For most of us, there's nothing better than giving and receiving a book for Christmas. Visiting Lesley Dolphin on the Afternoon Programme yesterday we had lots of excitement debating the perfect presents for friends and family. These are the titles we discussed...
For children, aged four upwards, a beautiful picture book telling an inspiring story. 'Ada's Ideas: The Story of Ada Lovelace, the World's First Computer Programmer' by Fiona Robinson £9.99. Also take a look at 'Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World' by Kate Pankhurst, and brilliant rhyming stories from Andrea Beaty illustrated by the wonderful David Roberts, 'Rosie Revere, Engineer' and 'Iggy Peck Architect'.
An adventure story for readers aged 9-12, inspired by the Suffolk countryside is Fenn Halflin and the Fearzero by Francesca Armour-Chelu £6.99. The descriptions of a watery world are vivid and atmospheric.
Spoofs of favourite children's books have been all the rage in the past year. There are new Ladybirds for Grown Ups titles, including The Ladybird Book of Red Tape and The Ladybird Book of Boxing Day, but new for Christmas 2016 are Enid Blyton for Grown Ups. If you loved the Famous Five stories, take a look at Five on Brexit Island or Five Go Gluten Free among other titles!
Also still proving popular is last year's surprise bestseller 'Norwegian Wood - Chopping, Stacking and Drying Wood the Scandinavian Way'. It's £20 and packed with fascinating and intriguing information about fires, wood, and woodpiles!
But this year's big 'thing' is Hygge. Pronounce it as you will, the word stands for all that is associated with the Danish way of life, and there are lots of books telling you more about it. My favourite is 'The Little Book of Hygge' by Meik Wiking £9.99. It's full of information and tips so that you too might find happiness, warmth and contentment in the winter months. A great book to give or to keep!
My book of the year for 2016 is the novel by Jill Dawson called 'The Crime Writer'. It's got a beautiful retro cover, and a very clever plot which reveals something new each time you read it. The story tells of Patricia Highsmith, the famous American author who spent a short time living in a Suffolk village. Jill Dawson weaves biographical facts and Highsmith plotlines to create a moody, sinister and intriguing novel. It was this year's winner of the East Anglian Book Award. It's a great read and would make a lovely present.