Sunday, December 08, 2013

Gift Giving: The Reading List

The seasonal gift guide continues with books. It is universally known that one of the greatest pleasures that comes with Christmas/Winter festivals is reading. To me the sign of shared familial love and understanding is the lull of silence that descends over the sitting room on the afternoon of the 25th, bar for the occasional cracking of the fire or interruption of rustling wrappers and the question "Quality Street?" Simple pleasures. 

I've mentioned before that myself, Mum and Step-Dad have a 'book and a bottle' rule each Christmas. Sometimes my Stepdad will play a wildcard and buy me a pair of slippers but this rule makes everything hassle-free in the gift shopping department. I can spend an afternoon lazily perusing the shelves at Waterstones and still be A Good Person. These are some of my picks for the best books to give to friends, relatives and lovers this December:

The Monocle Guide to Better Living: Whoa mama. I picked this up recently in Magma and suddenly found myself all 'pro-coffee table books' again. After a period of seeing them as a frivolity (seriously, when was the last time you leafed through all of those £40 fashion tomes you bought as a teenager?) the substance of this guide won me over again. This book is full of recommendations on locations, products and ideas that inspire better living across the globe. Cue gorgeous shots of people taking morning swims in open air pools and looking like they're having the best time ever in cities from Beirut to Berlin. 

2. Eames by Gloria Koenig and Peter Gossel: This book is a comprehensive guide to the careers of Ray and Charles Eames. Crammed with interiors-porn it's also a great 'new relationship' litmus test. Just leave it self-consciously lying open when you have a new friend or lover in the house and see if they take the bate!

3. Powers of Ten: A Flip-book: "More of the Eameses?" I hear you ask. This is Eames in bitesize; their Power of Ten film is even more seductive in flip-book form. Perfect for influencing the small children in your life with big ideas! (One of those presents for them that's really for you..)

4. Autobiography by Morrissey: Come on, of course you're going to buy this for someone this Christmas. If everybody and their uncle read Fifty Shades of Grey then the unofficial national bookclub should give this a go too. I did spend the first couple of pages chortling under my breath when I picked this up in a bookshop. But to be honest that may have been from all the pressure to have a visible public reaction in a Manchester bookshop. 

5. The Pop-Up Kama Sutra by Sir Richard Burton and F. F. Vatsyayana: No, not that Richard Burton. My Mum once bought this for Aunty Megan, the matriarch of our family who passed away this year just before her 102nd birthday. I was affected as a thirteen year old by how brave and awesome this act of gift-giving was. 

6. Tokyo: A Very Brief Introduction by Herb Lester I love Herb Lester guidebooks. You love Herb Lester guidebooks. Let's all put ourselves out of our misery this Christmas and buy someone a goddamn Herb Lester guidebook. 

7. Girls Are Not Chicks colouring book by Jacinta Bunnell: "We have had enough of books that make girls think that they are not any good. Girls are not chicks. Girls are thinkers, creators, fighters, healers and superheroes." *Clicks 'Add to Basket'*

And while we're on the subject, Bluestockings Magazine wrote this great post on the Top 7 Colouring Books for Feminists

Want to scroll through the sickening amount of gift guides I've compiled in previous years? Here, here, here, here and heere

And this is a picture of Edmund from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, which is exactly how i'll look on Christmas Day as I work my way through a pile of books. Like a greedy little bugger with a mouthful of turkish delight.

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