Gift Guide – Books
Dec
11th

An introduction to this post isn’t really needed, I guess. It’s about books (duh) that would make great gifts. Some of them I’ve read and loved, some of them I haven’t, but plan to very, very soon! Okay, here we go!

David Herbert’s Best Home Cooking $40
I was lucky enough to review this cookbook courtest of Penguin a few months ago, and I really cannot recomend it enough. The meals are simple to prepare, always tasty, and there’s a great variety of food, from appetisers to meat, fish, poultry and desserts. I’ve made a number of meals since I first reviewed it and I keep flicking through it every other week or so to try something new. If you know someone who loves food, but doesn’t have a lot of time to prepare hugely elaborate meals, this is the perfect gift! FYI, the chicken and feta sausage rolls need to be made A LOT because they are that delicious.

The Royal We – Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan $20
I’ve been a long time fan of Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, also known as the Fug Girls, and their newest novel The Royal We is a cracker of a book. The story centres around Bex, an American studying in Britain who falls in love with Nick, the royal prince in line for the throne. While the book begins on the eve of their wedding, the story focuses on their friendship that blossoms into romance at college under the scrutiny of the press and the disapproval of the Royal Family. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s just a bit of chick lit – it’s a compelling novel that beautifully encapsulates the dignity and grace required to persue a high-profile relationship as young university students and twenty-somethings who want to have fun, as well as laying bare the struggle to remain composed and connected to the love of your life when everyone around you is trying to control the relationship. The novel is a total page-turner, full of emotion and a healthy dose of Fug Girl snark. It’s the perfect Summer read and a really great gift for the bookworm in your life.

Why Not Me?– Mindy Kaling $33
Disclaimer: I haven’t read Mindy Kaling’s latest book, but I did read her first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? which I enjoyed. It didn’t go into as much detail about her experiences with Hollywood as I would have liked, but Kaling’s frank and honest writing style is easy to read and very relatable, and that Mindy Kaling humor always shines through. If you know someone who loves The Office (US) and/or The Mindy Project, this would be the perfect gift for them.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith $25
This is, without a doubt, my all time favourite book. Sorry, other books, Imma let you finish, but this is the best book OF ALL TIME. I’m not even going to tell you what it’s about. Okay, well maybe just three things: it’s set in the early 1900s in Brooklyn (obviously), it centres around the life of Francie Nolan, daughter of poor parents who live in tenement housing, and the novel follows the life of Francie as she navigates her neighbourhood and school with her little brother, Neely. It’s a beautiful book, and I’ve read it and re-read it almost every year since first reading it as a teenager. The book deserves to be read over a weekend, preferably in Spring or Summer, with numerous glasses of your favourite beverage (alcoholic or otherwise) and multiple plates of cookies and cake to keep your strength up. I myself like to read it while having milkshakes and home made choc chip cookies, but you do what works for you. It’s a great book for a teenager who wants something to lose themselves in for a little while – the world of pre-Depression Brooklyn is so magically created it’s hard to believe you aren’t there living it alongside Francie Nolan.

The Crossing – Michael Connelly $23
Another book I haven’t read yet, but I will. I usually read Michael Connelly’s latest offering over the Christmas/New Year break and I have no doubt I’ll do the same with his latest Harry Bosch/Mickey Haller novel. If you haven’t read any of Connelly’s books before, and you like easy to read crime fiction, or know someone who does, you really need to start. His books, while centred around a grisly crime, aren’t too horrifc to read. They’re always gripping, and I enjoy the methodical approach Bosch takes to his investigating. If you know someone who is a fan of the Serial podcast, they might enjoy an introduction to Michael Connelly’s books this Christmas. I found that while listening to Serial I was often reminded of Harry Bosch’s approach to investigating crimes, which always come with a healthy dose of rebellion against his superiors and an intense dislike for the bureaucracy around the high-level officials in the LAPD and city Mayoral offices. The novels, while not particularly long, are always compelling and I love to lose myself in them for the few days it takes to devour one.

Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell $15
I read this in 2014, but it really stayed with me. It’s a YA novel, but I think it’s the kind of story that appeals to anyone who’s been in love, particularly in difficult circumstances. Eleanor & Park are teenagers who dislike each other straight away. But after days and days sitting on the bus together, and sharing earphones and comic books without talking much, they begin to fall in love. Eleanor’s abusive stepfather makes life incredibly difficult, so Eleanor has to sneak around to see Park where her family is concerned, but Park’s family welcomes her with hesitant but open arms. The novel is written with such carefully constructed romantic interludes, juxtaposed with quietly fearful moments at Eleanor’s home, making it incredibly hard to put down.

Australian Women’s Weekly Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits $15
If you read my blog on the regular, you know I LOVE this cookbook. First published in 1982, it was always our go-to book for making yummy biscuits and slices growing up. It was one of the first cookbooks I bought from Ebay when I moved out of home, but the Australian Women’s Weekly started publishing it again a few years ago. If you find a well-loved second hand copy for your own kitchen, grab it. But if you want to give the baker in your life a shiny, new copy, it will only set you back fifteen bucks! It’s got some of the best recipes in there – my chocolate chip cookies are make from this book, as is my chocolate slice, lemon slice, and at Christmas, my Lebkuchen. Every page has delicious looking recipes, and they’re all relatively quick and easy to prepare. This is the one cookbook I recommend to anyone who likes to bake – it’s a hands down winner. Trust me.

Until next time,

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