By Kate Duggan
The Thursday Murder Cub – Richard Osman
Retirees Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron have a unique set of skills that they put to good use solving old murder cases. So when a real murder takes place rather close to home, the four are well placed to find the killer. Funny, warm and with a twist every minute, The Thursday Murder Club will keep readers guessing right until the end. Best of all, a sequel is already in the pipeline.
Oliver’s Britain – Oliver Hellowell
From roadside poppies and native wildlife to lochs, lakes and waterfalls, the photos that grace the pages of this coffee table book are a sight to behold. Oliver has Down’s Syndrome and a natural gift for spotting the perfect shot. Alongside the photos are quotes from Oliver and some of his many fans. A great present for people who enjoy a good ramble through the British countryside.
Word Perfect: Etymological Entertainment for Every Day of the Year – Susie Dent
Ever wondered who the original Jack the lad was? Or where a phrase like ‘turn a blind eye’ came from? Susie Dent has been a regular expert on Countdown for twenty-five years. In Word Perfect, she reveals the story behind some well-known words and phrases and introduces the reader to a whole load of new ones. (Personally, I might start calling a hankie by its Victorian slang name – a snottinger.)
The Boy Who Grew Dragons – Andy Shepherd
Looking for a book for a seven to nine year old? The Boy Who Grew Dragons is likely to appeal to even reluctant readers. Tomas discovers an unusual plant when he’s helping out in his grandparents’ garden. It turns out to be a dragon fruit tree and the fruit is about to hatch. Before long, Tomas is learning all about his new pet, from the fact it loves broccoli to the unfortunate fact that dragon poo is highly explosive.
Flavour – Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage
If you’re buying for someone who loves nothing more than spending a couple of hours in the kitchen cooking up a storm, this is the gift for them. It is not, however, a cookery book for beginners or those wanting to whip up a quick and easy dish. The ingredients aren’t always easy to come by and most of the recipes are experimental to say the least. The dishes are not always vegetarian, but fruit, vegetables or fungi are the star ingredients, and often used in rather surprising ways. Lime and Coconut Potato Gratin anyone?
My Garden World – Monty Don
Wildlife fans will adore My Garden World, which is basically Monty Don’s personal homage to the birds, insects and other creatures that share his garden. The book is packed with interesting nuggets of information about British wildlife and is a real pleasure to read (particularly when sat in the garden with a cuppa). If you want to really earn some brownie points, team it with a few packets of wildflower seeds and a pair of binoculars.