It’s been more than a minute since I last posted a book haul – perks of the job mean that I’m constantly bringing books home in dribs and drabs, rarely enough at once for a haul! But, I’ve been a lucky bookworm this Christmas and was gifted some beautiful books that were sitting on my wishlist, so here they are!
Were you gifted any books this Christmas? Or maybe you’ve treated yourself? I’d love to know what you’re reading!
Pandora’s Jar by Natalie Haynes
Blurb: The Greek myths are among the world’s most important cultural building blocks and they have been retold many times, but rarely do they focus on the remarkable women at the heart of these ancient stories. Stories of gods and monsters are the mainstay of epic poetry and Greek tragedy, from Homer to Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, from the Trojan War to Jason and the Argonauts. And still, today, a wealth of novels, plays and films draw their inspiration from stories first told almost three thousand years ago. But modern tellers of Greek myth have usually been men, and have routinely shown little interest in telling women’s stories. And when they do, those women are often painted as monstrous, vengeful or just plain evil. But Pandora – the first woman, who according to legend unloosed chaos upon the world – was not a villain, and even Medea and Phaedra have more nuanced stories than generations of retellings might indicate. Now, in Pandora’s Jar, Natalie Haynes – broadcaster, writer and passionate classicist – redresses this imbalance. Taking Pandora and her jar (the box came later) as the starting point, she puts the women of the Greek myths on equal footing with the menfolk. After millennia of stories telling of gods and men, be they Zeus or Agamemnon, Paris or Odysseus, Oedipus or Jason, the voices that sing from these pages are those of Hera, Athena and Artemis, and of Clytemnestra, Jocasta, Eurydice and Penelope.
Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales
Blurb: Once upon a time… fairy tales weren’t meant just for children, and neither is Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales. This stunning collection contains lyrical tales, bloody tales and hilariously funny and ripely bawdy stories from countries all around the world- from the Arctic to Asia – and no dippy princesses or soppy fairies. Instead, we have pretty maids and old crones; crafty women and bad girls; enchantresses and midwives; rascal aunts and odd sisters. This fabulous celebration of strong minds, low cunning, black arts and dirty tricks could only have been collected by the unique and much-missed Angela Carter.
Gender Swapped Fairy Tales by Karrie Fransman and Jonathan Plackett
Blurb: Once upon a time, in the middle of winter, a King sat at a window and sewed. As he sewed and gazed out onto the landscape, he pricked his finger with the needle, and three drops of blood fell onto the snow outside… People have been telling fairy tales to their children for hundreds of years. And for almost as long, people have been rewriting those fairy tales – to help their children imagine a world where they are the heroes. Karrie and Jon were reading their child these stories when they hit upon a dilemma, something previous versions of these stories were missing, and so they decided to make one vital change… They haven’t rewritten the stories in this book. They haven’t reimagined endings, or reinvented characters. What they have done is switch all the genders. It might not sound like that much of a change, but you’ll be dazzled by the world this swap creates – and amazed by the new characters you’re about to discover.
Gifted by a wonderful (and still anonymous!) secret Santa was this beauty…
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Blurb: For years, rumours of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens.
And I couldn’t put together a Christmas book haul without mentioning the books I received from the fabulous Terri, my TBTB Secret Santa this year!
The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
Blurb: When her city falls to the Greeks, Briseis’s old life is shattered. She is transformed from queen to captive, from free woman to slave, awarded to the god-like warrior Achilles as a prize of war. And she’s not alone: on the same day, and on many others in the course of a long and bitter war, innumerable women have been wrested from their homes and flung to the fighters.
The Muse by Jessie Burton
Blurb: On a hot July day in 1967, Odelle Bastien climbs the stone steps of the Skelton gallery in London, knowing that her life is about to change forever. Having struggled to find her place in the city since she arrived from Trinidad five years ago, she has been offered a job as a typist under the tutelage of the glamorous and enigmatic Marjorie Quick. But though Quick takes Odelle into her confidence, and unlocks a potential she didn’t know she had, she remains a mystery – no more so than when a lost masterpiece with a secret history is delivered to the gallery. The truth about the painting lies in 1936 and a large house in rural Spain, where Olive Schloss, the daughter of a renowned art dealer, is harbouring ambitions of her own. Into this fragile paradise come artist and revolutionary Isaac Robles and his half-sister Teresa, who immediately insinuate themselves into the Schloss family, with explosive and devastating consequences…
Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
Blurb: Nevin Nollop left the islanders of Nollop with the treasured legacy of his pangram the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. But as the letters begin to crumble on the monumental inscription, the island’s council forbids the use of the lost letters and silence threatens Ella and her family.
What books did you get this Christmas? Did you pick up any of these books too? Or maybe you’ve already read them! What did you think? I’d love to know! 📚
You can always find me over on Twitter if you’d like to discuss any of these books (or any others that I’ve featured) in more detail 😌