Guilt Free Book Haul (In Which My Relatives Feed Me Pretty Books)


There’s a lot of things I like about Christmas – the food, spending time with family, chilling out and watching lots of movies, but I have to say one of the biggest perks of all is being able to add a few more unexpected books to my shelves. And better yet – I don’t have to feel guilty about buying books when I have so many unread ones because other people have done it for me. Double win! I always tend to have a book wish list on the go so that if any of my relatives are stuck for present ideas, they can randomly pick something off it. This way, it’s always a surprise and I never have any clue which books I’m going to get. And I have to say, this year I was ecstatic with some of their choices! So, without further ado, allow me to present you with lots of bookish pictures and nerdy goodness, mwuhuhuuuu. 🙂

First up, we have a non-fiction book which is unusual for me. I first spotted The Girl Who Was on Fire on Goodreads when someone else was reading it. I clicked to find out more and discovered it was a compilation of essays by existing authors discussing different aspects of The Hunger Games series, from analyzing Katniss’s character to chatting dystopian world building, it even has a section discussing ‘whether the third book sucks’ which I am fascinated to read because I know a lot of people didn’t like it (me not included) so it should be an interesting discussion! I haven’t read anything from any of the authors that have contributed to this book before, but the quote excerpts I’ve seen are brilliant and insightful, and I’m always interested to read people’s opinions on Suzanne Collins’s series so I’m hoping I’ll enjoy this!


Next up we have A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan (apologies for the blurry picture, I had a cold at the time I took these!) This book was rec’d to me by a fellow blogger and is the first in a series about a woman who studies dragons and has all sorts of adventures along the way. I believe it’s written in a kind of memoir/scholar like style so I’m hoping there will be lots of intricate details about how dragons function and maybe some cool methodology. The cover art IMMEDIATELY had me drooling, and we all know I’m a big fan of anything dragon related! It’s been a quite a while since I’ve read a novel where dragons are centre stage in a story (I don’t think A Game of Thrones counts) so I’m excited to try this one. I hope it lives up to the gorgeous cover (which my photo doesn’t really do justice to AT ALL)! I can’t stop stroking and staring at it. 🙂


Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan is a bit of an enigma at the moment; while it was on my list I’ve never been totally sure what it’s about. All the reviews I’ve read have been overwhelmingly positive but vague. The novel originally piqued my interest because it had the word bookstore in the title. Of course, I immediately jumped at the idea of a book about books. I mean, what could be better?!? I know that it’s about a guy… and a bookstore… and I think there’s some kind of mystery involved? I’m not really sure but I am intrigued, and it will be nice to go into a novel with little idea of the story for once! (Damn the over-explanatory blurbs of today *shakes fist*).


Next up is the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman. I’ve actually read all three of these novels before – twice! However, the current copies I own are battered and looking a bit sorry for themselves. Since Pullman’s trilogy still remains today, one of the best set of novels I have ever read, I thought his words were worth a gift edition upgrade! I’d been swooning at this pretty Everyman’s Library edition of the books for quite some time because SOPHISTICATED COLOURS, CLASSY SILVER TYPE, INTRICATELY DETAILED ILLUSTRATIONS. *SIGH*. I’m so glad to officially have it sitting on my shelf. It’s making it very tempted to do a reread, again!


The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K.Rowling is a book that I should have read a long time ago but I’ve somehow never gotten around to it. I KNOW, I AM A BAD POTTER FAN. SHAME ME AND CALL ME A MUGGLE. Even more shocking still, I have yet to read either of Rowling’s companion books Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them or Quiddich Through the Ages. It seems strange now, but when I was younger and heard she had written these books they sounded boring to me. I cared more about Harry’s adventures than delving into the world building. Now, that thought process seems crazy because I would love the opportunity to learn more! I recently managed to get both Fantastic Beasts and the Quiddich book (the latter I bought while visiting platform nine and three-quarters last week) so it seems I now officially have the full set. I might just have to binge read them all in one go! Additionally, I was given the awesome time-turner key ring pictured above. I love it! Might come in handy when I those pesky assignments start rolling in. 😉

Finally, I also got two other brilliant book related gifts, this nerdtastic t-shirt (every time I look at it I want to squeal and flail because PERFECTION) and a cool blogging mug from The Literary Gift Company. I haven’t had the chance to use either yet but I just like staring at them so…!

Did you get any great books this Christmas? Have you read any of the above? What’s the most nerdy gift you’ve ever been given?


Image Sources:
My own, please do not reuse.

37 thoughts on “Guilt Free Book Haul (In Which My Relatives Feed Me Pretty Books)

  1. You are such a nerd. And it’s weird how Christmas was less than four weeks ago, yet your photos look like they were taken a lifetime ago.

    One of the downsides of being a Kindler is that no-one buys me books any more so I don’t have anything exciting to report on that front. It’s Xbox games or nothing for me these days.

    I’m always wary about stuff like that essay collection thing about The Hunger Games. It’ll probably be rammed full of people either taking it too seriously, or rambling on about stuff that makes my head hurt.

    Incidentally, everyone’s favourite shaven-headed indie author may or may not have a new book coming out in the next couple of days or so…

    • And proud! I know right? I’m glad it’s not just me that thought that. I kept looking at the draft of this post thinking I needed to get it out because the photos were looking more and more ancient by the day! Christmas already seems like an age ago.

      Awwh, sad times. Nothing compares to being bought a physical book to me, an ebook just doesn’t look as pretty… or smell as good! Xbox games are good too. Have you dared to try the Xbox one yet or have you stuck with the 360?

      I am too, but this one looked particularly interesting so I thought I’d give it a go! Plus, I’m so fanatical about The Hunger Games I’ll probably like it no matter what, and I need something to tide me over until the final film.

      Ooooooh, congrats! I hope it does well. 🙂

  2. That time-turner is cool. You have to wonder why they didn’t use it to save D** (no spoilers!) later on, or take care of Tom Riddle when he was a student. 😉

    I’m off to London tomorrow and passing through King’s Cross, so hopefully I’ll get to the Platform 9 3/4 shop. I might spend all day there and not actually get where I’m supposed to go. 🙂

    Where do I get relatives like that? Maybe I’ll point them to my Goodreads TBR next Christmas and tell them to surprise me.

    Good job on the new book Mr Cargill!

    • Glad you think so! I like that it’s so shiny (I have slight magpie tendencies). 😀 Ahh yes, the time turner does bring up a few plot hole issues, kind of like the eagles in Lord of the Rings. But let’s face it, it would have been a much more boring story if they had used it that way!

      Ooooh, enjoy. I had never been to King’s Cross station before and I have to say the aesthetics in there were pretty awesome! It you’re into architecture and haven’t already, you should check out St Pancras while your there too, it’s super pretty and right next to King’s Cross. Hehee, good luck with the self-restraint, they’ve got some cool stuff in there!

      Sounds like a plan. 🙂

      • They didn’t have much Ravenclaw stuff in the HP shop (I’m more of a Ravenclaw than a Gryffindor!) and blimey, everything in there was pricey! I fancied the time-turned in a case thing, but I still need to eat this month. 🙂

        I like what they’ve done with St Pancras and Kings Cross. Haven’t been in there since they finished working on it a few years back. Feels like a classy airport with all the wall-lining shops.

      • Ohh no, that’s a shame! I didn’t really look at the house related things, more the general Hogwarts tees and the ones with the platform numbers because I’m always conflicted about which house I should actually be in! I think I would probably be in Hufflepuff, but no one cares about them anyway. Ohh yes I LOVED the necklace time-turner, so pretty. 🙂 But like you I couldn’t justify the price, and at least now I have a diddy key ring version. 🙂

        I know right? I thought the blue lighting with the cool swirly white stuff had an oddly calming effect!

  3. I didn’t know there was a book discussing The Hunger Games! Although it sounds interesting I’m not entirely sure I’d read it. It could be the best book in history but every time I see “non-fiction” my mind goes “ew” :p But I’m sure it’ll be interesting because I’ve seen people discussing The Hunger games and how it represents our society and the Districts represent social classes etc. so I’m sure it will give you pleasure and insight.

    Mr. Penumbra’s 24h bookstore…oh I don’t know! I share the same feelings. I’ve seen so many people talk about this but not once did I get a satisfying answer what it’s truly about and although it has “bookstore” in a title, which intrigues me a lot, there’s always this tiny voice telling me “don’t buy what you don’t know/can guess” – I don’t even know its genre! So, maybe I’ll wait until you’ve read it and (maybe) do a review on this? 😀

    If you’re a muggle, then I’m a Squib. I’ve only read Quidditch Through the Ages and that was two (almost 3) years ago. The other two books are resting on my bookshelf collecting dust. It’s not that I don’t want to read them, it’s more like a “I have too much stuff to read to begin with and I sort of know what this is about…since well, it’s Harry Potter”

    The shirt is EPIC!! So is the mug, but the shirt! OMG. Amazing!

    I received quite a few books for Christmas. I received two about blogging. Apparently my friends decided I needed to be inspired again (took a bit of break from October until the end of December). I’ve finished one and it was so, so, so good! I’d share a link with you but I’m afraid it’s written in Dutch.

    I’ve also been given Wreck My Journal. I’m extremely neurotic about books. The spine can’t crack, the pages should remain clean/straight etc. I don’t let people borrow my books (except my best friend who’s as neurotic as I am!) so my neurotic best friend thought it would be HILARIOUS to give me this for Christmas. It’s great although it might sit on my tbr shelves for the rest of my life cos you know, it’s a book that asks to be demolished! Ah the internal pain! It’s reeeaaaal.

    Something else I got was a very arrogant “1001 books you must read before you die” copy. Because I like lists and I like finding new books. It’s an international version so I’m curious to see what other cultures believe is a book you should read although…1001 books is a bit ambitious. If you read 24 books per year, you’d need 41 years to complete this list. Hmm. Possible, but insane :p

    • Yepp! I didn’t realise until recently either. Haha, I don’t blame you about the non-fiction thing, I used to feel the exact same way, and even now I approach it with a twinge of apprehension! But over the past two years I’ve slowly been trying more non-fiction and some of it has been really rewarding. Getting over the initial barrier is tough. I really hope so. 🙂

      Ahh, so glad it’s not just me! It’s strange when that happens with a book. And I’m with you – I don’t know the genre either! I can’t even tell from looking at the cover which is rare. I have no idea what to expect. I’ll definitely review the book once I’ve read it, although I have no clue when that will be. Hopefully it can be vaguely useful to the clueless like us out there. 😛

      A Squib, haha nice! Slightly higher than muggle status. That will be my aim! I get the not reading it because you know what to expect, especially when there are always shiny new, enigma filled books coming out all the time. It’s easy to get distracted by the new and shiny, or at least, it is for me!


      Ooooh, I would LOVE a book on blogging, that would be so interesting! Such a shame that it’s in Dutch. Maybe you could write a post about it and then I could read it, teehee. Sorry to hear that you’ve been struggling with blogging lately, I hope you find your way back. 🙂 I think I remember reading on your blog that you had been through some pretty tough stuff in 2014, so I think it’s totally understandable that it’s waned for a bit. I hope 2015 is better for you!

      Wreck it Journal, yes! My friend bought me that a year ago (she told me to pretend it was the lecturer’s face I disliked and to stab it with a pen, hehe). Like you I was horrified when I first got it, especially when one of the first commands was to break the spine *cue dramatic gasp*. I’m exactly like you, very fussy about the condition of my books, but eventually I got used to it and it became quite fun, I hope you enjoy! I think it’s brilliant that your friends bought it for you considering.

      I’ve seen the 1001 books thing floating around the internet, it’s quite popular now I think, I didn’t realise there was an international one though. I will be interested in seeing how you get on with it. 🙂 YIKES. When you put it that way…. good luck!

  4. Love how you captured the books by the trees! I wonder how many people have liked or disliked the essays about the Hunger Games because of the quality of the essays themselves versus whether or not they agree with the authors’ opinion. Out of the books depicted I have only read the His Dark Materials trilogy, and I feel glad reading your contentment with receiving an updated, beautiful version of Pullman’s work. Question: do you think you will read all the books you got as gifts before you read anything else? Or will you veer into other books as they make themselves present?

    • Thanks! That’s a good point. I’m really hoping the essays will have a range of opinions because I always find it’s when someone challenges your ideas that you learn the most, and I like seeing things from other people’s point of views. 🙂
      I love the His Dark Materials and I’m so glad that this copy looks just as pretty in real life as it did in the picture!
      Re your question, I definitely won’t be reading these all straight away, I tend to mix and match the old and new. Otherwise, because I have so many book on my ‘to read’ list I would always read the new books and never pick up any of the old ones. I’m also a mood reader, so I tend to pick whatever takes my fancy on the day. 🙂

  5. The Girl Who Was on Fire looks SO interesting! I love critical essays on fiction so I’ll definitely be checking this out! I can’t wait to see your thoughts on Beedle the Bard…I thought they were sort of eerie (in a fantastic way of course!) Your time turner is GORGEOUS by the way!

    • Glad you think so! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it’ll add some extra insight into the series and that it might make me consider a few things I hadn’t previously. I don’t think I’ve ever read any critical essays on fiction before, so this will be a first. 🙂
      Love that you describe Beedle the Bard as eerie, that sounds right up my alley! Hope I’ll like it as much as you did. Thank you! I agree, it’s so pretty.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

  6. Ooh I have that exact same copy of Mr. Penumbra’s! I can’t wait to read it either. And that copy of Philip Pullman’s book is GORGEOUS. I’ve been looking to buy the entire set (I’ve only read the first book), and this is perfect. 😀 I’ll be on the lookout for it next time I hit the bookstore.

    Also there’s one word to describe that shirt: AWESOME.

    I’ve received plenty of nerdy gifts. My friends know I love books and stationery and the like, so I’m always getting novels, fancy journals and pens… even quills! I love it. =D

    • Oooh, no way! I must admit that the cover intrigues me, I’m not entirely sure what it’s supposed to be. Fingers crossed that we both end up liking it when we read it. 🙂
      Yes, I love the Pullman edition, IT’S SO PRETTY AND SHINY AND *SIGH*. If you’re looking for the set I would definitely recommend it, it’s the nicest edition I’ve seen (the only thing is that the writing is a tad on the small side). I hope you find a copy! I think Waterstones stock it.

      YAY! So happy you like it. When I show it to most people (in every day life) they just roll their eyes, but they don’t appreciate the awesomeness of LOTR like I do!!!! Honestly, what is the world coming to.

      Those are some good friends you’ve get there, they know you too well. I can’t believe you got an actual quill, that’s so cool. 🙂

  7. Beedle the bard and the dark materials are incredible! I hope you enjoy them! I’ve heard a lot of good things about Mr Penumbra’s but I don’t know what it’s about either! I’ll await your verdict!

    • So happy to hear that you enjoyed Beedle the Bard! I’ve not actually heard anybodies opinion on it which I think was one of the reasons I was probably so nervous about picking it up. I hope I’ll like it as much as you do. 🙂
      Hahaa, glad it’s not just me that’s clueless about the plot despite reading several reviews! Hopefully I can give you a few hints in my review about the actual plot. 😛

  8. OMG!!!! I need to find that t-shirt! It’s fabulous :). You Christmas book haul is awesome and had me drooling uncontrollably. I also loved the His Dark Materials series and definitely want to read it again one day. As for the Harry Potter companion books, I stole them from one of my sons who didn’t seem to care about them. They needed to be in more loving hands :). That dragon book looks really good, and I’m going to go and look it up right away. I had a really good Christmas book haul as well and have already read Revival by Stephen King. I received about five books under the tree, and then I received over $100 in gift cards, so I have four books on order that are coming at the beginning of February. Then it will be like Christmas all over again. Yayyy!!!!! Happy reading Book Buddy.

    • I thought you’d like it! I just hope that the print last on it because I know I am going to be wearing it a LOT. 🙂 Yes, agreed! Every time I talk about His Dark Materials I start reminiscing and feel like reading them all over again. The great thing is, it’s such an intricate story so each time I revisit it I almost feel like I am reading the story for the first time again because there are so many things I forget about. Hehee, nice save! I think they will be better loved with you anyway. 🙂 Oooh, glad you’re intrigued by the dragon book, I’m really hoping that the story will live up to that awesome cover.
      A $100 gift card, WHOA, that’s amazing! Just think how many books you could buy with that!! (Of course, I’m sure they’re not all book related and you will want to spend them on some other things but you know, in my mind, everything is calculated in number of books rather than pounds or meters 😉 ). I hope you enjoy your latest purchases and gifts!

      • The whole gift card is definitely being used for books :). I can’t wait for the four books to arrive that I have ordered so far. I am having to be patient because they were all preorders, and in order to get free shipping, I have to wait to get them until the last book comes out. By the way, one of the books I ordered is The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon. Did you ever read The Bone Season which is the first book in the series? If not, I think you would really love it. The world building is absolutely incredible, and it was one of the best books I read in 2013!! I also ordered The Damned by Andrew Pyper, Golden Son by Pierce Brown, and The Deep by Nick Cutter. Sooooooo exciting!!!

      • Ooooh it is? No way! In that case you are well and truly rolling in the books, LOL. Can’t wait to see what you choose to buy. 🙂 You know, I’ve never actually done a preorder of a book before. Maybe that’s something I should try.
        Funnily enough, I did buy The Bone Season (I think partly because of your recommendation) but I still haven’t read it yet. Big surprise! It’s another one of those books I can’t wait to read but haven’t gotten around to yet for various reasons. I love the sound of the world building and the whole concept as well!

        … And now you’ve reminded me that I have yet to get round to Red Rising as well, DAMNIT. Why can’t I read faster?!?!?! There’s not enough hours in the day!

  9. I hope you’ll do a review later on The Girl Who Was on Fire. I’d love to hear what other people thought of the trilogy. I found the last book depressing and had to force myself to finish it.
    I want that mug!

    • I definitely will when I get round to reading it! Not sure when that will be but I’m looking forward to it. 🙂 I’m not surprised at all to hear you found Mockingjay depressing because it certainly was! But in a weird way, that was what I loved about it.
      Hehe, you should get one!

  10. Hooray for guilt-free book buying! I love Christmas the most for that exact reason haha. I love of the addition to your collection and am especially excited to see what you think of the Natural History dragons book – I’ve had that one on my list for ages but I bet you’ll get to it before me. Examining dragons from a biologist/archaeologist angle is something I’ve never seen done before and am nervously hoping it’s done well… You’ll have to let me know. 🙂 Also, I’m super envious of that gorgeous little timeturner you got with your Beetle Bard book.

    • Yes, guilt free book buying is the best! It’s been quite a long time since I’ve bought any books because I’ve been trying to be good (and miraculously succeeding), so that made my Christmas books all the more satisfying!

      Ahh, I was wondering if you had read it yet as my fellow go-to dragon blogger. 🙂 I feel exactly the same way, the scientific approach the book looks like it’s going to take intrigues me too, I really hope it will live up to my expectations. I will definitely let you know.

      Awwh thank you, I love it. 🙂

  11. How did I miss this post?!

    Like everybody else said, the Hunger Games critical essays sound fascinating. In fact, all of the books are things that intrigue me greatly. But, the hands down winner of this post….

    The t-shirt. Oh my god that t-shirt. I want it so bad. I’ve never seen anything so perfect. Nerds fo life.

    • Well I guess you were just too busy having a real, non-internet life. Shame on you. 😉

      Yeah, I’m definitely intrigued by the essays, I hope they somewhat live up to my expectations. Plus, I desperately need something to tide me over until Mockingjay Part 2!

      YAY. SO GLAD YOU LIKE THE SHIRT. It makes me do the nerdy dance.

  12. You have AWESOME relatives!!! I wish mine would do that. Right now I think someone has been hiding my Barnes & Noble coupons. But this is a great haul. A Natural History of Dragons seems like a good one. Wonderful cover.

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