The best books to buy this Christmas
PUBLISHED: 13:03 02 December 2011 | UPDATED: 20:23 20 February 2013
We ask five authors for the best stocking-fillers and spine-chillers to give this Christmas
The print version of this article appeared in the December 2011 issue of North East Life
We can deliver a copy direct to your door order online here
For readers who like a twist in the tale...
Award-winning crime writer Val McDermid, who lives in Alnmouth, recommends Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson.Its a terrific read. Its the story of a woman who loses her short-term memory and every day expects to see her 23-year-old self looking back at her out of the mirror and every day is shocked to see a middle-aged woman. The book is about how she tries to piece together her life from the fragments she can recall.
For readerswho like tobe gripped by history...
Alan Reynolds, whose book Flying with Kites tells the story of a Kosovo teacher finding refuge in Newcastle, recommends Pompeii by Robert Harris.
Since his first novel, Fatherland, Harris has progressed to superstar status as an author with other brilliant works like Enigma and The Ghost, which were both made into major films. For me, Pompeii is his best to date. Intermingling fiction an aqueduct specialist sent from Rome to investigate problems with the towns water system with fact in the form of the eventual destructive eruption of Vesuvius in AD79, Harris manages to generate incredible tension. The reader knows whats going to happen (that volcano is going to blow), but is still drawn to the characters and hopes for their survival in the closing pages. Gripping stuff!
For readerswho like agood laugh...
Sunday Times bestselling author of six chick-lit books Milly Johnson recommendsThe Tent, The Bucket And Me by Emma Kennedy.
I have to confess, I acquired this book as the free part of a BOGOF offer at a railway station. No way was I expecting it to be the little gem it turned out to be. I cant tell you how many times I laughed out loud reading it and how many people Ive recommended it to. This is one of the funniest, warmest books to ever park itself on my book shelf. And one of those rare books I will actually enjoy reading again.
For young readers (or those whoare young at heart)...
Inspirational Northumberland author Stephanie Butland, who wrote How I Said Bah! To Cancer, recommends The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge.
I didnt meet this novel for young adults until I was 38, but I fell for it completely. Everyone I know whos read it says the same thing. Its the story of 13 year old orphan Maria Merryweather, who arrives at Moonacre Manor, her curious ancestral home, where she must bring things back into balance.
For readers who like a book in one hand and a cake in the other...
Stephanie dishes out another recommendationwith Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache by Harry Eastwood.
Harry produces some of the most delicious sweet things Ive tasted. And Id defy anyone to guess that most are made with vegetables. His Chocolate Heartache is made with aubergines and is one of the best cakes Ive ever eaten. This book is lovingly put together, with beautiful photographs and clear recipes written with passion and care.
For readers in search of anew hobby...
Northern Echo columnist and author Sharon Griffiths recommendsHooked Rug Story Telling: The Art of Heather Ritchie.
Heather was born in Sunderland, lives in Swaledale and makes rag rugs that tell stories as well as being works of art. Much too nice to wipe your feet on, these are rugs to hang on your wall. This book is the story of her life in rugs. Its also a brilliant guide to how to make a rag rug.
For readers who like mysterywith their history...
Sharon also recommends Island of Bones by Darlington-born Imogen Robertson.
Imogen had an instant hit with her first 18th century crime novel featuring grumpy anatomist Gabriel Crowther. This is the third in the series, set in the Lake District in 1783, when tourism was just beginning to develop and people still believed in witches.