Rounding out our Staff Christmas Gift Guides, here’s Andrew’s picks for book gifting to Mum, young nieces & nephews, reluctant teenage readers, and those who like a book that makes them think.
For anyone and everyone, particularly those who love to think about a book:
The Natural Way of Things
My number one gifting book this year (and number one book full stop), if I haven’t already thrust it into the hands of friends, is easily The Natural Way of Things. While thought provoking and rage inducing, it’s wrapped up in a beautifully written page turner of a story that’ll linger on long in the mind after closing the final page. Essential reading, which has captivated everyone I’ve already forced it upon, this is slightly selfish gifting as I keep wanting to talk about it, so I’m ensuring that I can do so with everyone I know.
When There’s Nowhere Else to Run
On a very similar vein, both because its characters continue to haunt me and it has another of my favourite covers of the year, I’ll be gifting Murray Middleton’s When There’s Nowhere Else to Run far and wide. This year’s Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award winner is a beautifully written collection of stories spanning the length and breadth of Australia, each asking questions of the reader and their assumptions of people.
For my mum: Hester and Harriet
I’ve already got her hooked on Kerry Greenwood’s Corinna Chapman books, so I’m sure she’ll love the equally charming and utterly delightful Hester and Harriet by Hilary Spiers (also a pick of Anika). While an entertaining and lighthearted read, with a touch of mystery (think cosy crime) and some wonderfully quirky characters, it isn’t all fluff as it touches on some serious subjects like refugees and immigration, as well as the challenges (or not) of ageing as our two heroines engage in crime fighting and car chases, along a spot of fine wining and dining (not to mention a good cuppa). You can read an extract and meet Hester & Harriet here.
His grandmother complains he spends too much time staring at screens and is a reluctant reader, so I reckon Illuminae is just the book to capture his imagination. With a captivating story that’s weaved together through IM conversations, audio & video transcripts, found files and random ASCII artwork it’s an immersive and vivid read that stands out from the crowd. With a race against the clock (and a growing casualty list), its an easy and exciting page-turner that I’m sure will have him hooked and desperate for the next installment (much like Jess and Anika).
For my younger nieces and nephews: *ALL* THE WIDE EYED BOOKS
These are easily the most consistently gorgeous and captivating kids picture books around, the publisher’s name Wide Eyed is particularly fitting, as that is the reaction to everyone who sets eyes on them. The only problem will be choosing who gets which, as I’m sure there’ll be fights over them. Have a look inside The Wonder Garden or Atlas of Adventure and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
For anyone who’s ever worked in hospitality: Prick With A Fork
After reading this gloriously entertaining memoir from self-proclaimed World’s Worst Waitress (and highly acclaimed food critic) Larissa Dubecki, you’ll be on your best behaviour to ensure you don’t ever enrage either your serving staff or the chef – whether you’re in a back street bistro or a 5 star restaurant. Not only does Prick With A Fork have one of the best title/cover combos of the year, it lifts the lid on what happens behind the scenes in all sorts of restaurants. While that might put you off your food, it’s side-splittingly funny, and anyone who’s suffered bad experiences on either side of the waiter/customer line will be able to relate.
I’ll be gifting 101 Things to do Instead of Playing on your Phone to my friend who is incapable of going 5 minutes without looking at his phone, regardless of social situation – he could be in a heated discussion/eating /watching a film/on the toilet (I’m guessing) yet he’ll have the phone out no matter what. I hope that this not so subtle message might get through and help free him of his addition!