Booked up for Christmas

Share the magic of a book

Share the magic of a book - Credit: Archant

Jarrold’s book buyer and manager Chris Rushby selects a few must-reads to help you choose well this Christmas.



By Mark Cocker

(Jonathan Cape)

Recommended price £14.99; Jarrold’s price £12.99

This beautifully written journal observes the wildlife and landscape of the author’s local parish over a 12-month cycle. The prose is concise and the awareness of nature deep. There are appearances by “charismatic species” like otters and peregrine falcons, but the species list at the end of the book makes clear just what a diversity of life exists in one small corner of England. Although it’s not really a “local” read, the book just happens to be about the parish of Claxton in south Norfolk and is a brilliant evocation of that watery landscape down by the River Yare.

Most Read

Life story:

Last Man Standing – Tales From Tinseltown

By Roger Moore

(Michael O’Mara)

RRP £20; Jarrold’s price £15

When I was a child Roger Moore was The Saint. Then he was Brett Sinclair in The Persuaders; then James Bond. I must have blinked, because somehow he’s grown into a venerable veteran, one of the last surviving of the big screen stars of a certain era. Now here is a memoir packed with anecdotes, stories and gossip from a long and glittering career in film and TV, featuring the likes of Frank Sinatra, Gregory Peck, Sean Connery and Michael Caine. If you’re looking for a book in the great tradition of David Niven’s Bring On The Empty Horses you won’t be disappointed.

Children’s choice:

Awful Auntie

By David Walliams

(HarperCollins Children’s Books)

RRP £12.99; Jarrold’s price £6.49

David Williams rise to become the bestselling children’s author of our time has been meteoric. He can do no wrong and his latest book looks set to be his biggest yet. Tiddlywinks-obsessed Awful Aunt Alberta and her pet owl, Wagner, are on a mission to cheat young Lady Stella out of her inheritance, but Stella is determined to fight back and sometimes a special friend, however different, is all you need to win through . . .

Great read:

H Is For Hawk

By Helen Macdonald

(Jonathan Cape)

RRP £14.99; Jarrold’s price £12.99

A falconer’s memoir might not be your usual reading matter, but I recommend this book wholeheartedly. The author was knocked sideways by the death of her father and found a strange kind of relief in the training of a goshawk, at the same time as reading T H White’s tortured classic on the same subject. You might classify this as autobiography, or nature writing, but either way it’s at once a gripping and a sensitive read. The author is also a poet and you can hear poetry in these pages.

Local publication:

Norfolk Parish Treasures – North and West Norfolk

By Peter Tolhurst

(Black Dog Books)

Paperback edition £20; exclusive Jarrold’s hardback edition £25

This book, described by the author as “somewhere between a Pevsner and a Shell Guide”,

gets my vote for East Anglian book of the year. From Thornham to Rougham, from Docking to Felbrigg, here’s a fascinating and comprehensive guide, arranged by parish, to the best buildings and landscapes, the many natural and architectural treasures found in the northern part of the county (two further volumes planned for the next two years will cover the rest). The publisher has produced a hardback edition of the book exclusively for Jarrold’s.

Christmas stocking book:

Can It Be True?

Susan Hill, illustrated by Valerie Greeley

(Long Barn Books)

RRP £7.99

The hugely talented Susan Hill is able to turn her hand to some very different kinds of writing: General fiction and non-fiction, ghost stories like The Woman In Black, a string of successful crime novels featuring DC Simon Serailler – and now this beautiful little Christmas gift hardback. Can It Be True? is a prose poem by Susan, wonderfully illustrated by Valerie Greeley, telling a very different version of the Nativity story. All Jarrold’s stock of the book has been signed by the author.