Gift Guide: Ten Books for Christmas

Instead of giving people more stuff this Christmas, why not buy them a book? Books offer an escape to another time and place, they shine a light on how other people view the world and they often teach us something about ourselves. We’ve picked ten titles from authors who should have been at The Bath Festival in May 2020.

The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare
Abi was the winner of the 2018 Bath Novel Award with her debut novel about Adunni a Nigerian girl trapped into a life of an arranged marriage and then near slavery, but who holds on to her hopes and dreams throughout. This is a powerful human story, with humour and compassion, which reflects the real experiences of women all over the world.

Explaining Humans by Camilla Pang
A unique and enlightening exploration of what it means to be human, written after the author’s diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder and how it led her to write her ‘instruction manual for humans’ after struggling to understand the world around her.

Skincare by Caroline Hirons
Bath Festivals’ programmers picked this guide book as one to watch back at the beginning of 2020 and were delighted to see the Skincare Queen’s rise to the top of the bestsellers list. Expert Caroline Hirons cuts through the hype to help us find what we do and don’t need to achieve healthy, beautiful skin.

Sometimes in Bath by Charles Nevin
The city of Bath continues to delight us with its stories. Award-winning journalist Charles Nevin takes us on a story tour through our intriguing city. Beau Nash, a young Horatio Nelson, Emperor Hailie Selassie and many more personalities come to life.

The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow
What a treat for Janeites is this re-imagining of the life of one of Austen’s supporting characters. This wonderful novel celebrates the enduring legacy of Pride and Prejudice with a witty and uplifting look at Mary, the bookish ‘ugly duckling’ sister.

Charles Dickens by Claire Tomalin
This rich and well researched biography of the great British novelist was published in 2011, but its still pertinent in this, the 150th anniversary of Dickens’ death at the age of 58. He’s a character we very much recognise from a 21st century perspective: internationally famous, obsessed with making money and always taking on too much work. You’ll read A Christmas Carol with a fresh eye.

The Prime Ministers: Reflecting on Leadership from Wilson to May by Steve Richards
Entertaining and informative, combining unprecedented behind the scenes access, in-depth interviews and an assessment of the current Prime Minister Boris Johnson, this book brings modern history to life.

The Lying Room by Nicci French
The phenomenally successful writing partnership of husband and wife team Nicci French and Sean Gerrard return with their first stand-alone novel for ten years. Neve is a wife and mother who’s having a mid-life affair. But one morning she visits her lover, only to find he’s been murdered. A compelling, twisty thriller that’s ideal for a winter’s afternoon reading.

Six Tudor Queens: Katheryn Howard The Tainted Queen by Alison Weir
Alison Weir’s fifth book in her popular series about the Tudor queens explores the life of Henry VIII’s fifth wife, the young Katheryn Howard. Although we know her story will end badly, we’re drawn into the intrigue and power struggles of the English court in the 16th century.


The Sustainable (ish) Living Guide by Jen Gale
A book for our times, written by a mother who tried to not buy anything new for her and her family for a year. Jen’s experiment led to a down-to-earth guide to doing your bit to help save the planet for future generations without beating yourself up. It’s packed with tips from changing your energy supplier to cutting down on food waste and joining local action groups. The guide recently won the Greenest Family prize at the People Environment Achievement awards.

You can order any of the above from your local bookshop, or try the newly launched Bookshop UK . Every sale from this website supports independent bookshops which belong to the network. This includes Mr B’s Emporium in Bath and The Corsham Bookshop in Corsham.


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