps the fact he had reindeer to feed was a little bit different, but all part of the big picture! Still in print over 40 years later, make Raymond Briggs part of your Christmas - guaranteed for a lifetime of reading pleasure.

Did you have any of Raymond Briggs' books when you were a child? Do you still have your well-thumbed copies or have you had to buy them again?!

PS Image via here.

Monday, 15 December 2014

30 days of books for christmas - a recipe for dreaming

How often do you give yourself permission to dream?
Acclaimed Australian novelist, Bryce Courtenay, said 'The combination of learning to dream and getting into the habit of asking yourself questions is, I believe, the beginning of a way to live a happy and original life.' His small treasure of a book, A recipe for dreaming, has been on my bookshelves since 1996 when I heard him talk in Geelong. The charismatic creative signed my copy and waxed lyrical about the importance of dreaming in our lives - something I realise I've been too busy for lately and, on the occasion of my 41st birthday, plan to reclaim next year.

'If you don't know where you're going, then how will you get there? Visualise! Make pictures in your mind. See the destination. Imagine your arrival. Dream in perfect detail. See yourself the way you want to be when you arrive. See yourself arriving. Make yourself a road map and study it every day until you know the way and the destination by heart.' (Bryce Courtenay, A recipe for dreaming)

Courtenay, who passed away in 2012, leaves behind a wonderful written legacy. A recipe for dreaming is just as relevant today as it was when first published in 1994. A beautiful stocking filler, track one down for the family this Christmas.

Friday, 12 December 2014

30 days of books for christmas - an american in oz

From New York to Australia's Wombat State Forest... Sara James' life is vastly different to the one she left behind as a television anchor in the US. This memoir provides fabulous insight into the surprisingly difficult transition between these two English-speaking countries and the quirks of Australian country life. Added to that, the complexities of caring for a child with special needs when most services are a couple of hours' drive away, a common problem for regional members of our population. This is a terrific read and well worth tracking down. I particularly loved the 'stranger in a strange land' aspect, having lived in Ireland and being so surprised by the many differences between our two countries - such subtle nuances that are hard to pick until you're living them day-to-day.

Have you ever been a 'stranger in a strange land'? How did you cope?!

PS Cover image via here and Picmonkey collage.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

30 days of books for christmas - think like a publisher

Randy Davila's Think like a publisher: 33 Tips to Write, Promote and Sell your Book is a fabulous and easy read. Davila covers publishing, marketing, editing and more.  He's big into platform building - especially creating digital points of contact between the writer and their readers.  Since I read his book, I've been prompted to widen my social network from just this blog to  Facebook, Twitter, Good Reads and Pinterest. Next up is the website, a place of my own to link it all together, something I hope to achieve in 2014.

Davila's 'How to' is something you can read from cover-to-cover, or pick a section and concentrate on that alone. His tips were of invaluable assistance with my first manuscript. I took my work apart and thought seriously about its direction.  With Davila's advice, I saw where my writing became too broad and reined it back in.  A must read for budding writers (and thank you to my 'anonymous' benefactor who saw my original post and bought it for me - I love your friendship, support and long distance phone calls. What would I do without you?!).

PS Cover image via here and Picmonkey collage.