Book Haul – Christmas 2014

Hope you’re all having a great Christmas and that you managed to get everything on your lists to Santa.

As with last year, it was a mixed bag for me including tickets for an athletics meet in February and a concert in March, various t-shirts, a TARDIS hat and the obligatory Christmas chocolates.  I also managed to receive some books and vouchers from loved ones as part of my Christmas list which I have used to buy some books for my Kindle.


Physical Books

The Miniaturist

“The Miniaturist” by Jessie Burton

This book was bought for me by my best friend Mendy (aka the “Hot Cute Girly Geek” who also knitted my TARDIS hat).  To be honest, I hadn’t heard of this book prior to receiving it, but after reading the blurb and speaking to Mendy it sounds like a fascinating read to look forward to as it combines history, suspense and the fantastical.



Good Omens

“Good Omens” by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

This is a book that I got from a voucher, but which I have to thank Mendy for as she suggested it as a great book to read.  A comedic book on the coming of the apocalypse sounds completely bonkers but when you have two of the foremost fantasy authors collaborating, maybe you need to pay attention when somebody recommends it.


Parkrun: much more than just a run in the park

“parkrun – much more than just a run in the park” by Debra Bourne

Yes, it is an intentional lower case “p” in the title.  I’ve been hearing about parkrun quite a bit over the last year of so.  The concept is simple – every Saturday people all around the world meet up at a local park to run five kilometres, no matter their age or ability, and get timed.  It’s one of those ideas that embodies the ideal “It’s not the winning, it’s the taking part.”

It’s this simple philosophy, along with me signing up to parkrun as part of my preparation to tackle a 10K in 2015, that has piqued my interest in this book.


Our Zoo

“Our Zoo” by June Motteshead

If you were fortunate enough to see the BBC television series “Our Zoo” earlier this year, you were given a real treat.  (It’s a shame that the BBC have decided not to follow it up with a second series).

As in the TV series, this book, written from the point of view of June Mottershead – the youngest member of the family, follows the story of George Mottershead and his family who decided to move to Upton-by-Chester to realise his dream of creating a zoo without bars.  The zoo, which is now known as Chester Zoo, is internationally renowned for its conservation programmes and sticking to George’s original ideals.



“Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand

I bought this book straight after seeing the film adaptation directed by Angelina Jolie.

The book follows the true story of Louis Zamperini, a young man who crash landed in the Pacific Ocean during World War 2 and was interned in a Prisoner of War camp by the Japanese Army, but, that’s only part of the story.

Following a childhood which saw him involved in petty crime, it was found that Louis had a talent in running.  This talent was harnessed and saw Zamperini compete at local and national tournaments, culminating in him competing in the 5000 metres at the infamous 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.


Guy Martin: My Autobiography

“My Autobiography” by Guy Martin

If you could put Guy Martin into a category, you’d say “part daredevil/part eccentric”.

Martin regularly races on the motorbike road-racing circuit whilst attempting various speed records, owning his own Rolls-Royce engine from a Lancaster Bomber and doing his “day job” of maintaining trucks.

As I’m a fan of Guy’s television programmes, I thought that I’d like to know more about the man behind the Wolverine sideburns.


Swim Until You Can't See Land

“Swim Until You Can’t See Land” by Catriona Child

Over the course of the summer, I read Catriona’s debut novel, “Trackman” and enjoyed it.  So, when I heard of this book, I knew that I had to get it, especially as it counterpoints the twin stories of a woman who is required to give up a professional swimming career and a woman who served as an agent in the Occupied France of World War 2.


Doctor Who: Engines of War

“Doctor Who: Engines of War” by George Mann

I think that I speak for a lot of fans of “Doctor Who” when I say that one of the highlights of the anniversary special, “The Day Of The Doctor”, was the special guest appearance by John Hurt in the role of a previously unknown incarnation of the Doctor who has now come to be known as “The War Doctor”.

This story takes place towards the end of the Time War and leads to the Doctor making a fateful choice.


Walking Home: My Family and Other Rambles

“Walking Home – My Family and Other Rambles” by Clare Balding

I had the opportunity to meet Clare at a signing and presentation for her previous book, “My Animals and Other Family”.  When I saw this book, I knew that I had to buy it for myself, not only because of Clare and the anecdotes from the London 2012 Olympics that are in this book, but because there’s nothing better when you are feeling life’s stresses and strains than a good walk.


Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found (Oprah's Book Club 2.0)

“Wild – From Lost To Found On The Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed

This was a bit of an impulse purchase.  I’ve seen trails and promos for the forthcoming film adaptation of this book starring Reese Witherspoon and I was drawn to the true story of the author who decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail solo.


Sonia: My Story

“Sonia: My Story” by Sonia O’Sullivan with Tom Humphries

Another impulse purchase, but one that leans to my athletics interests.  This book follows Sonia’s life from her childhood in Co. Cork through to her career as a track athlete up to the book’s publication in 2008.


Allegiant (Divergent, #3)

“Allegiant” by Veronica Roth

Yeah, yeah.  I’m a little bit late to the party on this book.  It’s been over two and a half years since I read “Insurgent”, but I finally decided to use some of my Christmas voucher funds to get hold of a copy of “Allegiant” to round off the story.


“Short Lived: Short stories for the every day” by Jenny Lippmann and Victoria Hunter

I found out about this book via Jenny’s Whovian related YouTube channel “Lippmannette“.  This book is a collection of short stories where the everyday combines with elements of fantasy.  Once I saw the blurb for the book on Amazon, I was hooked into eventually getting hold of a copy.



And that’s my haul for Christmas this year.  Please feel free to comment below and leave links to your Christmas book hauls.


Thanks for reading and have a happy and healthy 2015.


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