A good book is guaranteed to bring cheer on Christmas morning (we should know). But, if John Lewis has taught us anything this year, it’s that every Penguin needs its companion. Butch had Sundance, Morecambe wouldn’t have been half as funny without Wise, and Laurel was lost sans Hardy (as was Nelson, but that’s a tale for another day). Why should we be any different?
Whether it’s Pride and Prejudice and a barouche (read and rise in style!), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and a stick of Three Course Dinner Chewing Gum, or The Owl and the Pussycat replete with beautiful pea green boat, there’s a match to be made for every tome.
And so, behold! Our list of books that go perfectly with…
The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg goes perfectly with… a pair of mittens
Encyclopedia charts the travails and adventures of one lonely storyteller, on a quest for Enlightenment and True Love – and believe us when we say, he passes through some pretty chilly places. We asked Isabel recently what would be the perfect side dish for someone engrossed in her book. She replied ‘Why, some mittens made on Orkney.’ This pair from Hilary Grant is the perfect colour to match The Encyclopedia‘s illustrations.
This book is full of winter warmers. There’s a chilli that’ll turn you into a human hot water bottle, a selection of drinks to get you through the very coldest nights, and all manner of other comforts. But what’s a recipe book without a receptacle to cook in? Our thoughts exactly. This heart-shaped casserole dish is the perfect thing for someone you love, particularly if you’re hoping that they’ll cook you a stew in the New Year…
You know the drill: Christmas Day is for giving presents. Boxing Day is for using them. And if you’ve just been given Marian Keyes’ new novel and can’t wait to escape into it, you’d almost certainly be bereft without a sumptuously furry blanket to nestle under. This one, from John Lewis, is just the thing to cosy up with while you get lost in a fabulous story.
Do you remember the classic Ladybird series? Perhaps your favourite was A Ladybird Book of Pirates or The Stars and their Legends? Perhaps Commercial Vehicles? Or maybe Beaky the Greedy Duck was more your style? Whatever your favourite, you can relive the vintage delights with Ladybird: A Cover Story, a full-colour retrospective of everyone’s favourite little black and red publisher’s designs. And you can wear your heart on your sleeve with this pretty little pendant.
Robert MacFarlane’s The Old Ways goes perfectly with… a sturdy pair of walking boots
Robert MacFarlane’s latest book is a love song to the hidden tracks of Britain. He roams from the Scottish Isles to the South Downs, and even ventures into Doggerland – the Atlantis of the North Sea. He’d be the first to tell you that a good pair of boots is a necessary. Frankly, we’re penguins, so footwear isn’t exactly our forte and you’d be best off popping in to your nearest outdoor outfitters for advice on something that suits your hiking style. But if your nearest and dearest has an adventurous streak, it’s a pairing not to be missed – how else will they be able to follow in his footsteps?
Looking for the perfect book-shaped present for someone who lives in London – or is planning to? Nairn’s London is excellent introduction to the architectural treasures of the city, and almost certainly best experienced while travelling the capital in style on a London bus. Once they’ve finished the book, treat them to an experience they’ll never forget: the chance to drive an old-fashioned Routemaster.
Isabelle de Cat, the cover designer for Andrew Roberts’ remarkable new biography, recently explained the significance of the bee pattern adorning Napoleon the Great. Bees are one of Napoleon’s most enduring personal emblems, but he certainly wasn’t just any member of the hive. That’s why, for the history lovers in your life, we’d recommend a copy of this golden beauty and a set of bee houses for solitary bee species, designed by Ester Comunello.
Zoe Sugg (AKA Zoella)’s first book has just hit the shelves and we know, from the lady herself, that there is nothing she loves more than Christmas. Except, just possibly, a lovely cup of tea. For the person in your life who you just know will spend the Yuletide with their fingers wrapped around a mug of finest oolong while they sink into Girl Online, this teaset bedecked with fairy lights would be just the thing.
It’s all about penguins this Christmas (thank you, John Lewis) but, according to Matt Sewell, owls remain “our most enchanting bird.” Word on the street suggests that our strigine cousins are still a hot interior design trend. Surprise your favourite style-savvy nature lovers with an illustrated ode to owls and a plump cushion to match.
David Foster Wallace. An monthly coffee subscription to ensure a constant and uninterrupted supply of caffeine. Need we say more? No, we needn’t.
Some people would say that it isn’t Christmas without The Jolly Christmas Postman. (We are those people). Take a trip down memory lane with a copy of Janet and Allan Ahlberg’s classic, or perhaps introduce it to a new generation. Either way, there’s nothing which goes quite so well with this book than a beautiful, shiny red bicycle on which to visit (or escape from, depending on how your Christmas went) your friends and relatives.
For the night watchers, this illustrated atlas of the skies filled with tales from myth and legend is just the thing for long wintry evenings. And what better way to accessorize a star gazer’s reading material than with tickets to London’s famous planetarium?
There’s a book out there for everyone. To see what some of our authors, including John Cleese, Zoe Sugg, Sebastian Faulks and Malorie Blackman, have chosen to give one another this Christmas, check out our Secret Santa video: