Does Christmas panic you? Don’t let it. Times is tough and anyone who expects the whole perfect full-on malarkey this year is living in cloud cuckoo land. As regards presents, when in doubt, buy a book. Because I’m all heart (no, really, you should see my heart chakra glow – I don’t need no Christmas lights!) I’m offering you a list of books for absolutely anyone. Now, of course, in an ideal world you would go to your local bookstore to buy them and if you can possibly support this endangered breed, then please do so.
For the sake of speed, however, I'm linking to Amazon. Not because I like Amazon for, to be honest, I'm not so wild. But, hey, needs must. If you can find them elsewhere, then fantastic. By the way, just how bloody STUPID is it that a gift voucher for Amazon can’t be used across the various sites? My lovely brother has just given me one but I’m going to have to order from the States and get stuff shipped over here. *eyeroll*.
Anyhow, without further ado, my guide to books that might solve a few present crises. Some are cheap as chips – look hard and you’ll even find some freebies! I confess freely I haven’t read them all…quite a few on this list are on my own to-read list. Oh, and yes there is Total Rank Nepotism going on here – these are all written by people I know… some out there in the mainstream, some resolutely indie...
For armchair boozers: Great British Pubs by Adrian Tierney-Jones (yes, he's my husband but hey, it's a really good book. Well, the Financial Times thinks so and who am I to argue with such a bastion of the system?)
For smart romantics: Marriage and Other Games by Veronica Henry (Ronnie lives not too far from here and is just damn nice as well as one seriously smart writer. Don't fall into the trap of thinking her books are 'just' chicklit...no sirree.
For intelligent Goths and supernatural SF addicts: The Fallen Blade by Jon Courtenay Grimwood. I don't really *do* sci-fi but I make an exception for Jon cos he's just a truly fabulous writer with a wicked imagination. And now he's written about vampires - what's not to like?
For imaginative teens who dream of having superpowers: Invisible Justice by Kim Jewell. My son, James (13), loves Kim's writing and he's not the only one. If you're buying a Kindle for teens this Christmas, load up her books.
For those who dream of a summer of love: The Villa Girls by Nicky Pellegrino. One of my oldest friends (no, she's not that old; just that we've known one another for way too long). Nicky's books are always a feast for the senses. She makes me feel warm just thinking about them.
For bloodthirsty crime lovers: Burn Baby Burn by Jake Barton. Okay, I don't really read crime but those who know say Jake's books are the real deal. And by the look of his sales he's obviously doing something right.
For deep thinkers: Quintessence by Andrew Meek. Andrew always makes me think - he is a lover of science but has, to my mind, the soul of a mystic. Another one I'm looking forward to reading.
For old dope-heads with a sense of humour: The Beauregarde Affair by Brian Talgo. Another book I loved on Authonomy by a smart funny guy.
For spiritual James Joyce lovers: SymphonicBridges by Marek Stefanowicz. Well, you already know I love this book. Sure it ain't to all tastes but if you love language, are interested in New Age thinking and have a penchant for Joyce and Syd Barrett, well...
For mystical mavens: Away with the Fairies and Strangers & Pilgrims by Vivienne Tuffnell. Vivienne is another author I can't wait to read - I adore her blog so am pretty sure her fiction will be just as good.
For lovers of dark Japanese homoeroticism: Shinobi by Sessha Batto. Well, you've all got a few of those tucked away in the family, haven't you? Sessha certainly has pinpointed (so to speak) her market. Lovely warm woman with a deeply dark imagination.
For donnish Inspector Morse types: The Company of Fellows by Dan Holloway. Crime again but highly literary this time from the delightful Indie writer/performer, Dan.
For bipolar princesses: My Kind of Crazy by Janine Crowley Haynes. Just one of the best books I've read on the whole 'mental health' thingy. Janine is a stunning writer and a warm, brave and all-round lovely human being.
For sceptical would-be mediums: A Sceptical Medium by Lorraine Holloway-White. I'll be honest, I have never been to a medium or spiritualist church. Yes, I talk to dead people but they're family and friends, for pity's sake - not any old strangers! But for those who wonder, take a look at her books.
For those who loved the romantic bits in Star Wars, Avatar etc: The Iron Admiral by Greta van der Rol. Like I say, I don't really *do* sci-fi but I love Greta's writing and she don't half tell a yarn.
For starstruck young girls: Olivia's First Term by Lyn Gardner: Guardian theatre critic Lyn also has daughters so she really knows her stuff. Perfect for young girls into ballet, acting and circus skills.
For anyone who loves fishing, cooking or Exmoor: Fishing for Life edited by Ceri Keene. I've yacked on about this before - the cookbook produced by a local friend in aid of a breast cancer charity.
Oh gawd, I've missed tons out, I just know... But that should keep you going for a bit, eh?