Gift Books

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.

May 2022 Featured Books

England on Fire

England on Fire

Author: Stephen Ellcock Format: Hardback Release Date: 10/05/2022

A stunningly provocative and thought-provoking book viewing England from a different perspective, one where: “magic and rebellion and destruction are the horses to which the country is hitched. On these fabled shores we are all castaways, whether our family has lived here for four thousand years or four”. Stephen Ellcock’s books are particular favourites of mine, I regularly dip into All Good Things, and The Book of Change. Here he has joined forces with Mat Osman, whose short texts sit as an introduction to each chapter where the images chosen are allowed to sing. I love Mat’s introduction! He perfectly describes Stephen’s talent for choosing images and picking up on the thoughts and feelings of the moment. He also brings England to life: “Like a teenager sulking in their room, England is in one of its periodic spasms of insularity - but no matter, we’ve been here before”. Look deeper, explore roots that are bound to the ancient and to wilderness, join protests and anti-fascist marches, adore our absurdity while remaining aware of our capacity for division  and discord. While our dark times are explored, hope springs in the form of a new breed of artists, the images chosen here matter, they speak of and to our deepest emotions. This book has helped me to feel connected again with the country in which I live, my eyes opened in a new awareness. A LoveReading Star book, England on Fire is truly beautiful, it’s astute, inclusive, and absolutely magical.

Star Books
The Hedgerow Apothecary Forager's Handbook

The Hedgerow Apothecary Forager's Handbook

Author: Christine Iverson Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/04/2022

Before picking up the Forager’s Handbook, the practice of ‘foraging’ seemed to me something of a dark art or perhaps even an act of desperation. Having spent a few evenings with this book, I now find myself planning trips out of town to hunt for beech nuts that I can make coffee with, or elderflower to create my own cordial. It’s so obvious, of course, that the countryside is packed with wild plants that provide remedies, health foods, and hold secrets that can be put to other uses in the home. We're just not looking anymore. Over the past centuries our knowledge of foraging has slipped away, like so many things, as we’ve sacrificed simple and sustainable living for mass manufacture and distribution. Author Christine Iverson writes, “When I go foraging in the hedgerows I feel I am following in the footsteps of our ancestors.” There is no doubt an emotional, or perhaps even spiritual benefit to be gained from ‘living off the land’ as much as possible, and discovering the gifts that nature has tucked away for us in the hedgerows. Helpfully, this apothecary focuses very much on the practical. It is arranged by season so you know what you have a chance of finding when you venture out, how to identify what you are looking for, and of course what the common uses are for what you find. The Forager’s Handbook is a wonderful companion to inspire a fun day out, but also to slip into your pocket as you stroll along should the opportunity for some spontaneous foraging arise.

The Armourer's House

The Armourer's House

Author: Rosemary Sutcliff Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/01/2022

What a treat it is for a Rosemary Sutcliff treasure to be newly presented to the world, and in a beautiful package that befits the story’s historic charms and thrills, with charming chapter heading illustrations by Isabel Greenberg, and an introduction by Lara Maiklem, the acclaimed author of Mudlarking. This Manderley Press edition of The Armourer’s House will make a glorious gift for fans of historic fiction who relish intrigue and atmosphere, and comes highly recommended for readers who love Eva Ibbotson’s writing, and contemporary writers like Celia Rees and Katherine Rundell. First published in 1951, The Armourer’s House is set in London during the reign of Henry VIII, and rich in the engaging period detail Sutcliff is renowned for. When her grandmother dies, Tamsyn leaves her Devonshire seaside town and ship merchant Uncle Martin to live with Uncle Gideon in his armourer’s house on the Thames. Having a wife and large family, Gideon is deemed a more suitable guardian, but Tamsyn “did not want to be brought up properly, she only wanted to be happy”. She also longs to “have adventure and sail the seas of the world” — how on earth will she manage so far from the sea? Though something of a fish out of water in London’s chaos, Tamsyn’s imagination and heart are captured by the river traffic that passes Dolphin House, with her new excitement engagingly evoked alongside details of life in Tudor London — the Royal Dockyard, Billingsgate fish market, the autumnal “pink-flushed sky” behind Westminster, King Henry VIII himself travelling in the Royal Barge with Queen Anne Boleyn. Tellingly, Tamsyn “liked the Queen best, observing how her eyes were “terribly unhappy”. Then, on magic-charged Midsummer’s Eve, a Wise Woman presages that Tamsyn will find her “heart’s desire”, enhancing the novel’s aura of enchantment, and leading to a delightful denouement. Heartily satisfying for 9+ year-olds who love historic fiction, this also comes recommended as wonderful book to read together — no one is too old for the joys of reading aloud and being read to, and this ideal for exactly that.

April 2022 Featured Books

Go Camping

Go Camping

Author: Katherine Latham Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/04/2022

Go Camping is a celebration of the freedom that camping brings - the perfect gift either to yourself or for a friend who may be toying with the idea of taking the plunge into this world of wilderness, wonder and escapism. This is a book to keep close at hand, to pick up and put down between tasks and chores to remind yourself that there are big and small adventures out there just waiting for you to turn up and have them. The book is packed with inspiring tips, info, quotes and photographs which beckon to your inner explorer from every page, willing you to get out there and do it! Open the book at random and you’ll discover pitching tips, turn a few pages and you’re checking out tasty camping recipes… from bushcraft to foraging, in tents or in campervans… kit lists, destinations, birdwatching, wild swimming, games… you name it. Go Camping feeds your camping dreams and introduces you to one of life’s purest and most fulfilling experiences. Don’t miss it.

Life Lines What Your Handwriting Says About You

Life Lines What Your Handwriting Says About You

Author: Tracey Trussell Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/03/2022

Framed in the context of graphology dating back to the time of Confucius (“it did not just rock up in the twentieth century”), and underpinned by the belief that analysing a person’s handwriting can “uncover pretty much everything – someone’s character, behaviour, skill sets, values, aspirations and proclivities, core motivation and potential”, Life Lines by Tracey Trussell offers readers clearly presented, comprehensive insights into this fascinating field, with a distinctly holistic approach. Part One presents an intriguing compilation of personal and professional case studies that set out to show how “handwriting is intrinsically and unequivocally linked to the brain, inadvertently supplying a direct line to the human mind”, pointing out how people might hide their true character through their handwriting, revealing fears, insecurities and contradictions to the trained eye. It’s also fascinating on the way our handwriting changes through time, and how couples’ compatibility might be seen through the way they write. Part Two covers “the mental health landscape”, with up-to-the-minute detail on the effects of the pandemic, and how the likes of stress, dementia and criminality manifests itself through handwriting, while the section on the ”humanity of handwriting” makes a powerful case for why we should continue to write by hand in this era of communicating via keyboards and touch screens.

Out of Isolation A Charity Anthology

Out of Isolation A Charity Anthology

Author: Susie Coreth Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/03/2022

Out of Isolation: A Charity Anthology is a collection of poems, essays, diaries and personal reflections from well-known writers, all written during the Covid-19 pandemic. This book provided me with much-needed distraction over a weekend, away from the rest of the world, as I dipped in and out of its written treasures. It took me on a literary journey across time and space. All of the entries were thought-provoking and beautifully written. The most poignant contributions for me included the anonymous contribution by a junior doctor, the diary of a complicated pregnancy, and an amusing poem about being stuck inside during lockdown, when you're naturally an outdoors person (with an outdoors dog) - these are real people leading seemingly ordinary lives struggling to cope with the extraordinary circumstances of a pandemic and its impact, particularly on mental health. The anthology is raising money for the charity Shout 8528, which offers free 24/7 mental health text support in the UK. 

Superheroes, Orphans and Origins

Superheroes, Orphans and Origins

Author: Foundling Museum Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/03/2022

What a fascinating, thought-provoking, and fabulous book this is! I am a bit of a comic fan, have been since I was a child, and yet I’d never, not once, considered just how many of the characters found in comics and graphic novels were orphaned or abandoned children. Just think about some of the iconic superheroes, Superman, Spiderman, Batman, Wolverine, and there are many more who are also orphaned, adopted, and fostered. The Foundling Museum and Unicorn Publishing explore the last 125 years of comics and graphic novels, travelling to nine different countries and three continents in order to encourage: "a new way to experience comics”. In her foreword, Caro Howell the Foundling Museum Director mentions Lemn Sissay’s poem, Superman was a Foundling, which sits as a mural in the museum, and says it: “presents an implicit challenge to the viewer: Why, when looked-after children have such a powerful presence in culture, are they so marginalised in real life?” she hopes to: “raise awareness of the immense resilience needed to overcome separation, loss, stigma and society’s indifference, and to build a sense of self and self-worth”. Brilliant, vividly vibrant artwork appears, along with the thoughts and perspectives from different contributors who have been in care. I found my thoughts exploring new paths, and I want to stand up and applaud this book. Superheroes, Orphans and Origins is an eye-opening exploration that I can highly recommend, and it’s been chosen to sit as a LoveReading Star Book.

Star Books

March 2022 Featured Books

Mama A World of Mothers and Motherhood

Mama A World of Mothers and Motherhood

Author: Hélène Delforge, Quentin Gréban Format: Hardback Release Date: 17/02/2022

Undoubtedly a beautiful gift to give and share for Mother’s Day, Mama also makes the perfect present for mums-to-be, new mothers, and long-time mamas. Hélène Delforge's stirring, honest words are a universal, lyrical wonder, with Quentin Gréban's portraits of mothers from all corners of the globe, across many different eras, infused with life, love and radiant detail. Mama presents a journey through motherhood in all its complexity from those first steps, first words, first giggle, first exclamation of “Mama!” and first “I love you”, through to worries about the world — how mothers need to be “a fortress against the hardships of the world”. Then there are those guilt-inducing remarks, the conflicting “unwanted advice” about breastfeeding, bottles, how to handle a crying baby, and where your baby should sleep. It’s an emotive tale of change, of mother and child journeying together, of planting seeds, tending them, and watching them bloom. Above all, this is a soulful once-a-mama-always-a-mama story to treasure, no matter how old you or your child might be.

Adrift

Adrift

Author: Tracey Williams Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/02/2022

A charming, thoughtful, quirky yet stunning little book awaits anyone with a yen for beauty, and in particular those with a love for lego, beach combing, the environment and the impact of humans on our oceans. Beachcomber Tracey Williams has been finding lego washed up on beaches for years, ever since a container of nearly 5 million pieces of lego fell off a cargo ship in 1997. Here she examines the journeys the lego pieces have taken, the history of beach combing, and the environment consequences of plastic in our oceans. Even though I’m well aware of the fabulous books Unicorn publishes, I have to say that I wasn’t quite expecting this treasure to fall into my hands. It is full of colourful images including photos, paintings, and sketches. Personal memories, newspapers cuttings, poems, notes, and interviews populate the pages. While there is much to delight, the consequences of our littering of the oceans is made abundantly clear. The irony of much of the lego pieces belonging to a set about the sea, is not lost. Oceanographer Dr Curtis Ebbesmeyer began following the lego spillage back in 1997, and his section really hits home. He talks about one spillage in the Pacific where items floated around the world and he says of the plastic: “I like to tell people how one green frog washed up in the Gulf of Mexico, having been in the sea for twenty-six years”. He succinctly finishes: “It looks like James Bond had it wrong. It’s not diamonds that are forever. It’s actually plastic”. The story of the lego is a fascinating one, from the beach combing art of the finds, through to highlighting the environmental impact. This book would make a perfect gift for all ages, younger children will be fascinated by the colour as an older reader guides them, lego enthusiasts will be thrilled, anyone with an interest in the ocean and our environment I am sure will be captivated. Adrift really is special, it contains 183 pages of engaging information and images, and we declare it a LoveReading Star Book.

Star 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 the perfect selection for you.