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Booky people love giving other booky people beautiful books! Looking for the perfect birthday gift? The right book for Mother’s day, or a stocking filler for Christmas? Look no further as we have a stunning selection for you.
Our March 2021 Book Club Recommendation Click here to see our Reading Group Questions. This is such a welcoming and warming read with community spirit, traditional craft, and the environment at its heart. Author Robert J Somerville was commissioned to build an elm barn by hand in Hertfordshire. Over the course of a year volunteers gathered together to help build the barn, and this is the story. There are so many positive elements to this read. A community of volunteers come together to: “teach, practice and celebrate skilled rural craftsmanship”. And while Dutch elm disease has decimated our Elm population, there is hope for the trees survival. As Robert Somerville says: “Elm is a species that suffered a major pandemic, but its incredible determination to survive prevails. Elm is proving itself to be a tree with an enduring life force, and, to my mind, is an appropriate icon for getting closer to nature, the resurgence in making things by hand and for bringing old skills back to life”. The book contains a myriad of interesting illustrations and photos as well as the story from concept to raising of the barn. At a time when community really matters, when our environment needs love and nurturing, Barn Club echoes with all that is good. It is a wonderful read that lightened my spirits and made me smile.
Stylish in form and content, this A-Z encyclopaedia of 200 classic cocktails serves up intriguing origin stories alongside inspiring recipes. Written and curated by London bar expert Cas Oh, whose impressive CV includes helming The Club at The Ivy, this gorgeously-produced book (think black-and-gold art deco elegance) represents the distillment of tens of thousands of cocktail recipes into 200 classics - nice work if you can get it! Chicly presented and organised A-Z, it covers everything from the Absinthe Frappé that originated in New Orleans in 1874, to the Espresso Martini of the 1980s, to the triple-rum Zombie of 1930s Hollywood. With the provenance and recipes of many cocktails keenly contested, this seeks to set the record straight, with beautiful reproductions of pages from recipe books of the past revealing the origins and evolution of each concoction. Alongside learning about well-known favourites like Margaritas, Mai Tais, Piña Coladas and Daiquiris, I loved discovering new bizarre brews, such as The Black Velvet, a blend of Guinness and champagne created to commemorate the death of Prince Albert in 1861. Designed to inspire and guide professional bartenders and home-mixers alike, CO-Specs will certainly add more than a dash of glamour to coffee tables. It’s a book to be dipped into, sipped and savoured, rather than downed in one. Joanne Owen, A LoveReading Ambassador
This most certainly isn’t just a fright-fest, it is an intelligent, interesting foray into the world of assassinations. Featuring over 100 cases from Julius Caesar to President Kennedy, we explore the victims and assassins themselves as well as failed assassinations. Just as a word of warning, this book is also full of photos relating to their history (including in some cases the dead victims). The chapters highlight geographic areas, before near the end, there is the eye-opening section on investigative journalists. The move through time from individual assassins to political and religious terrorists, and state sponsored killings is examined. British politician and author Kenneth Baker states that: “All assassins believe that by killing their target they will change the world”. He has personally known eight people who were assassinated, including two who were personal friends, and says: “their deaths did not change history”. He: “wanted to explore whether the assassination of other public figures had resulted in a poisoned chalice for the assassin”. On Assassinations is a quality book, and while this may sound somewhat macabre, it would actually make an excellent gift for those interested in exploring these savage moments of history.
Taking us through the seasons, and covering eighty species, Sarah Cheesbrough’s Wild Neighbours is a lovingly-curated collection of photographs that lays bare London’s often overlooked wildlife wonders. As such, it will surely inspire city-dwellers to explore urban environments with fresh eyes. What’s more, alongside its inspirational exhibition of natural beauty, the book is driven by an ethos of conservation, and a belief that even in the most urban areas we can “be good neighbours” to wildlife. Having spent hundreds of hours in the field, and walked as many miles, Cheesbrough’s photographs attest the sense of well-being that can come from observing wildlife. In her words, “I’m regularly awestruck at the generosity of the natural world to offer up gifts of connection, sweetness, beauty, hope, non-judgement and peace. Here we encounter the majestic elegance of red deer as they bathe, graze and rest. Foraging hedgehogs hidden in spiky grass. Squirrels scampering and digging. Fleet-footed foxes, and dozens of insects, among them bees, butterflies, ladybirds and caterpillars. The avian images are stunning too, from the cheering tropical vibrance of ring-necked parakeets, and red-breasted robins dazzling against snowy backdrops, to piercing-eyed peregrine falcons, mallards, moorhens and everyday pigeons. The final photo is a dream of a shot that perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the book, and the wondrous unpredictability of nature as we see a huge, stately deer springing from river to waterside behind an unsuspecting pair of city joggers. What a glorious pictorial pick-me-up this is - a reminder that wild magic is all around, if only we open our eyes to it.
Brimming with action, atmosphere and edge-of-your-seat adventure, Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic swashbuckler about "buccaneers and buried gold” is every bit as thrilling today as it was to its first readers back in 1883. The language is richly descriptive, yet still eminently readable to modern readers, thanks to its lively dialogue and perfectly-paced account of a high-stakes quest on the high seas and mysterious island. This new Wordsworth Collector’s Edition will make the perfect piratical present for burgeoning buccaneers who’ve yet to plunder the story’s exhilarating booty. It has a hardy hardback format, appropriately gleaming with the gold associated with buried treasure. Beautiful Books - Wordsworth Collector's Editions - The latest series for people that love beautiful books.
This may be a small book in size, but it is mighty of heart and contains 226 pages of delight. I think it would make the most wonderful gift, if not for yourself, then perhaps for someone who would appreciate a smile or hug in book form. This wonderful little treasure contains a myriad of short stories, sitting in sections that range from kindness to poignancy, and from school life to meeting in lifts. There are also some decidedly witty amuse-bouche stories (in cartoon strip form with illustrations by Iain McIntosh) to be found between the pages. It is no secret that I adore Alexander McCall Smith’s writing. He has the ability in a few sentences, to make me stop and think, or splutter and chortle. Every word counts, and each joins to create the most wonderful journey as you travel the world and through time. You can either dip in and out, or binge read like I did as I snickered and smiled my way through the pages. Short and sharp, yet bountiful and considerate, Tiny Tales really is the most fabulous book. Explore our '80+ Books That Deliver a Hug' listicle for more feel-good or uplifting books.
Discover and be transported by eight wonderfully diverse stories based on the myth, legend and folklore at eight English Heritage sites from the toe of Cornwall to the tip of Northumberland. Editor Katherine Davey, English Heritage, and September Publishing have worked their magic alongside the authors while Clive Hicks-Jenkins has created striking and disquieting illustrations to accompany each story. To give you an idea as to the quality on offer, the authors in order are, Edward Carey, Alison MacLeod, Paul Kingsnorth, Sarah Hall, Graeme Macrae Burnet, Sarah Moss, and Fiona Mozley. Journalist James Kidd introduces the tales, highlighting the importance of folklore, and states that: “The moods of the eight stories are similar eclectic, by turns comic or uncanny, absurd or scholarly, angry or fanciful, unsettling of poignant”. The location each story has been based on, sits at the end of the story, as while some are obviously of the site, others hover, offer, suggest. The afterword by the knowledgeable Charles Kightly explains the background to each of these new stories, the history and tradition that each site is steeped in. From sharp and pointed, to lyrical and whimsical, the creative and inspiring stories in These Our Monsters twisted in my mind. If you enjoy an original and wonderful blend of folklore, myth and legend, stop right here!
This new Wordsworth Collector’s Edition of Kenneth Grahame’s 1908 classic will make an attractive addition to any child’s library, or any grown-up’s for that matter. With a stylish cover illustration, compact hardback format, and gleaming gold foil, it makes the perfect present. As for the story, readers of seven and upwards who love nature, animals and adventures of a gentler kind will be entertained by the cast of anthropomorphised characters and enthralled by the pastoral setting. In many ways, the animals aren’t animals at all - they’re essentially human, a gaggle of wealthy gentlemen with plenty of leisure time for “messing about on the river”. Amusingly and fittingly, the author’s original title was Mr Mole and His Mates, for this classic has friendship at its heart. Beautiful Books - Wordsworth Collector's Editions - The latest series for people that love beautiful books.
The Wainwrights Pocket Log and Tick List is a handsome little book, small enough to pop in your pocket and take up into the Lakeland fells. Conveniently grouped in accordance with the famous Wainwright Pictorial Guides, the pocket log has a dedicated page for each of the 214 Wainwright Fells to record details of your walks and keep a tally of your achievements. With a velvet-like cover and gilded pages it has a quality feel and would be a welcome addition to any walker's Christmas stocking.
Have you ever wanted to be a puzzle pro or logical luminary? Well, look no further! The perfect way to liven up your day, The Ultimate Mathematical Challenge has over 365 puzzles to test your wits and excite your mind. From starter puzzles to perplexing Olympiad problems designed to stretch even the strongest mathematicians, this book is the ideal forum to get your brain into gear and feed it with the challenges it craves. Specially curated from the UK Mathematics Trust's catalogue of puzzles, most of these problems can be tackled using no more than a little numerical knowledge, logical thinking and native wit. Including interludes of crossnumber conundrums and shuttle challenges, space for your working out and a handy glossary for those obscure mathematical terms, this book has everything you need to solve captivating problems all year round. Do you have what it takes to conquer The Ultimate Mathematical Challenge?
This is a stunning beauty of a book, which would be perfect either as a present for yourself or someone else. It is contained within lovely packaging with the gorgeous book cover peeking out at you. Author Dr Chris Thorogood, the Deputy Director and Head of Science at Oxford Botanic garden and Harcourt Arboretum, has chosen over 50 topical plants, with detail of their origins and special features. The book tells us that: “Two of the most extraordinary Victorian glasshouses in the world are the Palm House and the Temperate House at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, from whose archives the images in this book have been selected”. What really sets this book apart is that the top part of the illustration can actually be pressed out of the page, so that each plant stands out and creates, when the book is opened, a stunning visual spectacle. The instructions are clear and concise, and I took great enjoyment in pressing out the pages to discover my own hothouse. This is truly delightful, and you really do have to see it to truly appreciate the beauty. Do take a look at our competition page, as until 31 August 2019, you can win a copy of The Tropical Hothouse and two tickets to Kew Gardens.
Discover the wisdom of Mahatma Gandhi alongside the wit of Groucho Marx in a collection of the greatest and most memorable quotations from across the centuries: an entertaining compendium of themed quotes from the greatest minds, orators, celebrities, writers and politicians that ever lived. Funny and profound, there are gems here for everyone. Struggling to recall those elusive quotes and sayings? With this thematic approach, The Times has the answer with a selection of the best one-liners across multiple topics and including a people index to help you find who and what you are looking for. Marvel at the wisdom of the ancients and laugh at the outrageous quips of the great and good Philosophy, politics, sex, marriage, humour all in one condensed package A full list of themes and people index make finding your way through the book so much easier Quotations include contributions from: Jane Austen, Simone de Beauvoir, Robert Burns, Lord Byron, Truman Capote, Confucius, Charles Darwin, Horace, Carl Jung, Immanuel Kant, Olga Korbut, Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, George Orwell, Pablo Picasso, Plato, Ronald Reagan, Bertrand Russell, Mother Teresa, Oscar Wilde.
Beginning with the origins of gardens, this gloriously illustrated expedition through time and place begins in ancient Mesopotamia and explores the luscious gardens of the Sumerians, Assyrians, Babylonians and Persians. From here we move to Ancient Greece and Rome, to the beginnings of botany and Roman topiary. The coverage of the gardens of Islam is especially gratifying with the authors’ description of them as being “among the most sublime in the world - soothing, refreshing and deeply spiritual” borne out by the accompanying photography and images of ancient art, tiles, textiles and scripts. Later we enter the complex formalised gardens of 17th century France, celebrated as expressions of “French rationalism”, and then comes an unearthing of the founding of Kew Gardens, before we discover the history and charms of gardens of the Americas, China and Japan. Written by gardening history doyenne Penelope Hobhouse and celebrated writer Ambra Edwards, this is a dazzlingly informative labour of love.
How I loved The Secret Garden as a child - the slow-building, spellbinding sense of magic, the enchantment of nature, the gradual, glowing, transformative friendship between (initially moody, miserable) Mary and Dickon. While the period The Secret Garden evokes is very different from our own, the magical elements at its heart radiate through the particulars of its age. And what better way to introduce today’s young readers to the magic than with this Wordsworth Collector’s Edition? With a stylishly illustrated cover - replete with gold foil - and lovely hardback format, this will add plenty of panache to home and school libraries. Beautiful Books - Wordsworth Collector's Editions - The latest series for people that love beautiful books.
Open your hearts and minds to the world of seabirds and the wild landscape of the British Isles in this thoughtful and eloquently written book. Stephen Rutt travels the British Isles and tells of his love for birds that spend much of their life out at sea. Even if not previously entranced by seabirds or nature, Stephen Rutt’s words cast a spell to draw you in. If like me, nature is part and parcel of your inner soul, then this is simply magical, but also holds a warning for our future. One huge reminder from The Seafarers is that it proves just how important nature is for our mental health and wellbeing. The introduction really spoke to me, we learn a little about Stephen before he moves on to ten chapters focusing on different seabirds. From the thrill of meeting a Lech’s storm petrel, to the declining population of the skua, he travels from Lundy to Shetland and we learn as much about the islands as we do seabirds. His thoughts on: “the Anthropocene - defined as the era in which the majority of things on earth have been altered by the actions of humans” and that: “We are losing our seabirds. I fear that what we are seeing with plastics is perhaps the beginning of another death spiral” really hit home. Winner of the Saltire First Book of the Year 2019, The Seafarers is not only a beautiful book to read, it acts as a reminder of the importance of our natural world.
Looking for the perfect birthday gift? The right book for Mother’s day, or a stocking filler for christmas? Look no further as we have the perfect selection for you.