Christmas Gift Guide: Let’s have a bookish Christmas

I think that a well-thought-out book as a Christmas gift will always be much appreciated. So I have compiled a list of some fun, informative, entertaining and/or educational books. They don’t each tick all those boxes, but hopefully, you can find the perfect book for someone.

Conversations from a Long Marriage: based on the beloved BBC Radio 4 comedy starring Joanna Lumley and Roger Allam

I listened to this podcast and was laughing out loud, so I believe this would make an excellent gift for anyone who is in a long marriage.

“Joanna and Roger have been married for over forty years. Children of the Sixties, they’re still free spirits, drawn together by their passion for music – and each other.
Conversations from a Long Marriage is exactly that: following conversations that take them from the local café, to their kitchen table, taking in her resentment of new glasses – a symbol of ageing – and fury at being lectured by the dental hygienist. He has a dodgy knee and is on statins, and when they discuss the marriage break-up of their closest friends, Sally and Peter, there’s jealousy and talk of affairs. She suggests there are advantages to single beds and separate holidays and wants to go clubbing in Ibiza for her imminent ‘big’ birthday.”

Three Times a Countess: the Life of Raine Spencer by Tina Gaudoin

Backpacking Granny reviewed this book and loved it as having had a preconceived opinion about Raine Spencer, this book changed her mind completely.

“Of course, I love the tasty bits of gossip, I’m sure most people do,  but this book shows you so much more. Raine Spencer was not just a very pretty face. 

She was highly intelligent, a great beauty, and obviously irresistible to men.  Her mother, the larger-than-life Barbara Cartland, did not come from nobility; however, she was determined her daughter would marry well, and indeed she did – three times! “


I read this book a couple of months ago, and it has made a difference to my life. I tackle issues in a different way. I have a much more positive attitude when things go wrong.

“This book is well-researched, and the format is excellent. Every chapter is with a different world-leading expert with author Duncan CJ’s interjections. There will always be times when we are unhappy, and we may need help to get our happiness mojo back.

For example, one piece of advice stuck with me: if something tragic happens or you receive upsetting news, then ask yourself the question: “If I had to be grateful about this, why would it be?” And keep asking and answering this question. Inevitably it will transform your mood and perspective.”

Queen Elizabeth II – Celebrating the legacy and royal wardrobe of Her Majesty the Queen by Jane Eastoe

Recently reviewed by one of our regular reviewers, Janet Gordon.

“This is a wonderful sartorial biography detailing all of the Queen’s outfits from those early days when Norman Hartnell reigned supreme onto the Angela Kelly days when colour blocking was the way in which Her Majesty chose to be seen – definitely one for your Royal Collection.”

The Light we Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times by Michelle Obama

I have not read this but I am hoping that someone will give it to me for Christmas. I loved Michelle Obama’s autobiography and I am a huge admirer of both her and her husband. So I am afraid I can only give you some of the reviews.

Honest, funny, wise and perceptive ― The Times

The pragmatic hopefulness you find on every page of Obama’s book is perhaps the best reason to go out and buy a copy ― Observer

There is plenty of wisdom in this book to help the rest of us ― Telegraph

The Forgotten 500: The Untold Story of the Men Who Risked All for the Greatest Rescue Mission of World War II

The astonishing, never before told story of the greatest rescue mission of World War II–when the OSS set out to recover more than 500 airmen trapped behind enemy lines in Yugoslavia…

During a bombing campaign over Romanian oil fields, hundreds of American airmen were shot down in Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia. Local Serbian farmers and peasants risked their own lives to give refuge to the soldiers while they waited for rescue, and in 1944, Operation Halyard was born. The risks were incredible. The starving Americans in Yugoslavia had to construct a landing strip large enough for C-47 cargo planes–without tools, without alerting the Germans, and without endangering the villagers. And the cargo planes had to make it through enemy airspace and back–without getting shot down themselves.

Classified for over half a century for political reasons, the full account of this unforgettable story of loyalty, self-sacrifice, and bravery is now being told for the first time ever. The Forgotten 500 is the gripping, behind-the-scenes look at the greatest escape of World War II.

DARLING by India Knight

I recently read and reviewed this novel and laughed out loud throughout. It is brilliantly entertaining.

“India Knight has transported the much-loved book, The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford into the 21st century. The characters come to life from page 1 and are so relatable. India’s observations about modern-day life are razor-sharp, and her humourous style of writing is wonderfully entertaining.

It is compulsive reading as the re-imagined Radlett family takes on the 21st century with equal amounts of eccentricity and heartbreak.”

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

If you know someone who hasn’t read this book then now is the time to rectify this situation. This is one of my top three books of 2022.

“Meet Elizabeth Zott: scientist by training, cookIng show host by default. One meal at a time, she galvanizes her audience to question the lives they’ve been served

As the novel opens in 1961, Elizabeth is a 30-year-old single mother to an illegitimate daughter, rowing enthusiast, on-the-record atheist and the reluctant, “permanently depressed” star of a cooking show for housewives called Supper at Six. Here, scientific theory becomes sparkling, sprightly entertainment.”

The Seven Sisters Series by Lucinda Riley

These series were reviewed by one of our regular book reviewers, The Page Turner.

“The Seven novels combine romance and history brilliantly. They are all colourful, and it is easy to get lost in the novels.

The Six D’Aplièse sisters were all adopted by Pa Salt from different parts of the world and brought to live on an island in Lake Geneva. After his unexpected death, each daughter is left a clue made up of a global grid point, and a small object. Each novel follows one of the sister’s trips to various parts of the world where they find out their family’s history. You are then transported back in time to various events and learning more about famous historical characters from Beatrix Potter to the Norwegian composer Grieg. The countries visited range from Thailand, South America, Lake District, Kenya, Norway and New York.”

We have many excellent book suggestions in our Reviews section – so have a look there if you are looking for something for an avid reader.

Lots more brilliant gift ideas here

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1 month ago

Grace looking particularly glam this week!
Good old M&S…..sometimes getting it right again.
I am a huge fan by the way.

When my 5yr old grandson found me with 3 rollers in my hair he looked alarmed.
But when I said ‘oh these are just my hedgehogs’ he looked even more alarmed!
So I took them out. He was then totally confused……..

Annabel & Grace
1 month ago
Reply to  gillyml

Hi Gilly, how kind of you to say (cheers this old girl up no end!). Glad I’m not the only one who likes sticky rollers! Have a wonderful Christmas, best wishes Grace