Xmas Sav(i)ours – book prezzies

Luckily, Auntie May brought a red paper cover to save the purple cloth from gravy stains. It clashes with the mustard coloured curtains just as badly, but now the glasses are filled everyone’s eyes are focussed elsewhere.  


In the last post you were faced with your Christmas fellow guests and the solution for ensuring you had more than the most predictable bendable rectangle wrapped in red paper with green conifer design and tin gold curlable twine. Worse still, the ultimate insult: a book token. (“You couldn’t even be bothered to choose something for me!”) NOW FOR THE FUN GAME: Match the book to the beast. (You have to go back to the last post to review the guest list.)  Remember Auntie May has now joined the group. She has flapping jowls but a good heart and will open herself to a chunky read. The books are in random order so as not to help you too much and spoil the game. There are no winners and no wrong answers, only possibly outraged guests if you choose unwisely.

Shi Cheng:Short Stories from Urban China., edited by Liu Deng. Published by Comma Press

I reviewed these stories in an earlier post. They are of high quality in the writing and in the translation. Let s/he who reads enjoy the irony.


                      Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps

                           by Chet van Duzer

Good chance s/he hasn’t seen this one. The sea monsters depicted on medieval and Renaissance maps are analyzed here in beautiful illustrations. The insight into how European thought regarded them is well considered. A person of culture and with an enquiring mind should enjoy this present  

A La Mere De Famille: Artisanal recipes by Julian Merceron, Hardie Grant books. A really lovely present for a deserving person of discernment, this book is something special. From the moment you open the cover, outstanding designs delight your eyes.  Pages of gorgeous confections make you want to rush to that wonderful shop. 


Schottenfreude, Ben Schott.


For the wearisome pedant. Attractively presented, small enough to get on the tree. A lengthy German word for each condition/eccentricity. I especially liked the word for someone who extols their description of wine but knows nothing about it.  Potential swearing epithets to non-German speakers, the book provides tremendous up-your-nose fodder. As the family and friends expire, over-filled and -swilled after the Christmas dinner, you say ‘Well of course, in Germany there’s a word for that feeling – totally full, bloated, but sensing that just one more port will fill you with Christmas joy.

The Memory Palace: The book of lost interiors – Edward Hollis MemoryPalace Just the thing for an aesthete. The    fragments of five significant spaces painstakingly recreated to stimulate imagination, fictions and ultimately remembering.

                                            Ramadan Sky by Nichola Hunter published by Authonomy (HC)

RamadanSkycover_2  Jerk someone out of their Mills and Boon. Older competent foreign woman, younger handsome inconsequential man, dependent, trusting fiancee. Wow. Should it happen, even in Jakarta?


Anyone with a concentration problem? Flash fiction is the answer. Get these prize-winning ones so that the short bites are satisfying.

Me-Time Tales: Tea-breaks for mature women and curious men. Rosalind Minett

Tea breaks for mature women and curious menAll kinds of women unlocked. Dinner guests may be recognised.
                 Short stories with a dark edge. For the wry and cynical who can still cope with a smile.
The Creative License – Danny Gregory

Danny GregoryWho wouldn’t love the cover of a messy, interesting room? Inside there are lots of drawings, exercises, incitements to create and find the artistic muse within oneself. Look around, you know who feels like just such a person, who only needs to be freed, darling, if only people would tolerate just a little move from the predictable.

Memories of a Gnostic Dwarf   David Marsden

This is for the guy you need to lock himself in the study, preferably for the rest of Christmas. I’ve pictured the earlier version because the current one advertises too clearly that there are naughty bits inside. In fact this is a very good and interesting book indeed, but there is graphic detail of sexual matters and of violent acts even more.  If you are really fed up with Derek (or whoever) the early description of a noble arse is suitable for a post-prandial puke.

All these books are available from or via Amazon UK. Independent bookshops often get a book in by the next day. “Not many people know that.”

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