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Christmas Stocking 2015 Part Deux

Thursday, December 17th 2015

Literary Stocking Fillers

There are some great choices for stocking fillers and Secret Santa gifts. A chilling new short story – The Grown-up – by Gillian Flynn of Gone Girl fame, for all the fans who are still waiting patiently for a new novel. Shaking Hands with Death is the moving lecture that Terry Pratchett gave at the BBC Richard Dimblebly Lecture, about the right to choose both a good life and a good death. Neil Gaiman’s beautiful short story How the Marquis got his Coat Back is now also available as a single volume, and Chimamande Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk about feminism – We Should All Be Feminists – is hugely popular.



Great reads – fiction

If you are looking for a great read for the holidays, there is a lot of choice. If you like a good thriller to curl up with, I’m Travelling Alone by Samuel Bjork is a page turner from a new writer who definitely has a claim on Jo Nesbo’s crown. A phenomenal bestseller and brilliant white knuckle ride is I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes – a race against time to track down a terrorist who may be committing the perfect crime. David Lagercrantz was chosen to pick up the reins for Stieg Larsson, and has brought us The Girl in the Spider’s Web – a hugely well received follow-up to Larssen’s Millennium Trilogy. And perennial favourite Ian Rankin has a new novel out featuring gruff and almost loveable detective John Rebus – Even Dogs in the Wild – and it’s one of his finest yet!

John Connolly’s Night Music is a second collection of spine-chilling short stories – that were so popular in his first volume Nocturnes. Fans of Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts are rewarded for their patience with Mountain Shadow, which picks up two years after Shantaram ended.

I Love Dick by Chris Kraus is a welcome reissue of a seminal feminist work that combines fiction, memoir and essay, and has had a cult following since its first publication in 1997.

Local writer Joanne Hichens is back with – Sweet Paradise – another fantastically dark page-turner featuring Rae Valentine and a host of unsavoury characters.

And one of our favourite’s – Philip Kerr – has just brought out the third in his Scott Manson thrillers featuring football manager Scott Manson – False Nine.

Lauren Groff‘s extraordinary Fates & Furies has just been published to huge acalaim – even being chosen by President Obama as his book of the year! A layered Nabokovian look at relationships.

For the Sci-fi fan there is plenty to choose from too. Ann Leckie has just brought out the final part in the highly acclaimed Ancillary series – Ancillary Mercy. Gripping fantasy comes in the form of Traitor by Seth Dickinson, in which one woman fights and schemes to save her people.

In the mysterious Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne, a young woman wakes up in the road covered in blood and snakebite, with no idea how she got there…

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett is a beautifully written, many layered murder mystery from a highly acclaimed fantasy author.

Becky ChambersThe Long Way to a Small Angry Planet asks what happens when you are stuck on a chaotic, patched-up spaceship with a crew who all have more secrets than you do…?

The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu is a vivid and imaginative look at online gaming that involves cutting edge science and astounding ideas – a must.

Some brilliant and original graphic novels in stock too. Lumberjanes is friendship to the max! Jo, April, Mal, Molly and Ripley are five best pals determined to have an awesome summer together…and theyre not gonna let any insane quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way!

Kate Beaton’s hugely popular Hark a Vagrant cartoons feature in the New Yorker, Harpers and the LA Times to name a few. Praised for their expression, intelligence and comic timing, her cartoons are best known for their wonderfully light touch on historical and literary topics. Her second collection, Step Aside Pops, has just been published.

In Killing and Dying, his first full-length work since Shortcomings in 2007, and working with colour for the first time, Adrian Tomine has produced a darkly funny and deeply moving collection of stories which showcases his exceptional range of focus and technique.

Here is Richard McGuire’s unique graphic novel based on the legendary 1989 comic strip of the same name. The groundbreaking comic strip was published under Art Spiegelman’s editorship at RAW in 1989.

Great reads – Non-fiction

It’s been an incredibly rich year for non-fiction and there is plenty to keep the most ardent reader gripped over the holidays. Ten Million Aliens by Simon Barnes is an astonishing and intimate look as the creatures and organisms we share our world with. Written in short, pithy chapters, it is informative and always surprising. In a similar vein the bestselling Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari takes a funny, intriguing and fascinating look at – us. How did Homo Sapiens become the dominant species? And how well do we really know ourselves?

The late and sadly missed neurologist Oliver Sacks, author of Awakenings, led an extraordinary life. His autobiography, On the Move, published shortly before he died, is infused with his restless energy and lust for life.

Peter Frankopan’s Silk Roads: A New History of the World reassesses world history and looks at the forces that have shaped the global economy and the political renaissance in the re-emerging east.

The wonderful Bill Bryson follows up Notes from a Small Island (the bestselling travel book of all time) with The Road to Little Dribbling, in which he ponders how the UK has changed in the intervening years. Very, very funny!

Ben Goldacre’s I Think You’ll Find it’s a Bit More Complicated Than That is the very best journalism from the author who wrote Bad Science and Bad Pharma.

The Pelican Introductions Series has been hugely popular, and the latest, The Meaning of Science by Tim Lewens is a provocative introduction to the philosophy of science, and the impact it has on our lives.

The House by the Lake: A Story of Germany by Thomas Harding is a superb portrait of twentieth century Germany seen through the prism of a house which was lived in, and lost, by five different families – heart-wrenching yet uplifting history at its best.

The Story of Maps by Anne Rooney is a beautiful history of human advancement seen through the development of mapping – very lovely!

Book Lounge favourite Best White & Other Anxious Delusions is a collection of essays by Rebecca Davis – one of the funniest writers in South Africa today.


In the Kitchen

If you are looking for something delicious, we have plenty to offer. The Nordic Cookbook, richly illustrated with the personal photography of internationally acclaimed chef Magnus Nilsson, unravels the mysteries of Nordic ingredients and introduces the region’s culinary history and cooking techniques. If you’re being good this Christmas but still feel like a treat then The Banting Baker is for you – written by local author Catherine Speedie, founder of Gingko Restaurant. The wonderful Yotam Ottolenghi has now brought us the cookbook of his London restaurant – NOPI – dishes to impress and enchant. The inimitable Nigella Lawson is back with Simply Nigella: Feel Good Food – the perfect antidote to our busy lives. Similarly Lorraine Pascale has a delicious selection of healthy recxipes in Eating Well Made Easy. The beautifully illustrated Anatolia: Adventures in Turkish Cooking is an exploration of classic Turkish cuisine and culture, adapted for modern life.

Russell Norman’s Spuntino: Comfort Food (New York Style) pays homage to the energy, dynamism and extraordinary cuisine that the world’s greatest melting pot has inspired.

And finally, to wash down all that delicious food we have Lucy Corne’s Beer Safari, which takes readers on a journey through the microbreweries of South Africa, stopping to chat to each brewer along the way and perfectly captures the exciting and unpretentious nature that characterises the South African craft beer scene.

The annual collections of fantastic writing that are the Best American series are with us again. If you need to get that gift for that difficult person then the variety of a collection is always a great idea. They include Magazine Writing, Sports Writing, Essays, Non-Required Reading, Travel Writing and more…


And some general gift ideas for you too…

Grace: 30 Years of Fashion at Vogue is a beautiful edition showcasing the definitive collection of work by the legendary fashion stylist Grace Coddington. The edition includes a special, illustrated and autographed letter by Grace.

Would I Lie to You? Presents the 100 Most Popular Lies of All Time. Based on the UK TV series – very, very funny.

Ultimate Book of Trivia. Did you know that cats can be left-handed? Trivia fans will be eager to dive into this book for an edifying and entertaining tour of all the things they didn’t know that they didn’t know.

Kinfolk Home. Interest in home design has been on the rise for some time, but Kinfolk’s focus on slowing down and creating a more intentional, beautiful home is where the attention is shifting. Through luscious photographs and insightful interviews, the author takes us into 40 homes around the world.

Photowisdom: Master Photographers on Their Art – Through the extraordinary images and insights of the world’s master photographers, Photowisdom explores the richness of contemporary photographic practice.

Polar – Take a stunning journey to the ends of the earth through the colorful, fluid motion of Photicular® technology. A phenomenon first seen in the bestsellers Safari and Ocean, Photicular technology uses sliding lenses and video imagery to display realistic living motion in the pages of a book. It’s like a movie in your hand.

Crap Colouring In: Mindless Art Therapy for Modern Life – Because real life isn’t an Enchanted Kingdom! From shopping trolleys to speed-bumps, leaves on the line and detailed grey clouds, here are all life’s little annoyances for you to brighten up. Classic British humour with a colouring-in twist, pick up those colouring pencils and get venting!

The Explorers Guild Volume 1: A Passage to Shambhala by Kevin Costner (!) – The golden age of adventure stories returns with this splendidly designed, action-packed, globe-trotting tale that combines the bravura storytelling of Kipling with the irresistible style of The Adventures of Tintin.

Little Black Classics Boxed Set – In celebration of Penguin’s 80th birthday, this box set of the 80 books in the Little Black Classics series showcases the many wonderful and varied writers in Penguin Black Classics.


We have a wide range of stationery for those who still love to put pen to paper! From beautiful journals, to Moleskines, postcard sets, stickers, labels and more, there’s something for everyone. Whether it be a handmade genuine leather journal, or a thrifty stocking filler, we will help you find just what you need!


Historium – Welcome to the museum! Here you will find a collection of objects from ancient civilisations. Objects of beauty, functionality, war, life, death and burial. As you wander from room to room, explore the magnificence of what civilisations have left behind over thousands of years of human history!

Neil Gaiman & Chris Riddell box set – The editions of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, Coraline and Fortunately, the Milk in this collector’s edition box set are illustrated in trademark inspired, hilarious and moving style by acclaimed artist Chris Riddell, Children’s Laureate and two-time winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal, among other awards and honours.

LEGO Star Wars Free the Galaxy – Discover a thrilling battle to overthrow the evil Empire, in LEGO® Star Wars™: Free the Galaxy, that will help children learn how to read – and learn to love reading.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid 10: Old School – Life was better in the old days. Or was it? That’s the question Greg Heffley is asking as his town voluntarily unplugs and goes electronics-free. But modern life has its conveniences, and Greg isn’t cut out for an old-fashioned world.

Mister Cleghorn’s Seal by Judith Kerr – An exquisite new story to delight readers young and old, from a much-loved writer and illustrator. What do you do if you find an abandoned seal pup on a rock in the middle of the sea? Well, take it home with you to your flat, of course.

Braids Step by Step – For centuries, the art of braiding has been passed down through generations. Braids are adorable, they do not cost anything to make and nothing is as relaxing as braiding new techniques with your girlfriends.

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett (illustrated by Jon Klassen) – From the award-winning team behind Extra Yarn, and illustrated by Jon Klassen, the Kate Greenaway-winning creator of This Is Not My Hat and I Want My Hat Back, comes a perfectly paced, deadpan tale full of visual humour.

Swan: The Life & Dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder & Julie Morstad – One night, young Anna s mother takes her to the ballet and everything is changed. So begins the journey of a girl who will one day grow up to be the most famous prima ballerina of all time, inspiring legions of dancers after her: the brave, the generous, the transcendently gifted Anna Pavlova.

Greenling by Levi Pinfold – What is this growing on Barleycorn land, and is it intended for Barleycorn hands? Mr. and Mrs. Barleycorn live a quiet life, alone and forgotten by the world. But something is growing on Barleycorn land, something that Mr. Barleycorn decides it would be best to take. And with this, for better or worse, he brings the outside…inside.

The Bear Who Went BOO – From Number One bestselling picture book duo, David Walliams and Tony Ross, comes this bear-illiantly funny adventure for children of 3 and up. At the top of the world, surrounded by snow and ice, lives a very cheeky polar bear cub who loves to go… BOO!

The Bear’s Surprise by Benjamin Chaud – Hibernation is over and Little Bear is ready for another adventure! But where is Papa Bear? Never fear, Little Bear will find him! Follow the curious cub through interactive cutouts on every page of this detail-rich extravaganza: into a bustling forest, deep beneath a mysterious cave, and en route to a rollicking circus in full swing.

Guinness Book of World Records – The perennial favourite full of amazing, astonishing and sometimes slightly icky feats!


Happy Holiday Reading!