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Christmas Stocking Part I

Tuesday, December 8th 2015

Great Gifts

Vargic’s Miscellany of Curious Maps by Martin Vargic is a beautifully presented collection of maps of our world – but as you’ve never seen it before! Behold the Map of Stereotypes, the Map of Technology, Maps of Literature, Gaming and Sport. Endlessly fascinating, enchanting and slightly surreal, with 2 pull-out posters.

Acclaimed writer and geographer Nick Middleton’s Atlas of Countries that Don’t Exist takes us on a tour of countries that lack diplomatic status or UN membership and inhabit a world of shifting borders, visionary leaders and forgotten peoples. Wonderfully designed and produced, captivating and surprising.

Daniel Ost (compiled by Paul Geerts and Kengo Kuma with an introduction by Cees Nooteboom) is a comprehensive monograph of the exquisite floral art creations of the renowned Belgian designer. So beautiful!

Faber Poetry Diary 2016 – a stylish diary featuring poems from one of the world’s most renowned publishers.

Robot Takeover: 100 Iconic Robots of Myth, Popular Culture and Real LifeAna Matronic of Scissor Sisters fame indulges her life-long passion for all things robotic with a collection of 100 of the very best!

More Letters of Note – Shaun Usher presents another beautiful collection of letters deserving a wider audience. Poignant, sad, funny, enlightening and sometimes astonishing.

Dorling Kindersley adds 2 new titles to their fantastic illustrated reference range with the Sherlock Holmes Book (for the Moriarty in your life) and the Movie Book – a must for film buffs.

If your Asterix fan has read them all several times then rescue comes in the form of a brand new story – Asterix and the Missing Scroll.

365 Postcards for Ants – Cape Town artist Lorraine Loots’ collection of exquisite tiny paintings – each one barely bigger than a R5 coin but incredibly detailed. Quite unique!

Killing Me Soufflé: 90 rocking recipes: the tastiest acts in rock’n’roll, pop and hip hop is the perfect present for your food and music lover – a hilarious pastiche on recipe books with some delicious food too!

Going from the sublime to the ridiculous and back again we have Where’s Karl – a Where’s Wally for Karl Lagerfeld fans and fashionistas, and the Periodic Table of Heavy Rock – 118 rock bands presented in an essential and organised fashion. ‘ Jimi Hendrix was not so much an element in a Periodic Table of Heavy Rock as an entire elemental spectrum in a parallel universe.’


Best Stocking Fillers

Ladybird Books for Grown-ups – anyone who grew up reading Ladybird books will howl with laughter at these brilliant pastiche titles. Choose from the Ladybird Book of The Hangover, Mindfulness, The Midlife Crisis, The Husband and The Wife. And our personal favourite – The Ladybird Book of The Hipster – ‘This is a hipster. He is childless, unaccountably wealthy and always well turned out. He likes art, porridge, scarves, and anything reclaimed from French factories, like this dog rack.’



Penguin 80s – Penguin Books turned 80 this year and to celebrate they published 80 wonderful little books – each extracted from some of the classics they are famous for. You’ll find essays, short stories, poetry from Tolstoy, Nietsche, Marx, Poe, Plato, Darwin, Austen, Wilde and 72 more. And if you have a very special literary fan in your life there is a boxed set of all 80!


Adult Colouring Books are all the rage at the moment and we have a wide selection. Mindfulness, Oceans, Plants, Tattoos, Typography, Gardens, Cities – all available to colour in now. Two that deserve a special mention – Animorphia takes colouring to a whole new art form, and our good friend Chris Riddell has his very own and very lovely Doodle a Day book.

Some great local comedy too with the regular annuals from Zapiro and Madam and Eve, as well as the brilliant parody of Goodnight Moon – Goodnight Zzzzuma!


Ubiquitous Cats and Dogs


Well yes, it’s a truism that dog and cat books unnacountably do well at Christmas, and if you feel the urge we can satisfy it with a selection of the very best – The Dogist, If it Fits I Sits, Tails from the Booth, Grumpy Cat, Cats Galore and the rather adorable Tails from the Booth.


Great Holiday Reads – Fiction

There are some brilliant reads available for the holidays. From heavyweights such as David Mitchell, Orhan Pamuk, Jonathan Franzen, Margaret Atwood, Booker winner Marlon James, Jonathan Coe, Jeanette Winterson, Ali Smith, Salman Rushdie and Sebastian Faulks to two spectacular novels that offer new perspectives on actual historical situations from Ryan Gatiss (All Involved) and Garth Risk Hallberg (City on Fire).

For short story lovers look no further than Philip Hensher’s huge new project The Penguin Book of the British Short Story.

Italian author Elena Ferrante has now completed her hugely popular Neapolitan Novels with Number 4 – Story of the Lost Child.

Death by Carbs is the hilarious new novel by Paige Nick – a thrilling who-donut? (yes, really) that begins with the murder of Tim Noakes. It’s as smart as it is funny…


Exciting new local imprint Blackbird has recently published 3 new titles. Novels Sweet Medicine by Panashe Chigumadzi and Piggy Boy Blues by musician Nakhane Touré, as well as the inspiring memoir of Joburg’s Pavement BookwormPhilani Dladla.


Great Holiday Reads – Non-fiction

The long awaited letters between André Brink and Ingrid JonkerFlame in the Snow/Vlaam in die Sneeu have just been published to much excitement. There are limited gift editions available too.

Award winning naturalist Brent Westwood presents Natural Histories: 25 Species that have Changed our World – a fascinating social history told through our relationship with 25 extraordinary animals.

100 Documents that Changed the World – from Magna Carta to Wikileaks, from Shakespeare’s First Folio to the Declaration of Independence – an engaging history of the world from a new perspective.

Rosemary Sullivan’s Stalin’s Daughter is an award-winning and brilliant study of the tumultuous life of Svetlana Alliluyeva – who never managed to fully escape the legacy of her monstrous father.

In Winter is Coming, former chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov, a long-standing critic of Vladimir Putin, urges a forceful stand – both diplomatic and economic – against him. Strong stuff.

David Eagleman’s The Brain: The Story of You is a journey into the heart of our existence from a renowned neuroscientist.

Tom Michell’s The Penguin Lessons tells the incredible story of the life-long friendship between the author and Juan Salvador, the penguin. You couldn’t make it up.

M Train is Patti Smith’s long-awaited memoir. Extraordinarily talented, visionary and controversial – this is one wild read!


There is also some brilliant South African Non-fiction around. Eusebius McKaiser’s Run Racist Run takes a long hard look at the racism that is still endemic in South Africa today. Looking at the same issue from a different angle, journalist Ferial Haffajee asks What if There Were No Whites in South Africa? Justice Malala takes a close look at a South Africa being torn apart by Zuma’s corrupt governance in We Have Now Begun Our Descent. And don’t miss the explosive revelations contained in God, Spies & Lies by journalist John Matisonn.


Another exciting new imprint is Nick Mulgrew’s uHlanga which has already garnered great acclaim with three volumes of poetry – Matric Rage by Genna Gardini, Failing Maths & My Other Crimes by Thabo Jijana and Nick’s own The Myth of This is That We’re All in it Together.


There are new Games at the Book Lounge. From Top Trumps – perfect for keeping the kids occupied – to the brand new Cape Town Monopoly, Dinosaur Trivial Pursuit and DC Universe Monopoly. Brilliant holiday fun!


For Kids of All Ages

The Doldrums is Nick Gannon’s beautiful story of a little boy whose grandparents have gone missing on an iceberg.

I See All is an inventive activity book packed full of fun spotting games to train your brain.

Michael Morpurgo’s My Father is a Polar Bear is based on his own experience of first seeing his birth father on television!

Entertainer and comedian Jimmy Fallon tells the inside story of how dad manipulates baby’s first word in Your Baby’s First Word will be Dada.

The Day the Crayons Came Home – the hilarious sequel to the prize-winning, international bestseller The Day the Crayons Quit!

From Auzou editions come two brilliant interactive learning experiences – My First Interactive Atlas of the World and The Human Body and How it Works. Both come with informative booklets and giant magnets! So much fun!

Rules of Summer is the latest from the wonderful Shaun Tan – all about the games we play in the long summer months

Tinder by Sally Gardner is a beautiful novel about love and loss – sometimes fairy tales are the crruellest stories.

From the incomparable Russell Hoban comes Jim’s Lion, a moving, unflinching tale of a boy who finds bravery during illness, beautifully re-imagined as a graphic-novel by award-winning illustrator Alexis Deacon.

The Story of Antigone is Ali Smith‘s masterful retelling of Sophocles’ tragedy about a young Theban princess, who decides to bury her dishonoured brother Polynices against King Creon’s express orders – with heart-breaking consequences.

Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone has a new lease of life in a gorgeous gift edition with beautiful illustrations by Jim Kay – a collector’s item for fans!

Imaginary Fred is a fabulous collaboration between Eoin Colfer and Oliver Jeffers – ometimes, with a little electricity, or luck, or even magic, an imaginary friend might appear when you need one. An imaginary friend like Fred…


If you want to get your teens reading more in the holidays, we have some brilliant reads for them – Fangirl author Rainbow Rowell is back with Carry On – a novel of vampires, monsters, mystery and kissing! I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson is the story of what happens when families fall out – and what can bring them back together again.

Goodreads’ Best YA novel of 2015 is Jennifer Niven’s All the Bright Places a compelling and beautiful story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who wants to die.

Queen of Shadows is the 4th part of Sarah J. Maas’ hugely popular Throne of Glass series – and was voted Best YA fantasy and science fiction of 2015 on Goodreads.

And finally Rick Riordan of Percy Jackson fame is back with a new series – meet Magnus Chase (Sword of Summer) – ‘My name is Magnus Chase. I’m orphaned and living rough on the streets of Boston. And things are about to get much worse.’