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.

November 2021 Featured Books

Vanity Project

Vanity Project

Author: Dave Thomas Format: Hardback Release Date: 22/11/2021

A statement piece gift for lovers of fashion and the world of celebrity styling, Vanity Project tells the rags-to-glad-rags story of Dave Thomas, an erstwhile unemployed plumber whose hard graft and flair for styling saw him take the fashion world by storm. Featuring over 300 iconic photographs of notables from many fields across three decades - models, musicians, actors, sportspeople - this huge book celebrates the work of a pioneering stylist while also paying homage to the Prince’s Trust grant that enabled Thomas to get his stylish foot in the door, with 10% of the cover price being donated to the Trust, and a foreword by Prince Charles. The book also features original contributions from some of the celebrities Thomas has worked with over the years - Lionel Ritchie, Anna Friel, Boy George, and the Spice Girls, to name but a few - plus fascinating press cuttings, and intriguing insights into the impact of styling. 

Peeing is Relieving

Peeing is Relieving

Author: Robert Eddison Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/11/2021

Followers of Robert Eddison on social media (Twitter - @roberteddison1) will know that he is the undisputed master of the contemporary, pithy, one liner, with over 29,000 original aperçus on 150 different subjects to his name and tens of thousands of followers across his various platforms. In Peeing is Relieving he reveals a huge talent and endearing fascination for the quirks and power of language and also displays a playful, light hearted, world view that, while it occasionally toes the line of decency, never actually steps over it. There are chuckles aplenty  - and some rather lovely illustrations - in this compact volume, which will leave you pondering the more profound insights of some of the entries as you revel in the simple absurdity of others. In the introduction, by the Times’ diary editor, Patrick Kidd makes the point that “it takes real craft to express home truths in just a handful of words, especially when they are so funny,” and he is absolutely right. Rennison joins an illustrious band of writers and thinkers throughout history who have managed to marshal a love of language and wordplay and crystallise a skewed look at life in all its ridiculous glory. As Rennison says “The English language is not so rich that it has the mot juste for everything,” but as he ably demonstrates, in the hands of a master, it comes pretty darn close. He also says that “For most of us, the straight and narrow needs widening,” and Peeing is Relieving will certainly broaden your outlook.

This is the Canon

This is the Canon

Author: Joan Anim-Addo, Deirdre Osborne Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/10/2021

Highlighting reads that encourage you to explore new beliefs, ideas, and opinions, this was an eye-opening read for me. Recommending a collection of 50 novellas and novels from around the world, with voices from all backgrounds and races, the reader is encouraged to rethink the novels that are considered the classics of literature. It is explained as: “an intervention that offers opportunities for readers to explore a broader reach of works than those that are perennially taught and examined, or promoted”. Prior to reading this I believed that I read far and wide, across genres, continents, and authors, and yet and yet, I’ve only read books by four of these authors. It really brought me up short and has made me rethink my reading lists. I know that some of my LoveReading reviewing colleagues have already read many of these books, but for me, the majority will be new. Joan Anim-Addo, Deidre Osborne, and Kadija Sesay are well respected and explain their thoughts, reasoning, and hold their arms wide in welcoming you to This is the Canon. Each of the 50 books is introduced and includes details of publishing, the author, and other recommended books. The Afterword encourages you, as a reader, to make a difference in the literary world, to make your voice heard. Sitting as a LoveReading Star Book and Liz Pick of the Month, This is the Canon offers a huge opportunity to the reader, and one that I will be taking up.

Star Books
Celebrating the Seasons with the Yorkshire Shepherdess

Celebrating the Seasons with the Yorkshire Shepherdess

Author: Amanda Owen Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/10/2021

A stunning book from Amanda Owen - shepherdess, wife, mother of nine children, bestselling author and star of C5's Our Yorkshire Farm - that brings her world to life in glorious colour. In Celebrating the Seasons, Amanda shares funny and charming stories about life with her family and their many four-legged charges and describes their activities at Ravenseat, from lambing and shearing to haymaking and feeding the flock in midwinter. Her gorgeous photographs showcase the famous Swaledale landscape she writes about, from the sweeping moors to rare wildflowers and the elusive hares glimpsed in the field. She lives in tune with nature and Amanda's attitude to food is the same. She believes in buying good, seasonal ingredients when it comes to feeding her family and includes her favourite recipes here, from wild garlic lamb with hasselback roast potatoes to rhubarb and custard crumble cake and Yorkshire curd tart. As inspirational as Amanda herself, this book is a beautiful keepsake that will delight everyone who has followed her adventures so far.

Rise

Rise

Author: Maliha Abidi Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/10/2021

Relating the remarkable stories of 100 extraordinary women of colour, Maliha Abidi’s Rise is an inspirational, informative showstopper of an anthology. Global in scope and engagingly lively in style, it’s a powerful and beautifully curated testament to trailblazing women of colour from all walks of life, from all fields of endeavour (literature, science, engineering, business, banking, mathematics, politics, law, medicine, human rights activism, sport, art, music, dance), from all corners of the world. What a glorious gift this is to treasure - and draw inspiration from - for a lifetime. Featuring women from over 40 countries, these are pioneers who’ve risen above multiple challenges to have huge impact on the world, whether in the public eye, or behind the scenes. While the book includes seminal icons who are household names (among them Beyonce, Frida Kahlo, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Rosa Parks and Serena Williams), Rise also highlights lesser-known names whose work has had huge impact on our world. Like the women themselves, Maliha Abidi’s writing style is engaging and keenly focussed, and her striking portraits of each innovator are an exuberant, life-filled joy.

Star Books
The Book of Change

The Book of Change

Author: Stephen Ellcock Format: Hardback Release Date: 21/10/2021

An absolute wow of a book which offers and encourages new thoughts and feelings. I follow Stephen Ellcock on social media, he collates images and celebrates the beautiful, different, weird and wonderful and I often stop, pause, and ponder as I scroll. His first book All Good Things, was totally gorgeous, and a LoveReading Star Book. In The Book of Change Stephen states: “I am continually driven by an overwhelming, gnawing frustration at the injustices of the world and an intense desire for something better”. He goes on to explain that this book is a response to his lifelong feeling of alienation and dislocation, and the current situation we find ourselves in 2021. His introduction sings of his wish for justice, equality, and peace for all. He looks into the past, observes the present, and reaches out to the future, to information, mass media, and power, and he addresses the issues that are plaguing our planet. He offers seven sections, starting with Source, and ending with Hope, and boy, did the images contained within evoke my emotions. I found myself being drawn into each one, sometimes caught by the obvious, sometimes looking past and through into the hidden, the darkness, the suggestive heart. At times I felt uncomfortable, I was definitely challenged, and was left feeling that this book had taken on a life of its own within my thoughts and feelings. The Book of Change, so darkly beautiful and provocative, has been chosen as a LoveReading Star Book. 

Star Books

October 2021 Featured Books

Robinson Crusoe A Robert Ingpen Illustrated Classic

Robinson Crusoe A Robert Ingpen Illustrated Classic

Author: Daniel Defoe Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/10/2021

Michael Morpugo’s Kensuke’s Kingdom is just one of the very many stories for adults and children alike that have been inspired by Daniel Defoe’s classic shipwreck story. Written over 300 years ago, the story of Robinson Crusoe, an impulsive young man who runs away to sea against the best efforts of his parents to stop him, is packed full of gripping action as Crusoe survives the worst the elements throw  at him before he is shipwrecked on an apparently uninhabited island. The story of Crusoe’s life on an island is a lyrical study of a place as well as an inspiring story of one man’s resourcefulness. In this adapted edition award-winning illustrator Robert Inkpen’s illustrations bring Daniel Defoe’s classic story to life in timeless images. 

Gulliver's Travels A Robert Ingpen Illustrated Classic

Gulliver's Travels A Robert Ingpen Illustrated Classic

Author: Jonathan Swift Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/10/2021

When ship’s surgeon Gulliver sets off across the seas in search of adventure he has little idea what he will find. His two greatest discoveries are the countries of Lilliput and Brobdingnag.  In Lilliput he finds a population of tiny people to whom he appears as a giant while in Brobdingnag the roles are reversed: Gulliver is tiny and Brobdingnags are giants.  Swift uses Gulliver’s descriptions of his experiences in these contrasting countries to write a satirical commentary on his own society. His use of Gulliver’s altered relative size gives great scope for studying everyday events in a new way and makes a fine vantage point for telling the contrasting stories. Gulliver is an iconic figure in literature. Read aloud, this abridged edition with is impressionistic yet detailed illustrations by Robert Ingpen will make an excellent way to introduce the story about him to young readers.

Books of the Month
Gennaro's Limoni

Gennaro's Limoni

Author: Gennaro Contaldo Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/10/2021

“Lemons are precious to me; a symbol of my beloved homeland, they stir up fond memories of my childhood as well as having a wealth of uses. They cleanse, refresh, preserve and are an absolute essential in the home.” So explains celebrated, amiable Gennaro Contaldo in his introduction, setting the vibrant, sunshine-infused tone that streams through this splendid book. After sharing the specific delights of the Amalfi lemon he grew up with, locally known as the Sfusato Amalfitano (“it’s like no other: a huge, elongated-in-shape, knobbly, thick-skinned citrus fruit, but oh-so wonderfully sweet and aromatic”), Contaldo takes us through dozens of inspiring recipes, all accompanied by stunning photography. With chapters covering Small Plates, Vegetables, Fish, Meat, Desserts, Drinks and Preserves, and Sauces and Dressings, it’s as comprehensive as it is refreshing and practical, with no part of the lemon left unused. For example, Contaldo adds a sliver of zest to his breakfast espresso, while lemon pith and skin can be chopped into salads to add extra zing. From a lemon-infused pizza topped with sausage, mozzarella and rocket, to traditional antipasto dishes like scamorza cheese wrapped in lemon leaves, the recipes are truly refreshing. Then there’s the delights of limoncello spritz, and chocolate and lemon truffle. Passionate, personal and practical, this joyous book will delight a huge spectrum of home cooks.

eBooks of the Month
The Library

The Library

Author: Arthur der Weduwen, Andrew Pettegree Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/10/2021

A fascinating in-depth history of the library, this book weaves its way through time and is overflowing with tidbits and facts. The Library calls itself a: “fragile history”, and as beleaguered as our public libraries are today, you can see their past suffering too. This isn’t a light and breezy offering, it is serious, and seriously epic in its scope. I took my time, and soaked up the information, from learning about the gathering of baked clay tablets in Mesopotamia, how Popes, Kings, and Monasteries affected Libraries, the arrival of vertical shelving rather than trunks, all the way through and past the Second World War. I have always supported the idea of the library, but never before really thought about how they came into being, how books are selected, the discrimination and censorship that has taken place. Libraries should be a safe welcoming place for everyone, but that of course depends on a huge range of factors, all of which are detailed here. Arthur der Weduwen and Andrew Pettegree have spent time in over 300 libraries and archives, their acknowledgements and research material is listed. If you are interested in a detailed thought-provoking look into the history of the library, then The Library will answer your call. Chosen as a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Lockdown Secrets

Lockdown Secrets

Author: Eleanor Tattersfield Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/10/2021

Shifting from shocking confessions, to relatable emotions and experiences, Eleanor Tattersfield’s Lockdown Secrets is an ingenious concept of a book that will make an entertaining and elegant gift. It all began back in the dark days of a long COVID lockdown, when designer Eleanor Tattersfield heard a podcast about a 1980s answering machine confession line, leading her to “wonder what might happen if people had a similar opportunity at this strangest of times to document their own lockdown confessions.” Somewhat fortuitously, later that day, Eleanor found a box of unused postcards from the 1930s - “It felt like fate. I rushed upstairs, set up the type LOCKDOWN SECRETS and the shop’s address, and printed away.”  Following an Instagram shout-out - “I'll send you a postcard, you send me a secret” - replies flooded in, a selection of which are reproduced in this gorgeous book. Many of the cards are resplendent with illustrations, elaborate typography, clever collages, and intriguing handwriting, and all of them capture the shared experience of lockdown in all its complex strangeness. Indeed, the author noted a number of recurring themes - “food fetishes, masturbation, loneliness, breaking the rules, sex, love and, surprisingly, the love of lockdown.”  Honest and enlightening, what an extraordinarily unique document of such extraordinary times this book is.

A Greek Island Nature Diary

A Greek Island Nature Diary

Author: Jani Tully Chaplin Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/10/2021

Written and illustrated by designer Jani Tully Chaplin, A Greek Island Nature Diary is a joyous journal-format ode to its creator’s love of the islands, as expressed through her detailed watercolours and personal observations of nature and the shifting seasons. Having lived in Corfu, the author’s immersion in - and love for - this alluringly beautiful part of the world is infectious. Through spreads dedicated to different species of plant, flower, tree and animal, she shares her personal encounters with these natural wonders, alongside fascinating information about connected mythology, folklore, medicinal uses, and literature. Take the evocatively-named snake’s head iris, for example. Chaplin blissfully describes encountering these beauties in the undergrowth near her ancient olive trees, before sharing the flower’s connections to Iris, goddess of the rainbow and messenger to the gods. Published in an attractive hardback format, and resplendent with the author’s pencil drawings and watercolours (often vibrant, and always detailed), this will make a splendid gift for friends and family who adore exploring the Greek Islands, and for armchair travellers who’ve yet to discover their delights.

Beer Stained Pulp

Beer Stained Pulp

Author: Adam Kimberley Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/09/2021

“Tegestologist?” I hear you question. What the h***’s a tegestologist?  Well simply put it’s a collector of beer mats and the term comes from teges, the Latin for a covering or mat. But more on this later. Back in 2018 Adam Kimberly created an Instagram account to showcase his collection of ‘nicely designed beer mats from the past’ as he puts in it his brief introduction. Now, in this slim volume, he has selected the more fun, unusual and iconic mats and so has curated a superb slice of British history.  Rich in the nostalgia of once huge but now unheard of brands, along with names and drinks that never made the big time, the chosen mats illustrate the range of images, typography and more, from the late fifties through to the 1970’s. And it’s not just drinks that these little wood-pulp coasters were deployed for. From Walker’s Crisps to Palethorpes Pork Pies, from Butlins to B.O.A.C. the handy little mats were pressed into advertising everything from snacks to airlines, from safety to cigarettes, even Morcambe and Wise at the Hippodrome Theatre, Bristol. There are of course the usual discs and squares but the variety of shapes alone encompasses brandy balloons, beer kegs and even one in the shape of the Isle of Wight. Other than dates (where known) and confirmation of the advertiser, there is no further explanation given for each entry and none is needed, for each tells its own story in its own way. It is an act of quiet brilliance to compile and publish this and I for one am delighted by it. And as for tegel meaning mat or covering? Did you never stick a clean mat on top of your pint to stop fag ash falling in? No? Just me then.

Atlas of Imagined Places from Lilliput to Gotham City

Atlas of Imagined Places from Lilliput to Gotham City

Author: Matt Brown, Rhys B. Davies Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/09/2021

In Atlas of Imagined Places, Matt Brown and Rhys B. Davies have conjured a cartographic spectacle. This ingeniously executed, gorgeously presented book delivers a cornucopia of imagined locations, covering classics you might expect alongside unexpected places from pop culture you probably didn’t, from the legendary land of Atlantis and Gulliver’s Lilliput, to The Flintstones’ Bedrock and Springfield, of The Simpsons fame. Organised by areas of the world, and covering places known from myths, literature, comics, games, film and TV, this is a fantastic feat of research and design, delivered with wit and style. The detailed, vintage-style maps highlight everything from key buildings and towns, to notable mountains and seas, with each location (over 5000 in total) mapped for readers to further discover in the entertaining text. Clearly a labour of love for its clever creators, Atlas of Imagined Places is set to become a much-loved, long-treasured gift for map enthusiasts and culture vultures alike.

The Gloriumptious Worlds of Roald Dahl

The Gloriumptious Worlds of Roald Dahl

Author: Stella Caldwell & Quentin Blake Format: Hardback Release Date: 16/09/2021

For all those who are already fans of Roald’s Dahl’s awesome stories and for newcomers to them, this is a splendid introduction to some of the favourite characters and the most dramatic, hilarious, spinechilling and adventuresome stories that are his storytelling legacy. Following a brief account of Roald Dahl’s childhood and his famous writing shed, 15 of his top titles are cleverly explored through their main characters and the key features of the stories. There is James and his extraordinary crew from the awesome travelling peach in James and the Giant Peach; the delightful Charlie Bucket whose winning ticket takes him to Mr Wonka’s astonishing chocolate factory and a heap of adventures with some less lovely children including Veruca Salt and Augustus Gloop; the delightful Danny and his father and some fabulous pheasant poaching plots and the truly horrible Mr and Mrs Twit who have a whole book to themselves. The battle between Matilda and the awful Miss Trunchbull, the BFG’s encounter with the Queen and the utterly terrifying Witches – all of these and more are brought to life in these brief retellings which make clever use of letters, recipes and newspaper clippings. As in the originals, all are fabulously illustrated by Quentin Blake. The inclusion of an activity pack adds an interactive element to the book and enhances enjoyment of it.

The Complete Book of Vegan Compleating

The Complete Book of Vegan Compleating

Author: Ellen Tout Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/09/2021

Persuasively setting out to overturn commonly held views and cooking habits (“often the “rules” about cooking and food preparation are habits learned from our parents or from recipe books, so we don’t think to question why we discard some parts and eat others”), Ellen Tout’s The Complete Book of Vegan Compleating is inspiring in style, encyclopaedic in scope, and thoroughly practical. So, what exactly is “compleating”? As the author explains, it simply means eating “all edible parts of fruits, vegetables and herbs.” All too often we chop off and discard parts of food we could make tasty, nutritious use of - peelings, the tops of leeks, large proportions of ginger and chillies, and fruit seeds, for example. The author also points out that earlier generations, with their engrained “waste not, want not” attitude, didn’t discard perfectly decent food to the extent we do today. Alongside doing ourselves out of nutritional nuggets, and wasting money, this habit also has detrimental environmental impact: “When food reaches landfill, it can’t compost naturally and can take many years to degrade, releasing methane in the process. This is responsible for eight per cent of global greenhouse gases. On top of that, there’s also the land, energy, water, transport and resources involved in producing the food to begin with.” Within this clear, convincing context, the bulk of the book takes the form of a food-by-food guide to compleating. Each entry provides information on nutritional benefits, and ways to use every part of the plant, fruit, herb or vegetable through easy-to-follow, inspiring recipes, from how to make vegan butter from the liquid left in chickpea tins, to conjuring delicious crisps from pumpkin skin. Both inventive and practical, this book is sure to have readers binning long-held views and habits to stop all that needless binning of food.

September 2021 Featured Books

The Cat Who Saved Books

The Cat Who Saved Books

Author: Sosuke Natsukawa Format: Hardback Release Date: 16/09/2021

An absolute little treasure! After the death of his grandfather, Rintaro finds himself on an adventure with Tiger the talking cat, to help books that desperately need saving. This incredibly quirky and beautiful novel highlights the importance of books, friendship, and self-belief. The simplicity of the story highlights the warmth, the love, and the true power of books. It also encouraged me to explore my own relationship with books. Sosuke Natsukawa painted images straight into my thoughts, simple, clear, vividly bright, they still sit in my minds eye. A shout out to the translation by Louise Heal Kawai, as I felt as though I was reading the original Japanese version. If you, like me, think of books as being more than words on paper, if you talk to them and pat them, are moved by them and have thoughts altered by them, then I recommend The Cat Who Saved Books with my heart and soul. Chosen as one of my Liz Picks of the Month, it really would make the perfect gift, either for you, or another book-lover in your life.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Guinness World Records 2022

Guinness World Records 2022

Author: Guinness World Records Format: Hardback Release Date: 16/09/2021

Fully revised and updated, and with a bright new design, Guinness World Records 2022 provides a fascinating snapshot of our world today. Our editors have chosen to curate the book with environmental issues at the forefront of their mind, so we open with a chapter exploring what's happening to our ecosystem and what superlative lengths people are going to make a difference. We also want to encourage readers to put their own record-breaking to good, so look out for projects that might inspire you to make a difference - so don't just Discover Your World, Change Your World! Despite the challenges of the past year, it's been business as usual at Guinness World Records, and our researchers continue to field thousands of applications a month. Expect that unique mix of remarkable humans, talented pets, incredible vehicles and impressive sporting legends. What you'll find in our 10 record-packed chapters: Environmental champions - the eco-warriors fighting to make our planet a better place Wonders of the natural world, from the most intelligent creatures to the deadliest plants The tallest and shortest... Our record scouts have measured a host of the world's loftiest and diminutive humans Pop Culture icons - we reveal the world's most successful movie franchises, videogames, toys and brands Young Achievers - meet the under-16 influencers, entrepreneurs and entertainers who are taking positive steps to change the world Sporting heroes - we review the biggest sporting achievements of the year and put them in context alongside the greatest athletes of all time PLUS! Look out for bonus features including free Augmented Reality dinosaurs that come to life straight off the page; more inductees into the Guinness World Records Hall of Fame, including Sir David Attenborough, astronaut Peggy Whitson and K-Pop sensations BTS; and Virtual Visits that take you on a journey to some of the most fascinating and record-packed visitor attractions, museums, art galleries and parks - all without leaving your bedroom!

Nala's World

Nala's World

Author: Dean Nicholson Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/08/2021

Instagram phenomenon @1bike1world Dean Nicholson reveals the full story of his life-changing friendship with rescue cat Nala and their inspiring adventures together on a bike journey around the world. When 30-year-old Dean Nicholson set off from Scotland to cycle around the world, his aim was to learn as much as he could about our troubled planet. But he hadn't bargained on the lessons he'd learn from his unlikely companion. Three months after leaving home, on a remote road in the mountains between Montenegro and Bosnia, he came across an abandoned kitten. Something about the piercing eyes and plaintive meowing of the bedraggled little cat proved irresistible. He couldn't leave her to her fate, so he put her on his bike and then, with the help of local vets, nursed her back to health. Soon on his travels with the cat he named Nala, they forged an unbreakable bond - both curious, independent, resilient and adventurous. The video of how they met has had 20 million views and their Instagram has grown to almost 750k followers - and still counting! Experiencing the kindness of strangers, visiting refugee camps, rescuing animals through Europe and Asia, Dean and Nala have already learned that the unexpected can be pretty amazing. Together with Garry Jenkins, writer with James Bowen of the bestselling A Street Cat Named Bob, Dean shares the extraordinary tale of his and Nala's inspiring and heart-warming adventure together.

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.