Gifts for book lovers


Books - Credit: Archant

A good book is a must on any Christmas list. Catherine Larner, of Browsers bookshop in Woodbridge, makes her seasonal suggestions

Books - Ottlolenghi's roated brussels

Books - Ottlolenghi's roated brussels - Credit: Archant

Whether you’ve done your Christmas shopping and have only those difficult last presents to find, or have only just confronted the task and are beginning to panic, let me suggest that a book is the perfect gift for anyone and everyone.

A book works straight away – no batteries required – it’s easy to wrap, you don’t need to know what size to get and there’s a book to suit everyone. And if you think a book is rather old fashioned when there are so many gadgets and gizmos around, just take a look at the craftsmanship involved in these latest titles. Each book showcases the skills of a designer, an illustrator, a typographer and a printer, let alone the author.


by Emma Chichester Clark

A delightful new picture book for adults by award-winning illustrator and author Emma Chichester Clark. For the past couple of years, Emma has been compiling a blog relating the adventures of her dog called Plum. Drawn in Emma’s distinctive style, the blog has been collated into book form and is something to cherish. It’s beautiful to look at, charming to read and will strike a chord with dog owners. There are mentions of Aldeburgh to savour and it may even win over cat lovers.

In the Country

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by David Gentleman

The Suffolk coastline and its countryside provide an infinite source of inspiration to artists and writers. Illustrator, watercolourist and stamp designer David Gentleman has released a book in which he describes why Suffolk is so special to him. In the Country, produced by Saxmundham based publisher Full Circle Books, is Gentleman’s very personal account of his Huntingfield home, the surrounding fields, rivers and beaches, all accompanied by his stunning artwork.

Cobbold and Kin by Clive Hodges

There are artists and craftsman among the Cobbolds, although the family name – synonymous with Suffolk – is more often associated with brewing and Ipswich Town Football Club. Historian Clive Hodges has delved into the Cobbold family archive to tell the story of the fascinating and diverse achievements of family members in Cobbold and Kin, from Suffolk publishers Boydell & Brewer. The lives of 32 of the family’s most interesting and colourful characters are included. They represent industry and agriculture, the arts, public service, science, sport and military service.

A Visual Journey by Ed Sheeran and Philip Butah

Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran is something of a modern ambassador for Suffolk. Still in his twenties, he has already played in prestigious venues, won top awards and achieved huge commercial success. To satisfy his legions of fans and to champion the work of his friend, artist Philip Butah, Ed has collaborated on a book about his life to date. A Visual Journey is published by Cassell and is a readable account of his formative years interspersed with photographs, illustrations and portraits.

Rosie Revere Engineer and Iggy Peck Architect by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts

These charming picture books written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts are all about encouraging children to have ambition while still very young. Rosie Revere Engineer is a young girl who secretly likes making things from discarded items. She is visited by an elderly aunt who used to design aeroplanes, and encouraged not to hide, but to celebrate her inventions. Iggy Peck Architect is a boy who likes to make skyscrapers out of anything to hand. His teacher frowns on his creations, but on a school trip Iggy shows his true talent.


from Abrams Appleseed

Books for children have long been a delight with ingenious lift-the-flaps, pop-ups and cut-outs. Recognising that parents also want to be entertained by these books, publishers are becoming increasingly inventive. My favourites at the moment are the Countablock, from Abrams Appleseed, a small square board book, providing a cut-out number on one page, and more details of the image on the next spread, all from one to 100. There’s also a lovely board book called The Busy Bookshop, which shows customers enjoying the books with rotating pages and images revealed under flaps and along tags.

The Persephone Diary

Persephone Books have dignified, understated, grey covers, with delightful typefaces, quality paper, and glorious endpapers carefully chosen to reflect the era of the book. Persephone republishes books, mainly novels, which have gone out of print, and brings them to a new audience. The Persephone Diary celebrates the range of titles available by including their opening sentences, and showcasing the 110 endpaper designs - the perfect gift for a real booklover.

For cooks . . .

The artwork for cookery books over the years is highlighted in a marvellous new collection of postcards from Penguin. The box contains 100 front covers of cookbooks, from the much loved Elizabeth David to more obscure titles such as The I Hate to Cook Book.

Serious cooks might like to try spectacular dishes from the Middle East in Ottolenghi’s Plenty More and Sabrina Ghayour’s award-winning Persiania. The dishes are colourful, delicious and exotic, and are works of art in their own right.