What are top reads this Christmas? Suffolk book shop owner shares his recommendations

Give a book this Christmas

Give a book this Christmas - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Books are always an excellent Christmas gift, whether you’re buying for an imaginative child or a bookworm uncle.

John James at Aldeburgh Bookshop.

John James at Aldeburgh Bookshop.

John James, co-owner of the Aldeburgh Bookshop, provides his top five book choices for Christmas.

The Great British Dream Factory (RRP £25, published by Allen Lane)

This is a quirky take on British popular culture from the 1960s onwards. In this book social historian by Dominic Sandbrook points out that Britain no longer has an empire but it now has superpower status as a result of popular culture. So, instead of a shipbuilding industry, Britain has Elton John, Oxford University made £30 million investing in the software for the online game Grand Theft Auto and JK Rowling has sold more than 400 million books. This book is at the same time witty and serious.

The Great British Dream Factory

The Great British Dream Factory - Credit: Archant

Love is My Favourite Thing (RRP £11.99, published by Jonathan Cape)


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Emma Chichester Clark (of Blue Kangaroo fame) is the author and illustrator of a delightful new picture book for children from two to 90. Love is My Favourite Thing features her dog Plum. We particularly like the illustration of Plum destroying a feather cushion. It follows on from the success of her blog which was made into the book: Plumdog. Plum and Emma now have a house in Aldeburgh and can be spotted on the beach and on the High Street.

Love is my Favourite Thing

Love is my Favourite Thing - Credit: Archant

The Cabaret of Plants (RRP £20, published by Profile Books)

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This is a fascinating take on humanity’s relationship with plants. Author Richard Mabey examines not only the scientific uses of plants but also their mystical properties. The book is both wide ranging and informative and, as always with Mabey, unexpected.

My Brilliant Friend (RRP £11.99 , published by Europa Editions)

My Brilliant Friend

My Brilliant Friend - Credit: Archant

For the novel of the year, we choose My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante and its three sequels which make up the Neapolitan quartet. Ferrante-fever has been sweeping the country and our customers are hooked. Mystery surrounds the author – it is said that only her publisher knows her true identity. The books follow the friendship of two girls growing up in a poor neighbourhood of Naples. Addictive reading.

The Secret of the Wild Woods by Tonke Dragt (RRP £16.99, published by Pushkin Children’s Books)

This is a sequel to the brilliant The Letter from the King. This book is for nine year olds and up. It is a fairy tale that has hooked thousands of children in Holland.

Wild Wood

Wild Wood - Credit: Archant

Which book is top of your Christmas list? Share your recommendations below.

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