It is getting rather close to the wire now, but incessant emails tell me that you can still buy Christmas presents at a wide range of online stores and delivery will be guaranteed by the day itself. If you are like me and haven’t got round to doing very much about the upcoming festivities [yet], then this post on the Picador blog, An idiot’s guide to Christmas gift buying, is for you. Read it in about five minutes, log on to Amazon, and you are done.
If I were to buy books for members of my family this Christmas, these are the ones I would buy:
Max Perutz and the secret of life by Georgina Ferry [which I am not buying because it isn’t yet out in paperback] – perfect gift for any biophysics professors in the vicinity.
Fateful Choices: ten decisions that changed the world 1940-1941 by Ian Kershaw [list price a shocking £30, Amazon UK price £18 — I only hope he doesn’t write too many more one-year episodes] – perfect gift for freshman A-level history and government&politics student who likes thought experiments as well as the dry facts.
The Secret Countess by Eva Ibbotson. Macmillan is reprinting some of her more grown-up novels. I am not sure if they are intended to be read by teenagers or adults, but both my daughters love these coming-of-age novels with a dash of history.
The Roman Mysteries Treasury by Caroline Lawrence. Jenny has wolfed down the 13 or 14 books in the Roman Mysteries series to date in a big splurge this autumn and is writing her own title featuring the same characters (it is brilliant, though I say so myself), so this "dipping in" book, with information about ancient Rome and the "making of" the TV series (most of which she didn’t see, apart from one episode featuring a friend from school) – will be welcome while she waits for the next "proper" book to come out.
The Golden Compass official illustrated movie companion by Brian Sibley. Although the movie received a mixed reception chez Petrona, this book will be great, I can tell you confidently without having sneaked a look at it already (oops). It will be full of pictures, behind-the-scenes information and let the curious know how all those special effects were created. We are great fans of Brian’s Lord of the Rings and Narnia books, and I can guarantee we’ll all be dipping into this one. [Brian has a great blog too.]
What about me? I don’t want any books, because I have such a vast pile already that I can’t wait to start reading.