Purchase a copy here.
So December is now upon us. And Christmas is once again looming. Why not get ahead of the Christmas shopping frenzy and buy some books as gifts. We obviously think books make great presents, and we have come up with a list of reasons why:
- They are easy to wrap
- No batteries are needed
- They are more thoughtful than that pointless kitchen gadget, that they’ll never use anyway
- They can expand and broaden the mind (always a good thing)
- They don’t go out of fashion (and they certainly don’t change their kit every season)
- People can never have enough books
- Bookshops are lovely, calming places
With this in mind here is a round-up of our Short Books Christmas recommendations:
Just Soup by Henrietta Clancy
‘A Christmas present for people who have soup several times each week and are constantly searching for inspiration as the seasons pass’, says Rose Prince in the Spectator, calling it ‘an ode to warmness; inner cashmere’. This really is a winter warmer of a book, containing masses of delicious soup recipes all beautifully and appetisingly photographed. The above recipes are for a Nutty Parsnip & Lemon Soup and Instant Beetroot & Pear with Crumbled Feta Soup.
101 Things To Do When You’re Not Drinking by Robert Short
101 Things To Do Instead of Playing on Your Phone by Ilka Heinemann
Perfect stocking fillers. Need we say more?
A Paris Christmas by John Baxter
A wonderful present for foodies, Francophiles and romantics. This is a sparkling memoir by John Baxter, an LA-based film critic, who impulsively moves to Paris to marry the woman he loves. He is set the challenge of cooking up a christmas feast for his sceptical in-laws, a terrifying band of gastronomes. We follow his culinary misadventures and delicious triumphs as he traverses Frances’ history and landscape looking for the best recipes and ingredients.
‘Such a likeable, readable book, packed with humour and quirky knowledge’ The Independent
The 1966 World Cup Final: Minute by Minute by Jonathan Mayo
A book for your Dad or any football fan in your life. This is the story of the extraordinary 24 hours of the finest moment in English sporting history. Full of fascinating details, this book evokes a period when football fans wore suits to matches, traffic policemen were invited into homes to watch the game, and the England squad could walk to the cinema undisturbed the evening before the biggest game of their lives.
Rasputin by Frances Welch
One for history buffs and lovers of salacious stories. An unputdownable, short biography of the captivating and unfathomable, Grigory Rasputin, Siberian peasant-turned-mystic whose role in the downfall of the tsarist regime is beyond dispute. A.N. Wilson in the Spectator describes Welch’s Rasputin as ‘extremely funny’, containing ‘all that you could possibly want to know about this fascinatingly unsavoury character; as well as speaking volumes about Russia.’
Pugh’s New Year’s Resolutions by Jonathan Pugh
A wonderful Christmas gift collection for parents or grandparents with a wry sense of humour. Jonathan Pugh casts a masterly eye over our annual attempts at self-improvement – why is it that we always set the bar just a little too high? These are uniquely affectionate and witty cartoons that poke gentle fun while cutting right to the heart of all our foibles.
How to be Danish by Patrick Kingsley
A present for Scandinavian-wannabes and Danish pastry appreciators. Part reportage, part travelogue, How to be Danish fills in the gaps – an introduction to contemporary Danish culture that spans politics, television, food, architecture and design. Welcome to the happiest country in the world.
‘Kingsley is an eloquent and inquiring observer.’ Sunday Times
Top Dog by Kate Bendix
The dog book that every dog lover would be thrilled to have. Top Dog is written by Kate Bentix, a funny, straight-talking dog lover who got sick of riding the multinational gravy train that is the global pet market and decided that there had to be another way of having a dog. She explains how to improve your dog’s health dramatically with a change of diet and how to treat the most common dog ailments yourself, using natural remedies that really do work.
Everything You Need You Have by Gerad Kite
For those who need some inspiration and guidance – one to buy for yourself and a friend. A revelatory book, Kite shows us how to look at things from a different perspective, and to uncover the truth: that everything we need to be happy and well, we already have inside. Drawing on the principles of ancient Chinese philosophy and his extensive experience of helping people of all ages and from all walks of life, Kite offers a life-changing promise – a route to a state of being that is more authentic, expansive and liberating than anything most people can currently find either in their thoughts or the world around them.
‘Gerad has opened my eyes to a new way of thinking’ Fearne Cotton
A Commonplace Killing by Sian Busby
A rollicking read for murder mystery enthusiasts. London, July 1946. A woman’s body is found in a disused bomb site off the Holloway Road. She is identified as Lillian Frobisher, “a respectable wife and mother” who lived with her family nearby. In this deeply evocative crime drama, Sian Busby strips away the veneer of stoicism and respectability in post-war Britain to reveal a society riven with disillusionment and loss.
‘A superbly accomplished and gripping piece of post-war noir.’ The Times
Purchase your copy of Pugh’s New Year’s Resolutions here.
We ask Derek Niemann some questions about his latest book, ‘A Tale of Trees’, a fascinating history of our nation’s ancient woodland, how we have valued it over the centuries and how we came very close to losing all of it in the space of just 30 years.
What was the most surprising thing you learnt in your research for this book?
I’d expected to find plenty of evidence to show how after the war embryonic conservation bodies were unable to oppose woodland losses. But I wasn’t ready for approval of what was being done from unlikely sources. A whole host of senior people within the National Trust were in favour of removing ancient woodlands and replacing them with conifer plantations, for example.
There are lots of stories in your book of individual people in history who have helped to save pockets of woodland – is there any one story in particular that stands out or you particularly connected with?
The story of my local wood outside Cambridge has particular resonance for me. Two-thirds of it had already been cut down when a local botanist was tipped off and began the process that led to the rest being saved. Had he turned up a few weeks later it would all have been gone. There are a few desperate rescue stories in the book and this is one of the most dramatic.
Can you recommend any hidden away, beautiful woodland walks in the UK?
Every woodland is hidden until you get into it and that’s part of the charm… and the beauty too. Just look for a wood with a footpath and away you go!
What is your favourite tree fact?
Probably what goes on out of sight. Underground fungi ‘roots’ called mycelia tap into tree roots for the sugars produced in the tree’s leaves out of sun and water. In return, the fungi feed the tree minerals in the soil, such as phosphates, which the tree would not otherwise be able to get. How’s that for a partnership?
Praise for ‘A Tale of Trees’ : ‘Derek Niemann cleverly weaves a cast of captivating characters into this meticulously researched, pacey account – landowners and officials bent on ‘modernisation’ , and the woodsmen , ecologists and conservationists who sought to preserve these wild spaces.’ BBC Wildlife Magazine
Stop the clock.
We are proud to announce our first ever ‘Crinking’ evening – aka colouring & drinking- to celebrate the finest colouring book published this year, The Mindless Colouring Book by Molly Manners & Alex Worrall. Hosted at our local independent bookshop INK@84 on Thursday 10th November, 7-9pm
Lose yourself in this compendium of oddities with the authors Molly & Alex, and relax your frazzled mind with rainbow cocktails and colouring in to suit all levels. Colouring pencils will be provided.
Take a sneak preview of the hilarious oddities that are contained this delightful book:
at Bristol Grammar School
on Wednesday 11 November 2015, 6.30 for 7pm
in The Great Hall, Bristol Grammar School, BS8 1SR
Simon will be talking about his book Ten Million Aliens – a journey through the entire animal kingdom, taking us from Simon’s first-hand experiences in the wildest parts of the world to his views on evolution, the environment and the discovery of new species.
Life on planet Earth is not weirder than we imagine. It’s weirder than we are capable of imagining.
Tickets £7, including live music and light refreshments
Online booking at: www.bristolgrammarschool.co.uk/events.aspx