BOOKS TO GIVE AT CHRISTMAS - what are you wrapping this year?(113 Posts)
This year, I'm going all out for strikingly beautiful, gorgeously tactile books, probably as a reaction to Kindlemania... but leaving room in the stockings for a few straightforward paperbacks too.
What will you be putting under the tree?
For 0-5 year olds:
Stuck - Oliver Jeffers
All manner of strange objects get stuck in a tree, as Floyd tries to unstick his kite. A beautifully drawn, funny, whimiscal book from one of the best children's authors (The Incredible Book Eating Boy is still a firm household favourite.)
For 5-8 year olds:
Any of the Tim and Ginger books by Edward Ardizzone
Sea-faring adventures and derring do aplenty, with exquisite illustration and hand-coloured pictures. They are always popular with my boys for having an almost cartoon style coupled with a good old-fashioned yarn.
For older kids:
The Invention of Hugo Cabret - Brian Selznick
This book was published back in 2007 but has just come out as a film by Martin Scorcese. Twelve-year-old Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets. His mysterious adventures are depicted in both magical words and hand-drawn pictures, and the whole book is an incomparable work of art. Mainly for 9-14 year olds, but would equally captivate younger children or adults. A bit of a whopper (500 pages, but lots of those are illustration) - get in some extra wrapping paper...
For boys in particular:
History Heroes: How Well Do You Know Your Explorers?
Not strictly a book, but a pack of cards, a bit like top trumps, with facts about explorers and adventurers. Keeps my 5 year old fascinated - and usefully covers a great hole in my own knowledge.
For girls in particular:
Penguin clothbound Jane Austen/Louisa May Alcott
As always, Penguin have pulled out the stops and made the classics into something extra-special. One of these (Emma? or maybe Little Women? So hard to choose) will be ideal for my 11 year old niece: she'll read and re-read forever.
For the men:
Private Eye: First 50 Years
OK, not an original choice, but it does tick a lot of boxes: funny, intelligent, visually striking. It's almost like an alternative history book, with all major events covered in those spot-on photo caption covers.
For the women:
Wildflowers - Sarah Raven
A seriously sumptuous present (a sort of equivalent to a giant glass bottle of Jo Malone). It is stunningly produced (endpapers, ribbons, glorious photography, the works) and consequently pricey (RRP £50 but half the price on Amazon). It is also hard to categorise - not exactly an identification book or a gardening book, but a personal detailing of all the wildflowers she found across Britain. Makes you happy to live here, and happy just to think of spring.
Stocking filler paperbacks for grown ups:
Snowdrops - ADMiller
An utterly gripping thriller that was shortlisted for the Booker prize, perfect for crime fans and literary bookworms alike. And it's our Mumsnet Bookclub book for January 2012
Room - Emma Donoghue
One of the best books we did in Bookclub this year - and one I still can't stop talking about.
By Heart - ed. Ted Hughes
A collection of poetry that you can learn easily by heart, with a great introduction on how to visualise the imagery and commit the words to memory. Reminds me how much I love poetry and yet never take time to read it. This means you should (theoretically, at least) be able to pull it out of your head whenever you fancy.
Stocking filler paperbacks for kids:
Traction Man Meets Turbo Dog - Mimi Grey
Traction Man has to save his loyal scrubbing brush from the hideous bin-things - and prevent Turbo Dog from usurping his faithful friend. Great jokes for adults and kids, and a lovely comic illustration that looks stylish and retro.
The Little Wooden Horse - Ursula Moray Williams
A great aunt sent us an original copy of this (try to get a secondhand copy, as the original drawings are lovely) - each chapter sends the little toy into a wild adventure, taking on pirates, kings, coal mines, racehorses and crazy children as he tries to get back to his master. Kept everyone saucer-eyed, despite being decidedly old-fashioned.
For me: Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal by Jeanette Winterson
OH: When the Lights Went Out: Britain in the 1970s by Andy Becket
DS1(14) : The Fear by Charlie Higson
DS2 (12) :the new Skulduggery Pleasant in HB, The Power of Six by Pittacis Lore
I've got a Diana Henry book for my mum -Roast Figs sugar snow which looks lovely and simple with recipes from northern cold countries
OH has The Long Fall by Walter Mosley - he loved the Easy Rawlins series so i thought he might like to try a different chararcter
my godd is getting some trashy vampire type literature - i think it might be the Inkheart series
I too would recommend Room to everyone - was in fact just doing that last night.
I'm giving The Help to my grandmother and my sister.
DS (2) is getting a couple of new 'classics' - Aliens Love Underpants and Hairy Maclairy - to try and replace the sodding tiger who came to tea, because if I have to read that book one more time I shall rip my own eyes out.
DH is getting Quirkology, and I am trying to persuade him to get me the complete James Herriot collection (as it's sadly missing from my bookshelves!), the new Young James book, and the mumsnet rules.
Quite a few - max hasting's new war book for my mum's other half. (currently half price on amazon). Lots if stuff from the book people for others - a famous five collection for my niece who's 8, assorted drawing and arty books for ds1 (6) as well as an easy reading Ben 10 set of books, hairy mcclairy set for ds2(3), music/language/psych books for dh. I'm currently checking out all the deal of the day stuff on the book people, amazon etc and picking up bargains as they appear!
The iconic hardback with yellow slipcover Wisden Cricketers Almanac for DH.
3yo dd is getting one of the Emily Brown books, she has loved EB and the Thing.
DH is getting a signed copy of the Chez Bruce cookbook.
That Sarah raven book sounds lovely, trying to decide which of my greenfingered family members will enjoy it most.
0-5 - 'Alfie' books by Shirley Hughes
In The Night Garden musical book
5-8 - My Naughty Little Sister series
the 'Ottoline' books (wonderful illustrations!)
for girls in particular Jaqueline Wilson poetry anthology
stocking fillers for kids The Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl
I've got a collection of Alan Coren's writings for my best friend and also found her some really great things form The Literary gift Company, a website I fouind on mumsnet.
How can anyone resist this
i do like me a bit of poetry so i ordered by heart off ebay just now for under 2.00 inc P&P - awesome. also ted hughes gets on my nerves so a collection of poetry is good
also bid on snowdrops - on your recommendation - so it better be good or its a custard pie for you
We love Oliver Jeffers!
The Jolly Christmas Postman
Meg and Mog collection (from Book People) for my 2yo
Pippi Longstocking for my 5yo
Mini Beatrix Potter editions for their stockings.
A v geeky book about coding for my DH (by Knuth if anyone's remotely interested)
I just bought my Christmas present from the kids to myself - the new Lorraine Pascale cookery book. I've only seen five minutes of one programme but the recipe looked so simple (no fancy ingredients) so I thought I'd get the recipe book for myself.
We have bought The Skulduggery Pleasant books (1st 5 on Amazon black friday for 12.99!) for DD1 nearly 8y.
DD2 (6) is reading the
bloody rainbow fairies books so may get her another couple.
DS- a replacement copy of Dear Zoo by Rod campbell as it's his fave and he's destroyed it!
DH may get the new Percy Jackson book.
The Toaster Project for the geeks in my life
Clare Tomalin's Dickens for my Mum
The Private Eye at 50 book is excellent - got it for dh's birthday
Dd is getting even my ears are smiling a book of poems illustrated by babette cole. Might buy my mum a book something historical / about nazis!
DS (7) is getting the Mr Gum box set.
He has been a very reluctant reader but when he read one of the Mr Gum books a little while ago he loved it and, TBH, anything that encourages him to read has got to be worth a recommendation.
Tin tin books for DS, with football detective books by Tom Palmer and the two or three Wimpy Kids he hasn't got - he's a reluctant reader par excellence but Tin Tin seems to do it for him atm.
The Sarah Raven book sounds fab - Tilly suggests it for women, but might it be something that a man (57, into countryside, gardening and, er, cars) might like? He irritatingly buys all the books he wants so surprise presents hard to come by!
Bad jelly the witch by Spike Milligan for DD1 who is 4. It's the hard back version with coloured illustrations.
For women or teenage girls -
'Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day' with a copy of the DVD to go with
A gorgeous edition of Pride And Prejudice with the Keira Knightly DVD
For foodies -
The Fat Duck book
For me -
'The Lost Photographs Of Captain Scott'
For Harry Potter fans -
The amazing, 'Harry Potter From Page To Screen' book which is full of gorgeous photographs and art work
For teenagers or tweenage boys -
The series beginning with 'Gone' about all the adults suddenly disappearing or 'The Knife Of Never Letting Go' trilogy
Tom Palmer rocks btw - he is a genuinely all round nice bloke, so if you have football loving little boys, he's deffo worth a look.
For ds (7)
How to Train Your Dragon series
Ivan the Terrible
The Jolly Postman
Princess Evie (totally pink and glittery but she likes the cut-out horses)
A robust pop up or lift-the flap book
DP always turns his nose up at my literary offerings, so I may have to call his bluff and order him something wilfully obscure. That'll learn him.
This year we've most enjoyed reading all the Moomins books with the DC (nearly 5, and 6). The characters are so glorious and the stories so fabulous and Scandiwegian and sad and jolly. Just as lovely as I remember them, and great for reading out loud.
For SIL, who is a bit of a foodie, but on a diet (otherwise I'd get her the new Dan Lepard), I'm thinking perhaps the River Cottage Veg Every day book, which I really like.
DM loves all those popular history books like the Lighthouse Stevensons or Dava Sobel sort of stuff, so if anyone has any good suggestions of that kind of thing, I'd love to hear them.
midnight there was a great TV series called "Men of Rock" about Scottish geologists (not Ozzy et al). I bet they have a book out, would be good.
Oh that might be good (she's Scottish!). Thanks.
Bah - just googled him and doesn't appear to be a book or even a DVD. AND IT WAS A GREAT SERIES! DH studied geology a zillion years ago and we spend months each year in the West of Scotland but I don't think I'm biased. I feel like writing in to the BBC about this (not Clarkson though).
Oh everyone's getting books this year! No-one ever buys me any - I think being an English teacher scares people off
Please excuse me for not using quotation marks around the titles for these - I wouldn't let my Year 7s get away with it but I just can't be arsed!
Up and Down
The Way Back Home - Oliver Jeffers
You Choose colouring book - they're both getting one of these as they've loved 3 copies of You Choose to death between them already!
Alfie gets in First
Alfie gives a Hand
Harry's Home - Laurence Anholt
DD (nearly 5)
Madeline and Madeline at Christmas - she has no idea they were books before they were her favourite cartoon so I am super excited about giving her these!
Bread and Jam for Frances - hopefully she'll be able to read it herself (also now a cartoon!)
Would you rather - John Burnhingham (for me really - I loved it so much!)
The Pencil, The Runaway Dinner - Alan Ahlberg
The Highway Rat - Julia Donaldson
BIL also getting her Ladybird read it yourself fairytales
Yellow submarine storybook (DSis is going to be made up!)
Fragments (Marylin Monroe's writing - looks gorgeous)
IQ84 1, 2 and 3 - Haruki Murakami
Wonders of the Universe - Brian Cox
Information is Beautiful - David McCandless (check out the website!)
Two Greedy Italians cookbook
Paper aeroplanes book
The Beach Hut by Veronica Henry - actually looks good but I only really bought it because I've hired a beach hut for her for a week in the summer as her present and I want to hide the picture inside!
Liberty book of home sewing
British Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Set of Antonia Fraser biographies (Book People!)
Hollyoaks Companion from 2002 (!)
Penguin's Poems for Life
Dear Grandma, from you to me
Anthony Horowitz boxset
Diary of a Wimpy Kid boxset
Man that's a lot of books! Easy to wrap though!
Thanks for all these. Hope Amazon can cope.
Long live Mr Gum!
BIL works at Amazon and he said there's not nearly as many orders coming in as they would usually expect - weird eh?
"See Inside Your Body" for DD2 who has an obsession abt skeletons and the like.
"Wind Up Plane Book" for DS who loves planes.
"Sewing School: 24 Projects That Your Kids Will Love" for DD1 who loves going on my sewing machine!
That's it, I think... For now.
All the ones he's getting are from me!
DS1 (4) - Usborne Beginners Sun Moon and Stars
DS2 (2) - Hairy Maclary Shoo
DH - The Men Who Fell to Earth (from a few years ago, about the experiences of astronauts, it's wonderful)
Book Club Secret Santa - Celebrity: How Entertainers Took Over The World and Why We Need an Exit Strategy (for discussion, and it looked fun)
MiL - The Bolter
SiL - Ottolenghi, the first cook book
Midnightexpress, if the idea of a geology book has interested you then I'd recommend www.amazon.co.uk/Hidden-Landscape-Journey-into-Geological/dp/1847920713/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1322874035&sr=1-1. It's easy to read and as a non-geologist I enjoyed it a lot.
These are for ds age 8 years
I have treated myself to the Little House (on the Prairie) boxed set (from SIL). I loved the books as a child and would love to read them again and hope that I can encourage DD to read them.
DP - IQ184 1-3 by Haruki Murakami
DD1 8 - Sapphire Battersea by Jacqueline Wilson & also JW 2012 Diary
DD2 5 - Big Horrid Henry Hardback Compendium
I have just started the new Aravind Adiga, and think I shall give that to my mum (although I may give her a couple of Jane Gardams as she hasn't read JG) and/or my sister, or might give my sister the Winterson.
DD1 wants the new Lauren Child. Am tempted to give DD2 the new Francesca Simon, the one that isn't a HH, but that is chiefly because I want to read it myself.
Just My Type by Simon Garfield, for anyone who likes a nice font. It is good and geeky (though I am very very and on the point of writing to him about his (one-word) description of Eric Gill's serial child abuse as 'outings' - but if you can get over that then fine).
Since geology has been mentioned, there's an older book called 'The Map That Changed The World' which is about the first geological map, but also about snobbery in post-enlightenment Britain etc.
If anyone has an art and gardening loving lady to buy for, a woodcut/linocut artist called Angie Lewin has a book out, beautifully produced and a good amount of writing as well as pictures. V successful present.
I so want that font book LrePrune, but there's no way anyone will be getting it for me! I don't advertise my font obsession
I think that font book would do for my otherwise impossible father: I've been eyeing it up.
Greeb & Blacks Chocolate Recipes to be wrapped with some chocolate and baking goodies
The font book is actually a good read: he's got quite a nice turn of phrase, and the layout is great. Surely everyone gets shivery at a nice font? [deluded]
ANYTHING by Julia Donaldson!
Ds (6 and 4) getting stick man, see inside castles and some superheroes phonics books. And some king Arthur legend stories.
Ds3 (18m) getting a nursery rhyme book.
Dh is getting the David millar book about cycling and his drug taking.
I want the private eye one but might have to buy it myself!
I've got DB - Game of Thrones as I know he enjoted the TV series and 10 month DN - Julia Donaldson's Hide and Seek Pig.
'Celeb' books for us -
DP - I, Partridge: We Need To Talk About Alan by Alan Partridge
DD2(16) - One Direction - Dare to Dream
DD3(13) - Ripley's Believe It Or Not
I've asked for the Inbetweeners Yearbook, Steve Jobs biography and the History of the Pankhursts.
DCs will get (from us or others)
Brilliant Book of Doctor Who
Top Gear Annual (children's version)
Horrible Science Annual
Horrible Histories Annual
Many annuals are dreadful cash-ins, but I know that those ones will be read again and again and again, and are genuine value for money by the time you've got a 3-for-2 deal or whatever.
In the realm of "real" books, they'll get the new Francesca Simon Viking book, the new Wimpy Kid book (signed and for free, thanks to Mumsnet), the new Richard Dawkins/Dave McKean, and a big boom of Ocean Liners posters .
DH will get the new Heston Blumenthal, which looks ace. I'll get the latest Pratchett and 2 Mark Kermodes.
the font book and I, Partridge for DH, plus various obscure music journalism off his wish list.
For my DM, Veggiestan middle eastern veg cookery
DD 10 has the new Lauren Childs and will be getting Green Glass Beads poetry collection, because I think the JW name will entice her to open it
DS 7 will get some other books by the guy who wrote Percy Jackson, plus poetry collection
for my DF - I have no idea. he must already possess nearly all the titles ever published. Everything I think of, he has.
for DH, the normal - Private Eye annual (always snatched by others first) and a wine book but also a religious anthology by the partner of a friend (shameles plug) Janet Morley's The Heart's Time - a poem a day for Easter and Lent (yes, I know not seasonal but only just come out...) to accompany a large bottle or several of whisky
for DM Great Lives - short biographies of famous people based on the Radio 4 series which on a quick riffle through looks good,
for v serious and important ILs the Private Eye annual, a wonderful set of estate agent blurbs from the observer, called Brothel In Pimlico + a couple of detective stories..and the Vladimir Grossman
for DS, probably, a TinTin
For DH: Rule. 34 by Charles Stross because he's one of his favourite authors
For DD: I think I might go for the recomm anthology, thank you! Also Gormenghast.
For me: well, I got the Game of Thrones box set from Amazon in their Lightning Deal and dh doesn't want it, my brother's read them all already so I guess it's mine.
For brother, an Amazon voucher as he will have read any book that I would get for him so I'll let him choose his own (book tokens are like getting a present twice, once when you get the token and again when go and spend it).
Wow wow wow. Thank you for all these fab recommends - you can't beat 'real' books and I've just written a very long list of pressie ideas for everyone. Next stop Amazon!!
For my Lego mad 8yo ds, this Lego Ideas Book contains loads of inspirational ideas and instructions on making the most of his lego. You know when they've built that great Lego City and then it's dismantled never to be built again? Well this book has lots of ideas of other stuff you can build with all the random pieces. My ds loves Lego and so I reckon this is the perfect book for him.
What a fantastic thread!
I've ordered 'The Hidden Landscape' for DH and 'The Invention of Hugo Cabret' for DS1.
As well as being reminded to get another 'Ottoline' for DD1.
Keep them coming!
Loving this tread and picking up lots of ideas
I'd like to buy dd, who is 18, a book and dvd possibly that reflects the fact that she is enjoying her first serious love affair.
Any suggestions please?
I am giving Stig of the Dump and Ribblestrop to DNs. I want the Lego ideas book as DS is getting lego and I can't wait to build giraffes, spaceships, cupcake etc.
changer where did you find the invention of hugo cabret? I can't find it in stock anywhere!!
Can I do a mini-hijack for a moment please?
Please consider supporting the National Literacy Trust Christmas campaign to help them introduce books and reading to children who don't own books.
kindlefinder Amazon. I got an email saying it was due back in stock in Sept 12 and then one saying it was being shipped! It might be worth trying them...
This is a bad bad thread, I know have an Amazon wish list several pages long.
The hero's cards take you to games and that's got all sorts of things too!
Now not know. I really do wish there was an edit function!
Insanity what about One Day?
Books am giving (apols in advance for any sp errors)
DS7 - Farmer Boy - Laura Ingells Wilder
Friend - To Miss With Love (I haven't read it so fingers xd)
Various kids - David Walliams book
Church mice at Christmas
Chitty chitty bang bang flies again
Dark is rising - teen (recommended on MN book thread)
Before I fall - teen
Thank you mumnstersmum it looks like something I'll read as well afterwards.
DD2 is getting Junie B Jones books and Diary of a Wimpy Kid Cabin Fever.
DD1 a Babysitters Club Graphic novel. I wanted to get her some Goddess Girls books as she is very big on Greek myths but I can only find the ones she has already read. I need another idea but it is too late for Amazon to reach here in time.
Not finished the purchases yet. So far...
DH is getting Private Eye Annual, and Shit my Dad says by Justin Halpern. I keep dipping into the latter and bursting into loud laughter. The book is going to look wrecked by the time comes to wrap it.
DS1 (aged 6) will be keeping some more of the Astrosaurs series from his younger brother.
Great thread. I'm already adding to my Amazon Wish List!
DH is now getting a few Chris Wooding (sci fi/fantasy and his latest fave author) as well as the Charles Stross upthread.
I got myself a load of exciting books about maths and numbers recently which I haven't look at yet, so I'm going to give them to dh and dd to wrap up for me.
Thanks to some of these recommendations I've just ordered a heap of more books for DD - Stuck (Oliver Jefferies), a couple of Madeline books (we have one already) and a book on cats cradle as I can't for the life of me remember how to do it!
The (now) classic 'Big Blue Balloon' by Mick Inkpen for my friends young daughter.
'Harold and his Purple Crayon' by Crockett Johnson. LOVED this book as a child living in Central America. Want to re-popularise it!
For family members-
Best food writing edited by Holly Hughes (editions each yr from 2000-2011)
'Family Life' and 'Still Life' by Elizabeth Luard
'Peasant Cooking' by Elizabeth Luard;
'Cornbread nation' food writing series 1-5
'Short and Sweet' by Dan Lepard'
'Homebrew' by Doug Rouxel
'Swamplandia' an American novel by Karen Russell
Set of James Villas' food writing for friend;
'Grace Williams says It Aloud' by Emma Henderson
'Barbarian Nurseries' by Hector Tobin-novel
Vintage copy of 'Mary Anning's Treasures' -favourite childhood book of mine for fossil mad niece;
All three 'books in the 'What Katy Did' series by Susan Coolidge
All of the Laura Ingalls Wilder series and a good biography of her family also.
So far, on my wish list "why be happy when you could be normal".
And books I've bought for the others:
for DP. 2 Terry Pratchetts, as usual.
for 11yo dd1.
Skellig and the sequel.
Science museum cook book.
for 10yo dd2:
Jinny at Finmory omnibus
Thursday's child (Noel Streatfield)
Jennings goes to school (second hand bookshop browsing for some of these)
Richard Dawkins Magic of Reality.
Maybe Sapphire Battersea.
for 7yo dd3:
Judy Moody omnibus (no idea what they're like, Book people offers)
Mary Poppins omnibus
Nurse Matilda (dd3 is in a retro phase, or maybe I am).
Maybe the recent Non-Horrid Henry Francesca Simon.
I have ordered several of the books from the early part of the thread for some lucky boys and girls as Christmas presents. And I've added some to my own amazon wish list. Thank you for your fan book recommends
RemusLupin I got myself teh Harry potter page to screen formo Amazon - it's smashing.
I've bought DD (16) neil gaimans 'blueberry girl' and naomi Wolf's 'The beauty Myth' plus 'life an exploded diagram' & 'shades of grey'
Ds2 - Nail Gaimans M is for Magic & some old target Doctor Who books
DS1 - some manga books & Scott Pilgrim.
The Giving Tree for my friend's 4yo.
Can somebody recommend a book for my mum?
A nice paperback I can slip into her xmas hamper? She needs cheering up! so perhaps an enjoyable cleverish sort of a read but not too heavy. She loves history factual/historical novels, going through a pre-raphaelite obsession of late...
tia for some inspiration .
Agnes - I think remarkable creatures www.amazon.co.uk/Remarkable-Creatures-Tracy-Chevalier/dp/0007178387/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1323501426&sr=8-1 would fit the bill. Its easy to read, interesting and has that historical edge. Good if you know and love the dorset coast as well. I loved it.
I find it hard to believe that only 2 people are getting Terry Pratchett!! His new book is the only thing I've asked for this year.
I got fil the new Simon's Cat book
Mil the Downton abbey book
Sister how to read hieroglyphics
Contemplating that's not my ..... Books for DS(6 mo)
We're getting 'The Dark Is Rising' Sequence (Susan Cooper) for ds.
And hoping it doesn't set him off on a path of fantasy RPG type stuff
tealady just took a look on amazon & that book is perfect - thanks thanks thanks.
What age would that Dark is Rising series be good for?
Don't know Fennel - we'll read it together. I think it might be better for over 10s but I'm notoriously bad at judging Just going by some of the vocab.
2 x Downton Abbey books for both sets of PIL's
Can anyone recommend a book for a baby boys first Christmas? I want to get him something to keep. I love Tom's midnight garden, but dh hasn't read it and didn't seem keen.
Francesca Simon The Sleeping Army for dd1. Looks brilliant, had v good reviews.
Madame Pamplemousse & her incredible edibles in lovely little retro hbk edn also for dd1
Clever Polly and the stupid Wolf (Storr)
Christmas Chaos for the 100 mph dog (Jeremy Strong)
and Ottoline at Sea for dd2.
River Cottage Veg
Scandilicious Scandi cooking
and Complete novels of Nancy Mitford
AgnesBligg I heard about this one on the radio a few months ago, bought it and loved it - http://www.mumsnet.com/Reviews/best-book-ever/164-the-history-of-love-nicole-krauss
It has had tonnes of rave reviews. I don't know how I missed it...!
curiosity I have The night before Christmas that was given to me when I was 7 that I read to DC each Christmas eve.
It has Planetpotty Age 7 written in my handwriting and underlined!
If non fiction History is suitable, how about "Girl In A Green Gown-the history and mystery of the Arnolfini portrait" By Carola Hicks.
i am reading this and am enchanted by it. If there is anyway the portrait can be visited in London's National Gallery, the books wealth of detail will become even more meaningful.
Can anybody recommend any good American fiction? Also American memoir/bio/autobio, travel or food writing?
Is my obsession.....
Some interesting ideas here. I'm getting ds (8) one of the How to train your dragon series and starting him on Terry Pratchett - probably Johnny and the Bomb. Maybe Treasure Island as well. I'm hoping someone buys me the new Jill Paton Walsh inspired by Dorothy L Sayers.
American books - I always recommend Cannery Row and Travels with Charley by Steinbeck.
guess that you have read Bill Bryson stuff?
My mind has gone blank beyond this - and I've read loads of American authors!
i have read all of those and I commend your taste as I loved all of them. I gave a set of Steinbeck novels to DS after he loved 'Of Mice & Men'- he is not a fanatical reader like the rest of us but really took to these books. I loved the Steinbeck novella about the Mexican pearl divers also.
Bryson does make me laugh and my love of American travel writing was born of both his work and Martin Fletcher's travel writing. There is so much literary snobbery surrounding Bryson but i won't have any of that.
I also love Pat Conroy, Michael Lee West, Bailey White, Jeannette Wells, James Villas and used to subscribe/read 'The Angolan' the online news/features news journal written by inmates at Angola penitentiary in the Deep South. The Angolan has some literary heavyweights supporting it and the quality of writing is high.
This thread is encouraging me to buy more, just ordered Sapphire Battersea and the Sleeping Army.
And I will have to check out the Jill Paton Walsh too so I can continue my crush on Harriet Vane and Peter Wimsey.
nursenic Have you read To A God Unknown? I only came across it recently & thought it was up there with his best.
What about Call of the wild/White fang?
I haven't come across that Steinbeck, munstersmum so thank you, I'll order a second hand copy of it. I love reading books that other readers have recommended. Makes them more memorable for me.
I have heard of Jack London's 'White fang' and 'Call of the Wild'. I have mis- classified them as children's reads and seeing as i adore re reading my childhood books does not preclude them from my list.
I have really enjoyed Brian Keenans account of spending time in Alaska with his family plus other similar Alaskan odysseys especially from earlier times when the state was being 'opened up' to non indigenous people.
There's a brilliant collection of writings about unusual places to live called 'No Place Like Home' by an American travel writer. It has a chapter about a woman who resides in an ex-government building accessible via a mountain tunnel in Alaska and the myriad of reasons why a person would want to secrete themselves away there (many are survivors of DV and benefit from the guarded tunnel through which no stranger can pass through undetected).
Might nab No Place Like Home for our book club - thanks nursenic
A pleasure. I'll find the correct reference for it when I can get to my book shelves and trawl for it. It has chapters about a man living on a Hawaiian lava field, people living on 'submergible' barrier islands on the Louisianan coast, a guy who is the sole inhabitant of a flooded Atlantic state town, the 'canyon fire fighters' of Malibu who refuse to evacuate and stay to protect their homes....
Nursenic - Thank you for your kind words on my taste in books. Glad I didn't lower the tone in my initial reply by recommending Carl Hiaasen at that point! I haven't read them all, but enjoyed Skinny Dip as a light read.
Also recently read Black Water Rising by Attica Locke which I was a good first (crime) novel. It links Civil Rights movement history with more recent political skulduggery.
In that vein I usually enjoy Sara Paretsky's VI Warshawski crime novels. The crime is more than a who-dunnit and she writes well about social and political backgrounds in American society. Worth a try if you haven't already?
Jeffrey Eugenides might be worth checking out also? Middlesex, once you get through the long scene setting uses the family living in Detroit to meet with movers and shakers in US history. I really got into it once the scene was set.
My goodness leo35- we are sisters-under-the-book-jacket!
I think Carl Hiaasen is a very very clever writer.
I recently read 'Black Water Rising' too! A similar book you might like (and others too) is called 'Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter' by Tom Franklin as this is also a Deep South based crime novel full of Spanish Moss, seething, steamy Southern Gothic settings and great local sense of place.
I'm going to try Eugenides' new novel as i kept stopping and starting with 'Middlesex'.
Has anybody read 'A Secret History' by Donna Tart?
Also 'The Prince Of Tides' and 'Lords Of Discipline' by Pat Conroy. Both are big doorsteps of novels to satisfy Christmas holiday reading appetites.
A Secret History was my favourite favourite book all through my twenties.... my copy is held together with bubble gum and string.
Older boys/girls/adults The King Must Die by Mary Renault if anyone likes Greek history type novels - it is amazing.
Tessa Kiros - Falling Cloudberries is the most beautiful cookbook in the world and also has some incredible recipes, mmm Cypriot cumin lamb.
The Little White Horse for romantic little girls
Adults - Mao's Last Dancer - about a male ballet dancer in the Cultural Revolution, amazing stories of his childhood and then coming to America and watching his ballet director spend his father's lifetime salary in one hour in a mall.
Any Michael Morpurgo for young teenagers
Dove for teenage boys (and girls?) about a boy who sails around the world on his own age 16 and falls in love. Not soppy.
Agent ZigZag for DH
For various nieces and anyone who loves Nancy Mitford, I Capture the Castle etc type books -
EF Benson - Dodo
AgnesBligg Would Possession be too heavy going?
PS anyone got a recommendation for a book to put in my labour bag?? I know it is unlikely I will get a chance to read, but just in case I do.... with DD2 I had to go in early and had nothing to read (while I could for first couple of hours before it all kicked off...) except old copies of Hello. argh.
Something easy to get into and races along please!
PPS - nursenic was it Braving Home? Sounds great, but I can't find anything with the title No Place Like Home. This looks like it though?
Thank you Thirtysomething- have been tearing the house apart trying to find the name of it. Yes it is.
Like you, I loved 'Falling Cloudberries' and I also bought her Tuscan cookbook too.
If you want a labour book recommendation and you liked the gentleness and charm of 'Miss Pettigrew' can I recommend Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson. I love this gentle, mannered book set in surburban, village England.
Sue Miller also writes easily digestable books. I like her writing when I just want to read without the work.
For labour escapism, how about travel writing? Jan Morris on 'Venice maybe? Or The Country Child by Alison Uttley for semi autobiographical writings of a bygone age? It may be 'meant' for kids, but I read and re-read this book and find something new and beautiful in it's natural observations and delicious descriptions of farmhouse food!
Were you a fan of the show you are 'name' after BTW?
I've ordered one of these My daddy... books for my 3 year old to give to his Daddy
For my sister: Alice Hart's excellent "Vegetarian" and Niamh Shields' gorgeous, makes-you-want-to-cook "Comfort and Spice".
For my best friend "Tony and Susan" by Austin Wright - an unputdownable thriller which I would never have read, had I not seen it written up on a blog. Written ages ago and forgotten and then revived in 2003.
DS - (6) Picasso's trousers by Nicholas Allan (Whatever you think of his others, which all involve knickers or bums - this is really great, esp for art-loving kids)
DS (4) - William Bee's Beware of the Frog
Godchildren - "Birdscapes" - an amazing pop-up book with noises of each bird on each page. This book is truly a wonder, for all ages, and brilliant for whiling away hours. Pricey but really a treasure. Amazon link here - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Birdscapes-Myoko-Chu/dp/0811864286/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1323788428&sr=8-1
Any Mitford fan - Christmas Pudding has just been reissued by Capuchin classics and is meant to be great.
DH is getting, as always, the latest Erast Fandorin novel by Boris Akunin, and a Blake & Mortimer comic to feed his latest thirst for French comics!
Oh, and "Me Talk Pretty one Day" by David Sedaris for anyone who needs cheering up in winter. Literally the funniest thing I have read for a long time. I keep it by my bed.
Just to lower the tone for a friend I have just ordered
Shag your self slim
How to poo on holiday
Oh yes nursenic I LOVE Tessa Kiros cookbooks, I have them all they are gorgeous books to look at before you even start cooking from them - have given several before as pressies
Tessa Kiros cookbooks
Other beautiful cookbooks-
Creole- Babette De Rozieres
Secrets Of The Red Lantern- Pauline Nguyen
The Pastry Queen-Rebecca Rather
The Pastry Queen's Christmas-Rebecca Rather
I've just ordered Cooking with Coco for dd as recommenedd by Nigella on the web chat. I think I know Coco's family too (just to nod to, nothing fancy!).
This thread is multi tasking - it is now helping to form my list for birthdays throughout the year...
midnightexpress - you probably not on this thread anymore but we have just returned from Finland with armfuls of Moomin books/Moomin DVDs/all manner of Moomin knick knacks. I love the weirdness and yet happiness of them. And the guys are transfixed. Thinking of changing my nickname to Snorkmaiden.
THE PLAY BOOK
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