Bookbag's Christmas Gift Recommendations 2013

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We know that you could do your Christmas present book shopping from Amazon's best seller lists, but we like to suggest more unusual books that we've enjoyed over the year. Hopefully you'll find something for everyone here.

Children's Books

For Sharing


Review of

Open Very Carefully: A Book with Bite! by Nicola O'Byrne and Nick Bromley

5star.jpg For Sharing

It was difficult to chose our Top ten picture books but we thought Open Very Carefully: A Book With Bite! was great fun. For a book that's a pleasure to look at and read we recommend Brahma Dreaming: Legends from Hindu Mythology by John Jackson and Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini - we can imagine children passing it on to their children. Those just starting to read will have great fun with Dixie O'Day in the Fast Lane by Shirley Hughes and Clara Vulliamy. For great good fun Claude in the Spotlight by Alex T Smith is hard to beat. Full Review

For Confident Readers


Review of

The River Singers by Tom Moorhouse

5star.jpg Confident Readers

We think that The River Singers will be a classic of the future and you'll find similar books in our Top Ten Books for Confident Readers 2013. Children just getting their confidence with chapter books will enjoy My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish by Mo O'Hara (and there's a Sea-quel!) Don't forget children who are struggling with their reading: the books in our Dyslexia Friendly Section might be the help they need - and there are lots of books they will love reading. Full Review

For Teens


Review of

Hostage Three by Nick Lake

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We think that lots of teens will love Hostage Three. an edge-of-your-seat thriller that deals with important societal issues - the banking crisis, piracy, etc - but also with personal tragedy and family relationships. Carnaby by Cate Sampson is another electric read and a fantastic debut. For more choices have a look at our Top Ten Teen Books of 2013. Full Review

Fiction for Adults


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Review of

Murder on a Summer's Day: (Kate Shackleton Mysteries) by Frances Brody

5star.jpg Crime (Historical)

We think this is one of the best crime series around at the moment, but if you're looking for something from the present day then have a look at our Top Ten Crime Novels 0f 2013. Going back to historical fiction you might find The Mangle Street Murders by MRC Kasasian would make a good gift. Full Review

Fantasy and Science Fiction

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Review of

Herald of the Storm by Richard Ford

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It's always good to be in at the beginning of what looks like being an epic series - and Herald of the Storm is an excellent fantasy debut. You'll find other suggestions in our Top Ten Fantasy Books of 2013. If you're looking for Science Fiction, Conquest by John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard impressed and we're very keen on The Milkweed Triptych. Full Review

General Fiction and Thrillers


Review of

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison

5star.jpg General Fiction

Not as worthy as the title makes it sound, but funny, hugely touching, well-written and just plain amazing. We've more great books in our Top Ten General Fiction Books of 2013. For a thriller (with a decided touch of horror) there's The String Diaries by Stephen Lloyd Jones, or how about Just What Kind of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly? Full Review

Historical Fiction


Review of

The Purchase by Linda Spalding

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We thought The Purchase was a 6-out-of-5 book in a year that's been good for historical fiction. You'll find our other favourites in our Top Ten Historical Fiction Books of 2013. Full Review

Literary Fiction


Review of

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler

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Just like an F Scott Fitzgerals novel there's lots of glamour, alcohol and bad behaviour, but it's thought-provoking and a good read. There are more great books on our Top Ten Literary Fiction Books of 2013. If you'd like to chose something from the major prize lists then we've the full list for the Man Booker Prize 2013 and the [Women's Prize for Fiction 2013]]. Full Review

Non-Fiction for Adults

Autobiographies and Biographies


Review of

The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson

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A memoir by one of the youngest people on Oskar Schindler's list of Jews saved from the Nazis. Simply, but evocatively and heartbreakingly told, this is something that should be read by children and adults alike. If you'd like a biography then we can recommend Bertie: A Life of Edward VII by Jane Ridley, but you'll find more suggestions in our Top Ten Autobiographies and Biographies of 2013 Full Review



Review of

The Riddle of the Labyrinth by Margalit Fox

5star.jpg History

If you're looking for a book which is superbly readable by still informative then The Riddle of the Labyrinth is a winner. We've more suggestions from various times and places in our Top Ten History Books of 2013. It's fifty years since the assassination of President John F Kennedy and we've chosen our Top Ten Books on President John F Kennedy. Full Review

Home and Family


Review of

Paul Hollywood's Bread: How to make great breads into even greater meals by Paul Hollywood

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We've been wtching Pies and Puds on television, but we think the Bread is the better book. We've also enjoyed some delicious cooking for occasions from Simon Hopkinson. We had great fun with Make a Mobile: 12 Cool Designs to Press Out and Hang by Lydia Crook and Paper Play by Lydia Crook took us back to a time before computers. Full Review



Review of

Harry: My Autobiography by Harry Redknapp

4.5star.jpg Sport

We've heard that a retired football manager has written a book which is selling well, but we thought Harry was candid and entertaining. Anyone interested in the history of the Premier League will find Premier League: A History in 10 Matches by Jim White highly readable and informative. If you prefer cricket then have a look at A History of Cricket in 100 Objects by Gavin Mortimer. Full Review


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