books: wishlist

How am I just now learning this?! Iceland has a tradition where books are gifted to friends and family on Christmas Eve and then the night is spent reading together from your new books. It’s so popular that most books in Iceland are sold in the few months before Christmas–a period referred to as Jolabokaflod, or “Christmas Book Flood”–in anticipation of the big day. On a related note, one in ten Icelanders publish a book. Read more about it here.

Since it’s almost Christmas Eve–but still plenty of time for picking up that last minute book–I thought I’d share some of the books that are on my wishlist for the holidays. Most are not recent releases, but rather ones that I’ve been eyeing for a while to add to my collection. And of course, the theme is the British landscape! And in case you want some banana bread to go along with your Amazon browsing or Christmas Eve book reading, try this recipe.

Parker, Joanne. Britannia Obscura: Mapping Hidden Britain. London: Vintage Books, 2015. Parker investigates the numerous maps of England that have been prepared over centuries. Her research is thorough—including traveling through a number of caves herself to verify these drawings—and an intriguing way to learn about English history.

Harrison, Melissa. Winter: An Anthology for the Changing Seasons. London: Elliott & Thompson, 2016.
Harrison writes an anthology for each season, but as a lover of winter I hope to start with this edition. She gathers together the best of prose and poetry that relates to this beautiful season.

Barkham, Patrick. Coastlines: The Story of Our Shore. Rearsby, Leicester: WF Howes Ltd, 2016. One geographical category that I have not explored much is that of the British coasts. Most of my readings have focused on bodies of water inland—lakes and rivers—and I would enjoy the chance to read more about the protected coastlines in Britain.

Norbury, Katharine. The Fish Ladder: A Journey Upstream. London: Bloomsbury, 2015. Norbury was raised by an adoptive family in rural England. The author describes a miscarriage and her decision to travel along a river with her daughter to find its source in the ocean. More so than other books in my collection, this book touches on difficult emotions, motherhood, and belonging.

Thorpe, Adam. On Silbury Hill. Little Toller Books, 2016. An exploration into the largest prehistoric man-made hill in Europe. A lovely book filled with sketches and photographs, as well as the author’s own poetry.

Rackham, Oliver. The Ash Tree. The Dovecote Press, 2016. An entire book devoted to the ash tree. The same tree that Roger Deakin says is the most unappreciated tree in England.

Rangeley-Wilson, Charles. Silt Road: The Story of a Lost River. London: Vintage Books, 2014. Rangeley-Wilson is an angler who searches Buckinghamshire for a lost river. A melancholy but powerful book about the poverty and destruction centered around this river in the 1800s.

Harris, Alexandra. Weatherland: Writers & Artists Under English Skies. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2016. Harris explores literature and art through the lens of British weather. She herself was inspired by Virginia Woolf. Her work features reproductions of the art, which are a beautiful addition to the book.




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