Yes folks, that time of year is upon us once again. Tis nearly the season to eat, drink, be merry and, of course, read books. And whilst it might still be a mite too early to start wishing anyone a 'Merry Christmas', I suspect many of you will have already begun Christmas shopping for you nearest and dearest. Books make wonderful Christmas presents for loved ones of all ages so I thought I'd put together some of my favourites into a little bookish Christmas gift guide for the book lovers in your life!
There are many books out there to choose from that I could go on an on with this guide but, rather than recommend a book per genre or age group, I've tried to focus on books and bookish gifts that I think are just a little bit special and are therefore unlikely to have already been bought by a book-lover for themselves!
This gorgeous illustrated edition of the first in the 'Harry Potter' series is sure to delight old fans and bring joy to new ones. Filled with beautiful drawings by illustrator Jim Kay, it's a lovely hardback edition that really brings out the magic of J K Rowling's story. A perfect way of introducing a new generation to the magic of the Harry Potter story, this would also make a fantastic present for existing fans who want to re-read this modern classic in a brand new format. It's on my Christmas list!
The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith
This beautiful cloth-bound hardback has just been shortlisted as one of Waterstones' Books of the Year. It tells the story of a lonely fox and the star that guides him through the forest night. Until one day Star goes missing and Fox must embark on a wonder-filled journey to find his friend. If you have little ones to buy for this is an absolute treat - a gentle little fable accompanied by the most beautiful Arts and Crafts inspired illustrations, making it a perfect book to read out loud whilst little eyes look at the pictures. And for any big kids in your life, the stunning presentation of this book makes it a lovely gift for the young at heart! Again, this is on my own Christmas list!
Stories in the Stars: An Atlas of the Constellations by Susanna Hislop (Illustrated by Hannah Waldron)
I received this gorgeous book for my birthday and can therefore attest to it being the most fabulous gift for anyone interested in star-gazing and the mythology behind the night sky. This beautifully illustrated book examines each of the 88 constellations and jumps between centuries, continents and cultures to tell the story behind the patterns in the night sky. Perfect for picking up and dipping in and out of, this is a lovely gift for star-gazers, historians and mythology lovers alike!
I always think that a special version of a favourite book makes a lovely gift. And some of the nicest versions out there, in my opinion at least, are these gorgeous cloth-bound classics produced by Penguin which, at about £15 a book, are reasonably priced also. There's a fair selection of titles, including Jane Austen's major novels (which are also available in a very nice boxed set if you really want to treat an Austen lover!) and works by the Bronte sisters, Wilkie Collins, Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens as well as childhood classics such as 'Treasure Island' and 'The Jungle Book'. My personal recommendation for the season is this lovely snowflake-covered edition of Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol', which also includes his other Christmas writings. Perfect for curling up by the fireplace with on a cold winter's evening, it's a book that I re-read every Christmas season (and, whisper it, the only Dickens' I've ever managed to finish!)
Another producer of special edition books is The Folio Society, who offer a wide range of classics and modern classics, both fiction and non-fiction, in beautifully illustrated hardback editions, all of which come in hard-case slipcovers. They are a little pricier than the Clothbound Classics - most books start from about £25.00 but some editions can be more than that - but the production values are excellent. The Folio Society are also offering a free set of illustrated Christmas cards with any order and, if you order more than two books, you get an illustrated hardback Folio Diary 2016, which is so gorgeous it's practically a present in itself!
Scribbelicious Jewellery & Gifts
If the book lover in your life already has a TBR that threatens to topple over and bury them, why not buy them some book-related jewellery. Scribbelicious is a literary gift company based in North Wales who make gorgeous silver and bronze plated pedants, bangles, key rings, book marks and earrings which feature a range of bookish quotes. They have recently added mugs and travel mugs to their range of gift items, as well as some original page fragment Christmas baubles. The range is really varied and jewellery comes presented in a lovely box inside a little bag - all ready for giving to your loved one! I've got a couple of Scribbelicious pieces now but could easily add more to my collection because all of their stuff is gorgeous!
Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest and Colouring Book by Johanna Basford
Adult colouring books have been the craze of 2015 and Johanna Basford was the lady that started it all. Her three books, 'Enchanted Forest', 'Secret Garden' and 'Lost Ocean' are all full to brimming with richly detailed scenes ready for colouring in to your heart's content. I really like the production values of Johanna's books but there are hundreds of adult colouring books out there to choose from this Christmas, including ones that offer geometric designs and mindfulness tips - you can even get 'Game of Thrones' and 'Doctor Who' themed ones! Add in a packet of pencils or pens and you've got a fantastic present that will provide an excuse for some welcome peace and quiet for the receiver on Boxing Day!
As I said at the start of this post, there really are so many lovely books available this Christmas and a trip to your local bookstore will reap rewards when it comes to Christmas shopping. Whilst most of the above can be found online, at Christmas, local bookshops often have some beautiful gift editions and gift sets in branch, as well as author signed copies of the latest hardbacks so it's well worth venturing onto the high street to take a look. In fact, why not head over to your local bookshop this coming Saturday (28 November) to take part in the #CivilisedSaturday, a Books Are My Bag campaign designed to counter the madness of Black Friday!
That's it for my bookish Christmas Gift Guide. I'll be back soon with a reading update and my November wrap up but, in the meantime, happy Christmas shopping and...