Speeches of Note by Shaun Usher

The follow-up to Letters of Note is an illustrated collection of 75 of the world’s greatest speeches, from Nelson Mandela’s on the day he became South Africa’s first black president to an appeal for women’s rights from Sojourner Truth, an African-American born into slavery, to the never-before-heard announcement President Nixon would have made if Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became stranded on the Moon. A perfect book for anyone who loves the beauty of words, all bound up in a beautiful package.

The Penguin Classics Book by Henry Eliot

What could be more perfect for a fan of the classics than a whole book dedicated to them? In this reader’s companion, Penguin Classics editor Henry Eliot looks at 4,000 years of literature, encompassing 500 authors and 1,200 books. These are brought to life with lively descriptions, facts, and of course beautiful cover designs, all bound up in a luxurious clothbound package.

The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris

Better known as a nature writer, Robert Macfarlane turns his hand to re-wilding something a little different: the language of children. With the help of artist Jackie Morris, Macfarlane uses wordplay, poems and games alongside beautiful double-page illustrations of extraordinary flora and fauna to bring to life the natural world in all its glory. This book is elegant, exquisite and luxuriously large, proving that not all the best things come in small packages.

Dynasties by Stephen Moss

Dynasties aren’t just for royal families, politics or TV soaps, they’re also a core part of the animal kingdom. Moss’ book, which has a foreword by David Attenborough, accompanies a BBC series of the same name, which looks at the shifting hierarchies of animal families. As well as revealing in detail the intricate social lives of animals including lions and penguins, Dynasties features 200 stunning photographs, and is perfect for any nature lover.

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

Christmas isn’t complete without a telling of this classic story about a young boy and his magical adventure with an inrepid snowman. This special 40th anniversary edition includes a limited edition print and a letter from Briggs, as well as the beautiful illustrations that are associated with the story. Perfects for fans new and old.

Matilda at 30 by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake

When asked if there’s a character in literature who they feel close to, many readers will cite Matilda, the young, book-loving heroine of Dahl’s story of the same name. 2018 marked 30 years since the novel was first published and to celebrate Blake has drawn three new covers, celebrating where Matilda might be aged 30 - chief executive of the British Library, an astrophysicist or a world traveller. Reissued as a collectable, foil-embossed hardback, it's perfect for those who grew up thinking they were Matilda, and for all those future Matildas.

The Poetry Pharmacy by William Sieghart

Christmas isn't everyone's favourite time of year. If you know someone who could use a few well-chosen words to help heal the soul, then look no further. William Sieghart has collected these poems in this clothbound compendium for just such a purpose - to remedy and reassure, comfort and console. Whatever your ailment, Sieghart has just the prescription in this soothing, pocket-sized handbook.

Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford

Johanna Basford is well known for her intricately drawn colouring books and her latest is no exception. This time, we learn the story of Ivy, on her quest for the inky butterfly through a secret door into the land of Enchantia. The story is woven from threads of bedtime tales told by the author to her daughter, but to see what happens, you'll have to colour your own way through the adventure - the perfect activity for a lazy Christmas afternoon.

Silence by Erling Kagge

In the midst of festive madness, you might be looking for a bit of peace and quiet so that you can sneak away and start reading your new books. Erling Kagge, renowned Norwegian explorer, might be the man to help. In his accomplished book Silence, he writes about the extended periods of time he has spent in silence, more profound than most of us will encounter in all our lives, from the Antarctic to Everest. Kagge talks about finding silence and stillness in an ever-changing, frazzling modern world, and why it matters.

Hortense and the Shadow by Natalia and Lauren O'Hara

Sisters Natalia and Lauren O'Hara have teamed up to produce a dark but delightful fairy tale inspired by the stories of their Polish grandmother. Hortense is a gentle girl who lives in the woods and though she also seems strong and brave, she is ashamed of her own shadow. As she tries to erase it, she comes to realise it's a hugely important part of who she is. As an update to the traditional yarns of eastern Europe, its message is a modern and feminist one, and one that comes in a charming package packed with captivating illustrations.

Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Guide to Hogwarts by Matthew Reinhart

Still waiting for your Hogwarts letter? While you wait, grab this pop-up guide to the iconic school. Pop-up engineer Reinhart has created pop-ups of key locations inside and outside the castle, and there are mini pop-ups of beloved elements from the Harry Potter films including the Marauder’s Map and the Weasley family’s flying Ford Anglia. And if that wasn’t enough, the whole book opens flat to create a pop-up map of the castle and it grounds. You may not be able to visit Hogwarts, but this 3D guide will bring Hogwarts to you.

The Glorious Life of the Oak by John Lewis-Stempel

Although the roots of the oak stretch back through many cultures, Britain has more ancient oaks than all the other European countries put together. In this book, award-winning nature writer John Lewis-Stempel explores our relationship with the iconic tree, looking at topics including its life-cycle, how oak has been used as medicine, food and drink, and stories from folklore, myth and legend that include the oak. The book’s stunning cover is a tribute to an iconic tree has that touched every part of a Briton’s life for centuries. 

The Wonderful World of Ladybird Books for Grown-Ups by Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris

The Ladybird Books for Grown-Ups, on subjects including meetings, the hipster and mindfulness, combine the nostalgia of the original Ladybird books for children with a modern sense of humour. Wonderful World is a bumper version of the small guides for grown-ups. Combining their vintage-style illustrations with witty words, Hazeley and Morris guide you through everything from high cholesterol to high mortgages, via teenagers you just can’t understand. 

Shakespeare’s Sonnets, Retold by William Shakespeare and James Anthony

Shakespeare’s sonnets are some of the Western literature’s best-known lines of verse, but their language - and explanations of it - can sometimes take away their magic. In Shakespeare’s Sonnets, Retold, Anthony has rewritten the original 154 poems in modern language, while retaining the rhythm and rhyme of the originals. This compact hardback - with its striking yellow and grey cover designed by Luke Bird - features Anthony’s new sonnets laid out alongside their Shakespearean counterpart. Perfect for fans of the Bard, poetry or love stories.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is a story of love, friendship and family, a comedy of manners perfect for any time of year. And what could be better than having a gorgeous, clothbound edition of this classic? This Penguin English Library edition’s cover is designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith, author and illustrator of The Worm and the Bird and The Fox and The Star, the latter of which was named Waterstones Book of the Year 2015. A perfect addition to any classics collection.

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