From carousing critters to soothing stanzas, there’s a book gift to suit every taste. YOU books editor Kate Figes picks her desirable dozen…
NORMAL PEOPLE by Sally Rooney (Faber & Faber)
Connell and Marianne grow up in the same rural town in Ireland but come from very different social backgrounds. With each chapter their love affair unfurls – cautious, highly sexual and indestructible. The best novel about love published this year.
For art lovers
YOU ARE ALWAYS WITH ME – LETTERS TO MAMA by Frida Kahlo (Virago)
Highly personal and previously unpublished letters from Frida Kahlo to her beloved mother in which she confides her anxieties and reveals her critical painter’s eye. A glorious, visually enticing book with paintings and photographs included.
For younger children
MY ART BOOK OF LOVE by Shana Gozanksy (Phaidon)
A board book with a difference – every page portrays aspects of love with the help of lush pictures of key works of art. Original, joyful and the perfect bedtime read with that last cuddle.
For older children
THE SKYLARKS’ WAR by Hilary McKay (Macmillan)
Moving and beautifully written tale of a young girl who lives for the summer holidays with her cousins in Cornwall to relieve her loneliness. Then the First World War breaks out and they are all forced to grow up…
Intriguing stocking filler
WHAT A HAZARD A LETTER IS by Caroline Atkins (Safe Haven)
A collection of remarkable unsent letters – angry tirades, unexpressed love and missed deliveries from both fiction and real life. Full of riveting detail for that Christmas Quiz.
For film buffs
BLOWING THE BLOODY DOORS OFF – AND OTHER LESSONS IN LIFE by Michael Caine (Hodder & Stoughton)
National treasure and Hollywood legend shares stories from his past as well as his hard-won wisdom. Funny, self-deprecating and inspiring, this is a perfect read for curling up on Boxing Day.
EAST OF CROYDON – BLUNDERINGS THROUGH INDIA AND SOUTH EAST ASIA by Sue Perkins (Michael Joseph)
Sue Perkins had never been further east than the Costa del Sol because ‘I am a terrible hypochondriac, no good with boats and can’t survive more than three minutes from a supermarket’. Then she was asked to make a documentary about travelling up the Mekong River…
POSTCARDS FROM THE TRENCHES – A GERMAN SOLDIER’S TESTIMONY OF THE GREAT WAR by Irene Guenther (Bloomsbury)
Otto Schubert painted a series of postcards that he sent to his sweetheart. Schubert proved to be a prolific artist who survived both World Wars. These powerful images document the truths of war.
A LITTLE BOOK OF LATIN FOR GARDENERS by Peter Parker (Little Brown)
Far from being a mystery, the Latin names for plants give us vital information about a plant’s needs and how big it will grow. This fascinating companion includes some wonderful stories illustrated with fine woodcuts.
THE NEW FASHION RULES by Victoria McGrath (Harper Collins)
Insights into the changing world of fashion from the curator of the Inthefrow blog, as well as insider information on sale-shopping, Instagramming succesfully and how to buy and sell clothes.
THE INKING WOMAN by Nicola Streeten & Cath Tate (Myriad Books)
Funny, eye-opening collection of cartoons by female comic artists about women’s lives over the past 250 years.
THE BOROUGH MARKET COOK BOOK by Ed Smith (Hodder & Stoughton)
Recipes and stories from London’s finest food market arranged seasonally. These sumptuous and easy dishes show that it is market shopping which will bring the best food to your table.