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12 Reads of Christmas

13 December 17 words: Write Lion

Books make fantastic gifts, providing a handy excuse to escape from festive family fun and find a quiet space to snuggle down and read, but picking the perfect present can be tricky. When in doubt, consult the experts! Nottingham is home to a vibrant publishing scene, so we asked some of Notts’ small press and indie publishers what to read this Christmas...

Sarajevo Roses
Rory Waterman
Publisher: Carcanet
Price: £7.99

“Given that my enthusiastic recommendation of all 27 titles published by Shoestring this year can be taken for granted, I’ll add that I greatly admire the rhythmic subtleties of Rory Waterman’s new poetry collection, Sarajevo Roses, especially perhaps in the accounts of edgeland adolescence. Think RS Thomas meets George Shaw.” – John Lucas, Shoestring Press

Grubson Pug’s Christmas Voyage
Jane-Anne Hodgson
Publisher: Whistling Cat Books
Price: Paperback £6.50, Hardback £10

“My go-to Christmas book is Grubson Pug’s Christmas Voyage, a nautical tale about a seafaring pug and an arm-wrestling Siamese cat called Banzai. It’s written for young readers but I love reading it, and I’ve read it as a bedtime story to little kids. Great illustrations too.” Anne Holloway, Big White Shed

The Dust on the Moth
Darren Simpson
Publisher: Bees Make Honey
Price: £9.50

“If you want an unusual, bookish present, look no further. The Dust on the Moth is a multimedia science-fiction fairytale complete with story, illustrations, photography and even a soundtrack.”– Kirsty Fox, Bees Make Honey

Ferne and Chocolate and the Rollercoaster Rainbow
Vivien Steels
Publisher: Dayglo Books Ltd
Price: £8.99

Ferne and Chocolate and the Rollercoaster Rainbow by Vivien Steels is a children’s book of delights, which I love. Chocolate is Ferne’s much-loved cat. They go adventuring together to magical places. The book contains five stories: one for each season of the year, plus a special one for Christmas. Fabulous!” – Gloria Morgan, Dayglo Books Dyslexia Project

The Glowing Snowman
Helen Goodbarton and Sophie Johnson-Hill
Publisher: Sojo Publishing Mouse
Price: £6.99

“A gorgeous children’s picture book about a snowman who is left all alone in the woods. The animals all seem to ignore him, until he has a small accident with a firefly. With beautiful, characterful, wintery illustrations, it will leave your heart glowing. A perfect Christmas story for little ones.” Helen Goodbarton, Sojo Publishing Mouse

Christmas Garland and Christmas Crackers
Publisher: Candlestick Press
Price: £4.95

“Our two new anthologies – Christmas Garland and Christmas Crackers – contain new, festive-themed poems commissioned from major poets, including this year’s TS Eliot Prize-winner Jacob Polley. Both pamphlets have an exquisite cover image, adding to the beauty and distinctiveness of the title, and both will make a beautiful Christmas gift.” – Kathy Towers, Candlestick Press

Mr Gwyn
Alessandro Baricco
Publisher: McSweeney’s
Price: £14.99

“Having done a tour of Midlands friends, my copy is now in Hamburg with another friend – and this is the beauty of a good read. The prose is simple yet elegant; Baricco’s brevity is envious. The intriguing story remains with you and makes you think; like all great art does.” – Martin Parker, Stonewood Press

Baby X
Rebecca Ann Smith
Publisher: Mother's Milk Books
Price: £8.99

“Set in Newcastle in the run-up to Christmas, Baby X is the story of the first ever baby to be born in an artificial uterus, and his abduction by the brilliant Dr Alex Mansfield who led the groundbreaking project. Absolutely unputdownable, this is a thought-provoking and timely read.” – Teika Bellamy, Mother’s Milk Books

The Woman Under the Ground
Megan Taylor
Publisher: Weathervane
Price: £7.99

The Woman Under the Ground, by local author Megan Taylor, is the perfect present to dive into during the chaos of a manic Christmas. It’s a great collection of beautifully written short stories, each one intriguingly illustrated by the talented artist, Nikki Pinder. Save someone’s sanity, buy it now!” – Ian Collinson, Weathervane Press

Lobe Scarps and Finials
Geraldine Monk
Publisher: Leafe Press
Price: £8.95

“Geraldine Monk’s language pops and fizzles in festive style with poems to the moon, dream-poems and a riff on that great end-of-year meditation by John Donne, A Nocturnal Upon St Lucy’s Day. Buy her book and you may even find out what finials and lobe scarps are.” – Alan Baker, Leafe Press

Mud Press Christmas Zine Vols.1 and 2
Publisher: Mud Press
Price: £4.00

"Featuring locally sourced stocking-snug poetry to remind us of the Christmas spirit, Christmas Zines Vols.1 and 2 are available via the Mud Press website and from Rough Trade, Five Leaves Bookshop and Ideas on Paper. Wrapped up in a stunning cover design by illustrator Laura Nielsen, these zines make perfect stocking fillers for Christmas and literary lovers alike." – Georgina Wilding, Mud Press

Exploring Nottinghamshire Writers
Rowena Edlin-White
Publisher: Five Leaves Publications
Price: £12.99

“Ten years ago I suggested to Rowena Edlin-White she write or edit a book on Nottinghamshire writers, especially the long-dead, the nearly forgotten and – thank you Iain Sinclair for the phrase – the pre-forgotten. Five years ago, Rowena started writing it, and reading the books of 100 or so dead writers and a leavening of thirty or so living. And here it is.” – Ross Bradshaw, Five Leaves Publications

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