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In the Deep Midwinter: Books to Shop for Christmas

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From John Le Carré to Clive Aslet

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Richard Hopton selects some books for the festive season.

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In the Deep Midwinter: Books to Shop for Christmas

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Silverview book cover

FICTION

Silverview is John Le Carré’s last completed novel. Le Carré, who died last year, perfected the modern spy novel and this is an enjoyable and wholly characteristic coda to his remarkable career.

Viking, £15.99, waterstones.com

 

 

Notes from an Island book cover

MEMOIR

Tove Jansson’s Notes from an Island is a charming account of life on Klovharun, a tiny rocky island in the Gulf of Finland. It’s the simple life, distilled.

Sort of Books, £12.99, waterstones.com

Creation book cover

ART HISTORY

The artistic impulse is an essential human instinct. Creation: Art Since the Beginning John-Paul Stonard charts the history of art from cave paintings to computer images, crisscrossing the world as he does so.

Bloomsbury, £27, bloomsbury.com

Henry Channon book cover

DIARIES

The second volume of Chips Channon’s diaries, edited by Simon Heffer, covers the period 1938-43. Channon was a rich, catty snob whose entertaining diaries are a portrait of a vanished epoch.

Hutchinson, £22.60, amazon.co.uk 

Rise Siya Kolisi

SPORT

Siya Kolisi captained the Springboks to win the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Rise charts his ascent from a township to the pinnacle of his sport, an inspiring story of success against all the odds.

Harper Collins, £16.99, waterstones.com

In Kiltumper

GARDENING

In Kiltumper: A Year in an Irish Garden by novelist Niall Williams and his author wife Christine Breen is a reflective, almost philosophical account.

Bloomsbury, £18.20, amazon.co.uk

In Minutes book cover

COOKERY

Clodagh McKenna’s In Minutes offers 80 recipes appealing to cooks with limited time. These delicious dishes can be made in 10, 20, or 30 minutes so are ideal for a quick supper.

Kyle Books, £16.99, amazon.co.uk 

The Latin American Cookbook

COOKERY

The Latin American Cookbook by Virgilio Martinez contains 600 recipes and 450 photographs – a treat for travel-minded cooks.

Phaidon, £35, waterstones.com

On the Cusp book cover

HISTORY

On the Cusp: Days of ’62 by David Kynaston recreates the ambience of the year in which the country changed for good. An ideal present for someone who turns sixty next year.

Bloomsbury, £13.32, amazon.co.uk

Kate Sloan’s 101 Kinky Things Even You Can DoKate Sloan’s 101 Kinky Things Even You Can Do

SEX

In a rut? Try Kate Sloan’s 101 Kinky Things Even You Can Do to spice up your sex life once the turkey’s eaten and the holly’s been taken down.

Laurence King, £14.99, waterstones.com

The Story of the Country House

COUNTRY HOUSES

Clive Aslet is a leading architectural historian whose The Story of the Country House is an engaging, knowledgeable overview of this ever developing subject, from eccentric owners to ha-has.

Yale, £17.54, amazon.co.uk

Outdoor Europe

ADVENTURE

As the world opens up Outdoor Europe offers a tantalising range of adventures: ice climbing, coasteering, caving, star-gazing, mud bathing, and many others to get the imagination fizzing and the adrenaline pumping.

DK, £20, dk.com

The Thinking Drinkers

DRINK

Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham’s The Thinking Drinkers Almanac provides an excuse – as if one were needed – to try a different drink on every day of the year.

Octopus, £8.99, amazon.co.uk 

Best Cathedrals book cover

ARCHITECTURE

Simon Jenkins has worked his magic again with Europe’s 100 Best Cathedrals. Sumptuously illustrated, this book whets the appetite for visiting these incomparable edifices.

Penguin, £30, waterstones.com

A Spotter's Guide

COUNTRYSIDE

The countryside is full of perplexing sights for the uninitiated but John Wright’s A Spotter’s Guide to Countryside Mysteries explains them, tussocks, clearance cairns, fairy rings and all.

Profile Books, £16.14, amazon.co.uk

A Mouse Called Miika book cover

CHILDREN

The ever-popular Matt Haig’s A Mouse Called Miika is an engaging story for older children about a mouse and his love of cheese.

Canongate, £12.99, waterstones.com

Constance in Peril

CHILDREN

The Fire Fox by Alexandra Page and Stef Murphy and Constance in Peril by Ben Manley and Emma Chichester Clark are contrasting stories to captivate younger children.

The Fire Fox: Two Hoots, £6.99, waterstones.com

Constance in Peril: Two Hoots, £12.20, amazon.co.uk

 

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