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BOOKS TO GIVE AT CHRISTMAS - what are you wrapping this year?

(113 Posts)
TillyBookClub Tue 29-Nov-11 22:06:00

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.

Thirstysomething Mon 12-Dec-11 20:14:18

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?

nursenic Mon 12-Dec-11 20:24:38

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?

CuriosityCola Mon 12-Dec-11 22:24:46

Thank you planetpotty

ladyr Tue 13-Dec-11 13:50:24

I've ordered one of these My daddy... books for my 3 year old to give to his Daddy

LevantineLass Tue 13-Dec-11 15:02:53

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 -
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!

LevantineLass Tue 13-Dec-11 15:04:09

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.

cazzybabs Tue 13-Dec-11 22:17:42

Just to lower the tone for a friend I have just ordered
Shag your self slim
How to poo on holiday

JulesJules Wed 14-Dec-11 14:29:13

Oh yes nursenic I LOVE Tessa Kiros cookbooks, I have them all blush they are gorgeous books to look at before you even start cooking from them - have given several before as pressies

Tessa Kiros cookbooks

nursenic Wed 14-Dec-11 21:50:20

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

Jux Fri 16-Dec-11 09:31:58

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!).

TillyBookClub Sun 29-Jan-12 20:07:35

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.

Divatheshopaholic Wed 01-Feb-12 22:50:08

Great list here:0)

jakkyburt53 Tue 19-Nov-13 13:20:11

The Bible

The Quran


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