What’s on my Christmas list?
A few people have asked me to recommend a few books for Christmas, so here are the books I shall be buying for friends and family this year – if you are one of that group, look away now!
But before giving my recommendations (which are in no particular order), I must say that this has been a great year for books. One of the frustrating things about my job is that you end up not having much time to read books you are not writing about. Now that doesn’t always matter, but in a year when there is so much good stuff out there, it is frustrating. So if you have any other recommendations, feel free to share them.
Birds In Your Garden by the Wildlife Trusts
A perfect stocking filler for all those who enjoy their twice a year dose of Oddiewatch. It is clearly laid out, with great illustrations and information on everything from how to feed the birds in your garden to habitat management. Even if you don’t have a garden, it is a good companion for long walks in the country or short walks in the park.
The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas
Quite simply the book I have most enjoyed this year. It is smart, clever, fiendishly plotted and the first time I have managed to get my head round relativity, Schrödinger’s Cat and Derrida without having to reread a sentence. It is a book to blow the socks off anyone who believes that women only write “domestic fiction”.
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
This controversial blast at the God Squad is required reading whether you are a believer or not. I don’t agree with everything he says – his targets among the religious (fundamentalists) are a little too easy – but I do agree with most of it and think this is an important book. As always, it is well written and polemical, but it is far less pompous than Christopher Hitchens’ God is Not Great.
Sepulchre by Kate Mosse
Labyrinth was such a huge success that it must have been a hard act to follow, but fans will not be disappointed with this time-slip thriller that once again features feisty heroines linked across the years (this time a century). I actually found it a more satisfying read than Labyrinth, and found myself dreaming about tarot, devils and Debussy – yes, really. A great book to escape into during the chaos of a family Christmas.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Just the most gorgeous children’s book to give to grown ups that I have seen in ages – and there is lots of lovely stuff out there, I know. Picture book, graphic novel, and thrilling fantasy, it bursts the boundaries of the conventional novel with style and substance. I defy anyone to put this book back on the bookshop shelf after picking it up.