Quite often, there will be one specific book that I will buy multiple copies of, and this year it’s Nutshell by Ian McEwan. It’s a masterpiece and brilliantly original, funny and moving – so quite simply a novel that I want to share with those closest to me.
The voice of the unborn Hamlet tells us what he hears from within his mother’s womb and he knows that she is plotting with his uncle to kill his father.
It is a thriller in its way, but one of the best pieces of storytelling I have ever come across. I have already bought five copies to give to sisters, cousins and girlfriends.
Some uncles and male cousins will be getting Grayson Perry’s The Descent of Man.
It’s a fabulous book – very readable and fresh and, even if some of the things he says might be obvious to women, I think they need to be said to men.
And I think this will stir a few more conservative members of the family – so maybe we will have some lively discussions on Boxing Day.
I love giving people the kind of books that they might never simply go out and buy for themselves – and I think a beautiful coffee-table book fits in that category.
Diana Arbus – Portrait of a Photographer – looks beautiful.
And if I buy it for my brother-in-law then I will be able to flick through it before giving it away.
There has to be something light-hearted in the stocking and several months ago I began the Christmas shopping with purchases of A Guinea Pig Pride & Prejudice and A Guinea Pig Oliver Twist for the children (both in their twenties).
My only worry is that someone might choke on the turkey with laughter. They are works of pure genius…
For sending someone a book gift (and making sure that I spent more on the book than on the postage), I have given a few copies of Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter, a profound and extraordinary book.
And for my new god-daughter, it will be her first Christmas.
I have bought her The Snowman by Raymond Briggs. Christmas books simply don’t get better than that.
Maybe I will buy a few more copies for adults too…
Don’t forget, Victoria Hislop’s new book – Cartes Postales from Greece – is available to buy online today, perfect for Christmas.