As much as I love Christmas, I’m not so sure about the shopping part of it. My heart sinks when I look at the number of Christmas presents I need to buy over the next few weeks. I do enjoy buying books for people though, and there’s nothing quite as satisfying as finding the perfect book for someone you love. We’ve been trawling the bookshops and the newspapers to find the most interesting or beautiful (or both) books out there, and hopefully help you find the perfect book for someone. Here’s what we found.
Michele, Meg, Jane and Julie
Twenty books to choose from, four in each of the five categories: Novel, First Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Books – there’s is definitely something for everybody on the Costa Book Awards short-list. And it’s a great place to start you Christmas shopping.
In the Novel category we have Sebastian Barry’s Days Without End, Maggie O’Farrell’s This Must Be the Place, Sarah Perry’s The Essex Serpent, which we loved, and Rose Tremain’s The Gustav Sonata which we weren’t so keen on (full reviews are in the links).
There are also some interesting debut novels to look out for: Susan Beale’s The Good Guy, Kit de Waal’s My Name is Leon, Guinevere Glasfurd’s The Words in My Hand and Francis Suppford’s Golden Hill.
Winners in each category will be announced 3 January and the overall winner of Costa Book of the Year on the 31 January.
What better way to spend a dark October evening than reading a spine-chilling ghost story? Or even reading one aloud to your family? Many of them are short so you don’t need to scare yourself for days on end. We have selected our favourites and, if you want to freak out your children too, we have some for them as well…
Now here’s an author we think you should know about. English/Canadian David Szalay’s name keeps coming up these days, and for good reasons. Forty-two year old Szalay has four novels to his name, the last of which, All That Man Is, won him a place on this year’s Man Booker Prize short-list. He won the Betty Trask Award in 2008 for his curiously named novel London and the South-East and in 2013 he made it onto Granta magazine’s list of Best of Young British novelists. But most importantly, Szalay writes really, really well.
I know I won’t be able to resist Taschen’s fabulously illustrated cookbook Les Diners de Gala by artist Salvador Dali and his wife, Gala. Reissued for the first time in 40 years, the book comes with suitably wacky recipes, and a stark warning to its readers…
Here’s an excellent overview of the most important ones coming up this Autumn: The Nobel Prize for Literature (13 October), The Man Booker Prize (25th October) and the National Book Awards (16th November) including all the short-listed or long-listed books.